Contingent workers are critical to many organizations — filling gaps in staffing or augmenting the workforce during peak seasons or for special projects. Making them feel welcome from day one helps avoid awkwardness, increases their engagement, and sets them up for success from the word go. However, it can be quite daunting when your company and contingent workers are remote, which has been increasingly common since the pandemic. But there are ways to achieve this. Here are some suggestions.
Introduce them to the team. It is important for temporary workers to feel like part of the team. That starts by introducing them to the people with whom they will be working. Set aside some time for a team video call on or before the contingent workers’ start date. However, it is critical that everyone present understands each other. If you have workers who speak different languages, making use of video remote interpretation is paramount. It can create a good impression about the company especially if your remote contingent worker speaks a different language.
Send a welcome package. Your contingents might have an idea of how you welcome your new hires, especially if you publish it on social media for your employer branding, so, if you have built a culture of welcoming your traditional workers with a welcome package, consider doing the same for their contingent counterparts. Providing the same treatment communicates that your contingent workers are a valued part of the team. You can include branded items such as t-shirts, mugs, and tech accessories such as chargers and power banks. Likewise, if you treat workers to lunch on their first day, consider sending coupons to a restaurant near those who are remote.
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Include them in social channels. Social media platforms with dedicated channels where team members keep in touch daily are important for distributed teams. If you have one that is running, consider adding your contingents workers as soon as they join your company. This will let them in on the company culture and the personalities of the other team players. You can even create some excitement around the new temporary hire’s first day at work in the channel where people discuss non-work-related issues. Encourage the other members to leave a welcome message. This can be an icebreaker to get the new hire past the awkwardness and make them comfortable to have fun with the rest of the team.
Invite them for meetings and team building activities. Inviting contingents to meetings not only makes them feel included, but also enables them to be heard. Their engagement level is likely to shoot up if they feel involved in project decisions as opposed to receiving important information via memos. Besides, just like your full-time employees, contingent workers bring different experiences and perspectives, thus providing new insights. Likewise, don’t leave them out in your virtual team-building activities. Make sure they are part of those virtual happy hours, social media challenges, and every other activity that your distributed team is doing.
Touch base regularly. Plan to check in with your contingents on a regular basis to ask how they are faring at work. What obstacles are they encountering? How can you help them get their work done easily? Let them know how to reach you should they need your help. Additionally, give honest feedback about their work and offer suggestions on how they can improve. This will go a long way in showing your new hires that you are invested in them.
Welcoming remote contingent hires doesn’t have to be complicated. You only need to understand that they are part of the team albeit temporarily. This will help you not to hold back anything in making them feel welcome. If you are struggling with this right now, the above ideas are sure to get you thinking.