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Getting to know your project contractors

Matthew Franceschini
June 27, 2012

How IPros see you

From psychologists to human resources management practitioners, a lot has been written about the need to gain commitment to the organisation from permanent employees. Yet there is rarely any consideration to building commitment among a company’s IPro workforce.

The good news is that a large number of IPros feel positively about their clients. One in two IPros agree that they would be very happy to spend the rest of their career working for their current client organisation. The same number feels as if their current client organisation’s problems are their own.

The results indicate that IPros feel commitment to their client. This is a pleasing result for organisations that engage IPro services and it suggests that there may be potential for a reassessment as to just what the client/IPro relationship can deliver.

The majority of IPros also believe that the commitment is a two-way street. Seventy-four percent believe that their client organisation cares about their opinions, and 71% believe their client is there to help if they experience problems. IPros generally believe that the client takes pride in their accomplishments at work.

These positive perceptions indicate that the IPros are aware that any increase in effort will be noted by their client and rewarded. It is a solid basis for the relationship and it has important implications for employers because IPros who believe they are valued are likely to increase their desire to help the organisation reach its objectives. In other words, if managed effectively, the IPro/client relationship will foster mutual trust between the parties, matching the objectives and commitments of the IPro to those of the organisation.

Engaging independent project workers

So how do you get the most from your IPros? The first step is to ensure ‘good’ contracts with your IPros. This includes clear start and end dates, transparency in expectations, and good communication and documentation. Being prepared prior to the commencement of the contract is helpful as is paying your IPros on time.

Another aspect of a successful relationship is ensuring that you are compliant with the latest workplace legislation in terms of paying your IPros on time, every time, and managing your back office processes as seamlessly as possible in terms of providing a safe workplace and having all your insurance policies in check.

Luckily, professional engagement services organisations like Entity Solutions can help you with the entire IPro engagement and management process, ensuring all insurances, statutory and other legal requirements are covered, streamlining processes and establishing benchmark standards.

Another theme to emerge was that of the hidden value IPros bring to client organisations. As their name suggests, IPros are independent and professional. Organisations engage them because of their expertise, so acknowledge their skills and consult with them where appropriate.

Lack of integration between IPro and permanent co-workers can be a cause for frustration so if your IPro is engaged for the mid to long term, consider offering access to induction programs and including the IPro in team activities. If the project merits, you may even consider incentives such as performance bonuses or professional development opportunities. Another opportunity that emerges is that by engaging a professional engagement services organisation to manage your IPros, they can gain access to a lot of similar benefits as your permanent staff, such as salary packaging and novated car leasing.

Recognise that IPros like the challenging and demanding nature of contracting. Give them the change and stimulation that they seek. Understand that as a client you are the ‘significant other’ in your IPro’s working life, so show them that you appreciate their efforts. Encourage them in their work and they will more than likely repay you and your organisation with enthusiasm, energy and results.

Finally, recognise that IPros choose to contract because they want the flexibility, variety of work and sense of freedom. Contented staff makes for a productive workplace.

Download the full IPro Index 2011 at Entity Solutions > Resource Centre

Matthew Franceschini
Matthew Franceschini is a co-founder and the CEO of Entity Solutions, a contractor management agency. He has more than 10 years’ experience working in the contract workforce management industry. He holds a Bachelor of Economics and is also the Vice President of Independent Contractors of Australia.
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