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Contractor Recruiting and Retention Just Got A Lot More Difficult

Updated: Jun 22

Never have employers faced so many complex considerations when it comes to employee recruiting and retention.


One statistic alone cannot define the employment market. There are some clear trends, however, like the fact that we are facing an aging workforce, combined with the fact that the rate of replacement from colleges and vocational schools is lower than the rate of workers who are exiting the industry. Generalization is not how to think of things. Circumstances for organizations differ by industry, geography, role, and age. For contractors, the workers have significant choice and power when it comes to compensation and other job expectations.


For any business to deliver the best client experience, including contractors, staff need to feel good about themselves, and that starts with being in a job that meets their individual needs. To stay competitive in the labour market, contractors must differentiate their employment proposition to stay relevant.


Maximizing employee satisfaction


One way to maximize employee satisfaction is to give staff choice, as if their relationship with the contractor is that of a customer. For contractors used to running their business a certain way, the definition of an employee as a customer can have consequential impacts.


The current cohort of new workers value contract roles more than ever, and those who have been in the industry a long time have had new realizations about this as well. Depending on where they live relative to the office location or their route, and what is going on in their lives, they may value working virtually more than in person. In addition, that will change as their circumstances change. If a field worker decides they want to coach little league for the season, that can become an issue at work.


Employee choice goes beyond working remotely or flexible hours. Considerations hit every element of the employer-employee relationship including what type of work, the ability to change their minds, benefits, and the training they can get. The difficulty is that contractor organizations are not built for choice and dilemmas quickly become apparent.


As an example, if a staff member with specific skills or relationships who would be exceedingly difficult to replace wants to turn a 40-hour work week into a 4-day work week with Friday off, how does that impact the rest of the staff or the customers? Does the contractor really have the leverage to negotiate what day? In some cases they do but in other cases, not as much. Do you risk turning down a request when your competitor would be happy to hire that person in a heartbeat?


Contractors will have to find a way to align business rules with what choices their staff members want. For attracting and retaining staff, the opportunity is in differentiation. Compensation is still critical, but work experience and choice are more important factors than ever before because they motivate and inspire workforces. The challenge is, at what cost to the contractor?


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