With the rapid rise in businesses bringing in flexible workers, more and more workforces are becoming blended. Creating an effective blended workforce can be challenging, and requires a considered approach to the needs of both permanent and contingent staff. Properly integrating flexible staff into your team- whether they’re around for the rest of the day or the rest of the year- is key to reaping the benefits of using contingent staff.
What Are Flexible Workers And How Do They Create Blended Workforces?
Flexible or contingent workers include all temporary or impermanent workers that a business might use. Temporary, casual and contract workers all offer business benefits – so long as they are given the tools and knowledge to work effectively alongside a business’ permanent staff.
When these contingent workers are working with permanent workers, they create a blended workforce- one where employees on different arrangements can work side-by-side. Managing these blended workforces appropriately allows you to get the best results from all employees.
Why Is Integration Of Contingent Staff Important
There are a variety of benefits to bringing flexible staff into a business. However, the challenges presented by bringing in contingent staff and creating a blended workforce can interrupt or outweigh these benefits.
Businesses that can expand and contract their workforce based on demand have significant competitive edge in their cost effectiveness. Equally, businesses that can quickly cover for absent staff, or use flexible staff to allow overworked staff to rest and recover, stand to cut productivity losses leading to better profitability.
However, bringing in flexible workers that aren’t effective because permanent workers exclude or bully them, because they’re inappropriately assigned tasks or because they aren’t given an adequate understanding of the business, will impact or even remove these benefits. For this reason, it is important to ensure flexible workers are properly integrated into a business.
How Can You Better Integrate Flexible Staff
If flexible staff are provided with adequate resources, are properly introduced to and made welcome by their permanently employed colleagues and are shown everything they need to complete their tasks effectively, they will perform better than if they are left to figure things out by themselves.
Treat flexible staff the same and lead by example
It’s easy to see a temporary employee as different. Staff aren’t familiar with them and they won’t be around for long. However, it’s been shown that, regardless the length of their engagement, employees who are made to feel part of a team are more motivated and deliver better results. Creating feelings of exclusion by treating temporary staff differently to others can minimise their impact. Lead by example. Extend the same friendliness and invitations to your flexible team. Where their role permits, invite them to the team lunch or the post-shift drinks – or offer to grab them a coffee when you go and get yours. These gestures not only help your contingent workers to feel appreciated as part of the team, but they also demonstrate the behaviours you expect your permanent employees to model.
Often flexible workers might take shifts, or be working intermittently throughout the week. This can mean they miss vital information that is delivered to the permanent team when flexible workers aren’t present. It’s important there are procedures to ensure flexible staff are provided any new information that might impact the way they complete their tasks, or the way they fit into the team. Poor communication can lead to mistakes or exclusion that lead to lessened productivity. Everything from changes in protocol to the bake-off for morning tea, should be communicated to all staff, regardless of their engagement type.
Get feedback and act on it
It’s important to get feedback on the ongoing management of the blended workforce, so that you can adapt your strategies and make sure they’re effective. Both contingent and permanent staff should be asked for their feedback. This may highlight attitudes of permanent workers towards flexible staff that might need to be addressed or identify specific information that flexible staff need reiterated. Regular check-ins with all staff will help you keep your strategies effective,
Bonus tip: all of this can be made easier by reusing flexible staff that you have worked with before. The more familiar they are, the simpler the above steps are to execute. Opting for a sourcing solution that lets you deal directly with the contingent staff you love, can make managing a blended workforce that little bit simpler
When businesses effectively integrate their flexible staff into a blended workforce, they make it easier to reap the full benefits that contingent staff can bring. By following these 4 steps, and learning more about contingent workers here, businesses and temporary staff can create more and more success into the future.