When you foster camaraderie among your team, each of your employees is more likely to feel a sense of belonging. And that belonging can contribute to better quality work from each person — and a higher performing team on the whole. After all, it’s simply human nature to be more committed to and driven by something (like a job) that supports a sense of purpose and place in the world.
But to achieve this ripple effect that a positive work environment has on your team’s productivity, you must ensure every single person feels seen and valued.
Here’s the key: That includes your salaried employees and temporary contractors alike.
Whether someone has been with your company for 10 months or 10 years, here’s how (and why) to treat them right to ensure their affinity for your team translates to better work.
Why Hiring Managers Choose Contractors
When we say contract workers, we mean non-salaried professionals who don’t technically work for your company. At RedStream, we place technical contractors in roles like:
- Software engineers,
- Project managers,
- Business analysts, and
- Quality assurance testers.
Technical leaders in roles like yours seek out and hire contractors often. And for good reason! For one, contractors are a line item in your budget rather than an addition to your headcount. Translation: Temps cost less. Contract workers can also join your team to fill gaps at pivotal moments, like during specific projects with tight timelines and unique needs.
The Misconception Hurting Temp Worker Performance
Despite the varied skill sets contract workers bring to an organization, they’re sometimes (consciously or subconsciously) perceived and treated as “less than” full-time employees. It could be because their contracts will eventually end. They will eventually leave your company, so the pressure’s not there to make them feel as welcome as their full-time counterparts.
No matter the reason, negatively differentiating between employees and contractors has serious implications. When someone feels disposable or underappreciated, they’re unlikely to perform to the best of their abilities. It’s hard to contribute to a team you don’t feel a part of. They might even abandon ship early, cutting their contract short — and leaving you in a lurch.
On the flip side, if you do look out for your contract workers, they’re more likely to look out for you. And for your team.
Tips to Lead All of Your Employees to United Success
Budget, company policies, competing priorities…so many of the factors influencing the success of your team are largely out of your control. But let’s look at something you can (partially) control: the satisfaction and culture surrounding your team of full-time folks and contractors. Here’s where to start:
Get to Know the Person Behind the Position
There’s no “i” in team, but there is a “me.”
Dad jokes aside, individuals make up a team. So you have to support each person before you can expect the whole group to coalesce. Doing so starts with getting to know your team members.
One-to-one meetings matter. Carve out time to talk to each of your employees, including your contract workers. When you’re together, be sure to ask professional and personal questions. What motivates them? What are their interests? What are their technical skills, but also their hobbies? You should come to know at least a little bit about who someone is outside of work. Because their personality informs who they are at work.
While you’re talking to a team member, give them feedback on their work, as appropriate. Keeping the feedback informal can foster a constructive dialogue. Alternatively, leverage the team at RedStream to relay your observations (both on what someone is doing well and what they could improve upon) to the contract worker in question.
Taking time to get to know the individuals on your team will also inform how best to reach them. That way, you can impart advice so they can improve their individual performance.
Create Appropriate Spaces for Your Team to Bond
When you support your employees individually and their performance improves, you’re strengthening your entire team as a bonus. There are also ways you can boost your team as a unit. Start by simply observing them. How do they work together? How are everyone’s personalities meshing?
It’s crucial to get your team together — contractors included — so they can spend time getting to know one another, not just you. Quality time builds that all-important camaraderie that leads to better work. Just be sure the type of gatherings you plan suit the personalities of your employees that you’ve noticed in your one-to-ones.
Say you’ve noted your team is made up of mostly introverts, for example. Try running a lunch and learn, wherein you invite a guest speaker. That way, there’s time to socialize, but the focus is on the speaker, not on any one team member.
The key is building team-wide rapport that translates to improved outputs by planning gatherings that play to the personalities of the individuals on your team.
You Can’t Go Wrong with a Culture that Supports Every Employee
Treating every person on your team well — contract or otherwise — matters in and of itself. But remember that the performance of your team is also a direct reflection of your management capabilities.
Besides, you don’t know what the future holds. Maybe the same contractor will return to your team for another project. Or maybe they’ll become a full-time employee of your company. At the very least, they could contribute to your company’s reputation as a place to work — good or bad. It’s worth your time to cultivate a positive work environment for your people.