6 Tips for Retaining the Best Independent Contractors

A growing number of businesses, large or small, are turning to independent contractors for tasks traditionally performed by full time employees. Going for an independent contractor comes with many advantages. These include access to highly skilled professionals and not having to pay employee benefits beyond remuneration.

On the other hand, there are disadvantages, too. One downside of hiring independent contractors is that the contractor is not tied to any one client. Once the contract ends, they could very well reject a contract renewal and instead move to another client. With these six tips, you can make your contractors work with you much longer.

1. Facilitate Tax Compliance

Unlike your full-time employees, you have little responsibility in the fulfilment of tax obligations for your independent contractor. That, however, does not mean you should adopt a hands-off approach.

From the get-go, make it clear to the independent contractor that you are ready to assist them with tax compliance and they need not hesitate to approach you when they need help.

For this to work, however, your words have to be backed by action. It pays to know how to fill out a 1099 for a contractor. Any tax-related documents you need to share with the contractor should be availed proactively.

2. Ensure Transparency

A key concern for independent contractors when they sign up for work is the danger of scope creep. Scope creep is more likely to occur when there is project ambiguity. This may be in terms of work to be done, the budget, location, working hours, communication channels, time off, and contract duration.

Most independent contractors have a prepared contract form, which includes their preferred working terms. You are likely to win them over if you are open to meeting them halfway with regard to contract terms and making adjustments where needed. It will add to the hiring work but would be more than worth it for a quality contractor you want on your team for the long haul.

3.    Develop a Relationship

You probably already understand the importance of building a relationship with your customers and cultivating teamwork between employees. Unfortunately, many employers will leave independent contractors on the fringes when it comes to employee engagement efforts. It is a costly mistake.

The independent contractor is there to contribute to your organization’s success. While you have to be careful not to infringe on their space, there is no harm in finding out about their family, interests, weekend activities, and holiday intentions. Of course, make it clear that they don’t have to talk about anything they don’t want to.

If you have a happy hour, have them attend. If you give employees a holiday or birthday gift, add your independent contractors to the list. All these actions make them feel more valued and included which gradually solidifies a sense of belonging.

4. Pay Them Well

The money question might not be everything but it is central to attracting and retaining quality contractors. If you pay peanuts, there is a real risk of attracting contractors who fall short. And even when you do get a quality contractor, chances are that they are only with you as they wait for a better deal out there.

Yes, the independent contractor’s pay has to stay within your overall project budget. Nevertheless, you want to strike the right balance between managing project costs and offering attractive pay. The more attractive the pay, the more likely the contractor will want to work with you over the long term.

5. Provide Feedback

You do not have to issue a formal performance evaluation for an independent contractor as you would a full-time employee. That said, feedback is important and attractive. For best results, it should focus on the positive first by recognizing the high quality of work as well as timely project progress.

Also, you should mention areas that the contractor could improve on. Top independent contractors are keen to know what changes they can make to improve client satisfaction. Your transparency would make them enthusiastic about working with you in future.

6. Don’t Lose Sight of Boundaries

After working with diverse clients for a while, the best independent contractors often have a clear picture of what the boundaries of their responsibilities are. One of the ways you could lose a good contractor is crossing the line and attempting to treat them as a full-time employee.

Keep your expectations in check and avoid making demands that fall outside the work contract.

Value Your Assets

Like good employees, good independent contractors are assets to your organization. Use these tips to ensure the best ones work for you and not your competition.

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