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Is Your Contractor Onboarding Process Hurting Your Projects' Success?

One of the biggest complaints I hear from contractors starting a new contract with a client is the poor onboarding process. Far too often, a contractor's first day of work, and even sometimes their entire first work week, is spent chasing down access to technology, security passes, and access to critical documents that enable them to understand the project and their role. Onboarding processes in many organizations are geared towards full-time hires and many of those components are transferable to contract hires. Like a full-time hire, contract hires want to feel that the organization they are working with are happy to have them on board, are organized with their internal processes to make the transition into the organization quick and smooth, and most importantly, welcomed into the work and team environment. Onboarding goes beyond just passing along security cards, access to technology and showing a person where they sit. Key components of a contractor onboarding program should include:

  • An overview of company culture;

  • A review of corporate policies (security, HR policies, etc...);

  • A personal introduction to members of the team;

  • The project's goals and the current state of the project;

  • A review of the contractor's role on the team - setting expectations of deliverables; and,

  • Who they can go to ask questions/support.

Starting any new role, whether you are a full-time employee or a contractor, can be daunting. The easiest way to set a new person up for success is to spend the time doing a proper, thorough onboarding.This article from HRPS shows that people make a decision to stay with a company rather quickly and often, the onboarding process is the basis for part of their decision.

  • 4 percent of employees quit after a bad first day (Bersin by Deloitte)

  • 22 percent of turnover occurs in the first 45 days (The Wynhurst Group)

  • 90 percent of employees decide to stay at a company within the first six months (Aberdeen Group)

  • 31 percent of people have quit a job within the first six months, with half of those coming in the first 3 months. (BambooHR)

Technology talent is becoming harder to find every day. It is critical that clients spend the time up front with hires to ensure they are properly onboarded and see how they fit into the team and the organization. The cost of replacing talent is huge - whether contract or full time. Resources that depart an organization months or even weeks after starting have a devastating negative impact on the team - financially and emotionally. It is important that companies take the time to develop a solid on-boarding process for employees as well as contractors. Of course, coupled with a great on-boarding process, is a thorough off-boarding process, which I will expand on in a future post.