You’ve likely heard a lot about the importance of company culture and employer branding. Employees want a place they feel welcome, empowered, and are even able to have fun at work. Culture plays a big role in where candidates decide to work and whom companies decide to hire. But how does this apply to short-term, project based workers? Does it matter if there’s a “cultural fit” for contractors? Who cares if you fit in at the company when you’re only there for a few weeks or months?
It turns out it matters a lot. At the very least, there should be a certain level of respect and trust between an employer and contract workers. Even if they’re not there for a long time, the way a company treats contractors is vital to their and the contractors’ success. Word gets around quickly in the contracting world, so if a company builds a reputation of treating contractors poorly or dropping them without notice, it makes it harder to hire good workers in the future.
Likewise, a contractor must respect the company it’s working for, even if only for a short time. Demonstrating a good work ethic and building rapport with other team members is one way to contribute to a positive work culture and the overall success of a project.
What’s more, longer-term contracts are often in demand. That means contract workers that are looking for long-term gigs and cultural fit will make a difference. Some companies view contractors as a chance to “try before you buy” and will consider how the worker fits within their team before offering them an extended contract or full-time position.
So, how does it work? Here are a few ideas for both companies and contractors to build and contribute to a positive company culture.
Companies can support and include contractors
Companies can take it upon themselves to include contractors and let them know more about the company culture. Take time to get to know the workers and see how they work best. Even if a client doesn’t have the opportunity to interview in person, a simple phone call before the start date can help make a connection and get everyone started on the right foot.
There are times when a contractor may quit or take another job just before a contract starts. This usually happens because they don’t feel a connection to the project or company. An onboarding phone call or meeting can really help bridge that divide and keep a contractor from leaving at the last minute. It’s also a great chance to figure out exactly what they’re working on and what the project entails so there are no lingering uncertainties.
Once the project has begun, invite contractors to participate in team events whenever possible. Eat lunch together and invite them to company lunches or parties so they can feel more comfortable and get to know the people they’re working with.
Contractors can show culture matters to them
There are simple things a contractor can do to contribute to a positive culture, such as, do a good job, ask questions, and go above and beyond your daily tasks when possible. Always be professional but look for things you have in common to talk about on the job. Find ways to build positive relationships, not just with recruiters, but with site managers, other contractors and full-time team members. Most importantly, don’t burn bridges or leave people hanging during a project.
News, good and bad, travels fast. A recent candidate was signed on for a one-week project. After just that one week of excellent work and building relationships, the individual was asked to join the team permanently. This doesn’t happen every day, but it shows the value of working hard and making connections from the start.
A good company culture takes work and it comes from all sides. Both employers and contractors play a role in creating a good reputation and a positive atmosphere.