Building a team of independent contractors is a great way to start building your business efficiency and capacity. You can add (wo)manpower to address a project or ongoing needs without getting bogged down in the Human Resources process. However, the unspoken and great risk with contractors is they aren’t employees, so their emotional buy-in, loyalty, and trust are easier to break. To ensure you attract and keep your team, avoid these three behaviors that scare contractors away.
Not Being Available for Questions or Approvals
Delegation does not mean dumping everything on your team and walking away. Particularly during training windows, business owners need to be available for questions and approvals. Even the highest skilled contractors will need your involvement and input because, newsflash, you’re the business owner – not them. The most talented team will continue to turn to you for guidance to ensure they are delivering the work you would like.
You creep – creep yeeeah – and keep adding items to their list. From the offset, be transparent about what you expect from the role, what responsibilities are needed, and what growth areas are on deck when they master the initial set of tasks. If, at some point, you decide you need more or different work from them, you have to ask – and be prepared for them to say no. If they do say yes, be prepared to pay.
Treating them like an employee
This seems to be a difficult one for business owners to wrap their heads around. Hiring independent contractors comes with a handful of restrictions that business owners need to be aware of and respect. Contractors are running their own businesses, and their service to you should work for both parties – but you cannot control the way they do business. Stringent work schedules, consistent urgent turnaround times, and unrealistic performance expectations all fall into this category. Factors such as schedules and response time may be discussed and negotiated, but the contractor holds the power in these discussions.
Scope creep, lack of access, and creating too many parameters for performance are all key behaviors that will scare contractors away. If you’re struggling with your contractor team, take time to reflect on what you actually need from the roles and if it’s possibly time to hire employees.