How to Get the Most Out of Contractors

The gig economy is here to stay.   Intuit estimates that by 2020, as many as 40 percent of Americans will be contingent, contract, or “gig” workers.  Gig workers can be freelancers, independent contractors, or any other outsourced employees who are hired on a per-project basis.
Some of these contingent workers choose to work outside of a payroll system either as full-time freelancers or as part-time workers who supplement their income by picking up gigs. Others take contingent jobs out of necessity even though they would prefer full-time employee status.

Employees Contractors Permanent Temporary AccountabilityA high-performance team does not differentiate between employees and contractors 


As an employer, there are well understood advantages of using gig workers that are driving this trend:

  • Cost Savings — Use of contingent workers can save on wage and benefit costs and taxes.   Staff sizes can be adjusted up and down based on need, and wages paid for specific jobs can be controlled by hiring on a project basis.
  • Flexibility — Workloads may fluctuate seasonally or with business opportunities. Employing a contingent workforce strategy allows companies to get the talent they need for specific situations or projects without long term costs. 
  • Screening Candidates — Hiring on a contingent basis allows employers to evaluate a potential employee for a permanent position.


As with any good solution, gig workers may also present hidden challenges and costs: 

  • Training — All employees, whether permanent or temporary, must be trained. A revolving door of gig workers necessitates a good system of orientation as well as specific job training.
  • Morale — Mixed teams, those with both permanent and contingent employees, work side by side, day in and day out.  This can make for an awkward situation when not everyone is getting the same benefits. 
  • isReliability — Whether it is true or not, there is the perception that a temporary worker doesn’t have the incentive to perform at the same high level as an employee who is aiming for a performance review and a raise.

Strategies to Maximize the Gig Workforce

Here are the top 3 strategies for getting the most out of your gig workers: 

1.  Hire the Right People No Matter Their Status

  • Whether you are hiring gig workers or employees, find people who are capable of understanding the work or project in its entirety, seeing their part in it, and setting priorities to execute their part.

gig or permanent workers treat all equalAlways hire the right people regardless of their employement status

2.  Treat Everybody the Same

  • Let go of the idea that gig workers are less important, less talented, and less a part of the team than permanent employees
  • Create situations for permanent and contingent talent to interact to create camaraderie and synergy among team members.

3.  Hold Everybody Accountable

  • Accountability should be blind and must be consistently applied.
  • Provide clear goals and expectations for milestones and deliverables so that your entire team, permanent and gig workers, have the structure to be successful.
  • Track performance at the individual level and tie it to a performance review process that is blind to the the worker’s employement status.
  • Use a tool like CommandHound which has been built from the ground up to drive acocuntability across the board


Accountability is the key to getting the most out of a team or organization regardless of the employement status of its team members.
Learn more by reading our Ultimate Guide to Accountability in the Workplace.  Or download our eBook here:

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