5 Tips to Manage Contract Workers

Just like permanent employees, contract workers are essential to any organization. Many organization from the startups to large enterprises engage contract workers to minimize cost and maximize benefits while hedging their risk from long-term commitment. The success associated with contract workers, when leveraged well, is usually long-term. However, for the longer-lasting impact, there are steps the managers can consider when hiring and supervising contract workers.

  1. Set clear goals and expectations

If you wish to get the best performance from your contract workers, it’s vital that you set clear goals, including deadlines, timelines, and methods of communication from the onset. Basically, ensure you create detailed and reasonable expectations so that your contract workers know precisely what you want from them. Also, take time to learn what they need from you in order for them to be effective and productive, as per your expectations. You contracted them for a reason, remember?

  1. Empower your contract workers – don’t breathe down their necks

Most managers take great pains to hire contract workers that have the experience needed for a particular project. So, as a manager, why would you spend your valuable time micromanaging experienced professionals?

Instead, delegate tasks and extend them a level of trust to execute these tasks, with reasonable oversight. Several tools are now available to help you achieve this feat.

For instance, by using an employee hours tracker, you can track the output of each contract worker and identify any kind of slackness, without appearing to be snobbish. As such, you would be able to automate the work shift timings of your contract workers such that, all the tasks they are involved with are completed within time.

A resource scheduling tool would also be ideal in this situation. You can use it to pair the right contract workers with the right projects. And with this, you will increase your contract worker’s morale since you appear to be taking their skills and preferences into account when making resource assignments.

Allowing your contract workers this latitude to manage their own time and work on a project they are most qualified in, will make them feel trusted and valued.

  1. Adopt a pay structure that works best for your organization

How do you wish to reward your contract workers? If you are concerned about your contract workers taking too much time to complete certain tasks, you can pay for the project. Basically, this means, paying them when they reach a specific milestone. When paying them by milestone, you must have granular details of the tasks involved to understand the level of effort to compensate contractors fairly. Alternatively, you can opt to pay by the hour. This has proved to be cost-effective and practical in many scenarios. However, remember to use an employee hours tracker in such a case, to ensure transparency and accuracy.

Keep in mind though, when it comes to adopting a pay structure, besides considering your contract workers’ preferences, always base your decision on what suits your organization best in terms of payroll set up and schedule. You do not wish to make life harder for your HR department, do you?

  1. Have necessary paperwork

The HR department must always be prepared to collect relevant data concerning any new hire. Many organizations do not have the necessary paperwork for contract workers thus, leading to some sort of mismanagement. If you have official paperwork for your permanent employees, why not have the same for contract workers?  

Besides the necessary new-employee paperwork, consider having an explicit work-for-hire agreement that your organization can terminate with little or no notice. Also, ensure your contract workers have signed a non-compete agreement as well as a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) before they join your organization. Every company should practically insist on these confidentiality forms; however, be fair and reasonable when demanding a non-compete agreement from your contract employees. You are aware that, unrealistic contractual agreements may push them away, and obviously, that not your intention.

  1. Measure productivity

Managers should have tools in place to measure their employees’ productivity. By having a consistent and fair evaluation methodology, managers can identify where inefficiencies exist, particularly if the inefficiencies are linked to their contract workers. For instance, by identifying areas where a contract worker may be trailing his coworkers, a personal development plan can be introduced. On the other hand, measuring productivity can help identify effective and competent contract workers who deserve rate increases and possible bonuses incentives for achieving milestones ahead of time. 

Therefore, it is a good idea for the management to invest in modern productivity systems such as HR analytics tools, resource scheduling software, employee time tracking software, and other related systems, to effectively and consistently measure your teams’ productivity.

Principles to remember


  • Set expectations early on
  • Maintain clear lines of communication
  • Use up-to-date technology/tools to help you in your management
  • Make your contract workers feel appreciated and valued


  • Neglect to offer them feedback on how they are performing
  • Skimp on paying them what they deserve
  • Be a “helicopter” manager. Micromanagement will only lower their morale.


Author Bio:

Shailender Kumar is a passionate digital marketing analyst. He can be best described as an elusive reader and technology evangelist. He enjoys writing about helpful and practical business solutions.

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