Tips for Dealing with Permanent Employees Who Hate Independent ContractorsWhen you consider moving from being an employee to an independent contractor, you weigh all of the pros and cons, considering new challenges such as accounting, insurance, and the risk of being out of work. One challenge new IT contractors sometimes don't consider is dealing with the negative feelings and the cold reception they sometimes get from a client's full-time employees. Building relationships at a new client site is challenging enough, and when employees already have a negative pre-conceived idea of you, you will find yourself starting from behind. So how can you deal with these permanent employees and their bad attitudes, while also building a productive working relationship? Start by understanding why they resent you The employee failed to understand your situation and made assumptions, so don't intensify the issue by falling into the same behaviour. Although you may not agree, keep their point-of-view in mind and consider these reasons that your client's FTEs may dislike you and your fellow independent contractors:
- They find out that their company, who they've been loyal to for many years, is paying you a lot more;
- Employees have to deal with the entire job, including office politics, performance reviews, training sessions and admin tasks, whereas contractors get to do only the core work;
- Independent contractors come in, do the high-profile "fun" tasks, then leave the IT employees to "clean up the mess" and do the grunt work; and,
- By nature, independent contractors are experts in their field so tend to be more focused and productive. If management hasn't communicated the IT contractor's role properly, this is threatening to employees.
- Communicate well, especially when explaining your role and that you're not there to take their job;
- Be generous of your time by offering training and mentoring;
- Avoid coming off as a jerk, patronising, or acting above the employees. This can happen unintentionally when trying to pass on your knowledge, so be selective of your words;
- Stay out of office politics or exposing lazy employees. Simply do your job and help the employees look good; and,
- Refrain from talking about money or answering their questions as to how much you make. Where figures do get exposed, take the time to explain all of your extra costs. If you do make significantly more than employees, avoid flashing your success in front of them.