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Contingent Worker Retention: 7 Things CW Programs Can Do

By Rachel Pellegrini, JustinBradley COO & Andrew Chase, JustinBradley EVP

Would you be surprised if one of your Contingent Workers (CWers) left for another job 4 weeks before the project is complete?

Retention is a cost management issue and may be more important than hiring Contingent Workforce talent for a project. What manager wants to lose someone they’ve trained, and who is a key player, halfway through the project?

Retention is a responsibility shared by the hiring manager as well as the Contingent Workforce supplier. While pay is part of the equation, in today’s market the hiring manager has a profound effect on the contingent worker’s satisfaction and may be the first to detect if something is amiss.

Here are 7 ideas for enterprise Contingent Workforce users (program lead, hiring managers) to foster retention (always discuss with your HR partner):


• Ask your suppliers about their contractor retention strategy.


• During the interview process, be clear about the tasks you expect the Contingent Workforce candidate to take on so there are no surprises. Understand the CWer’s career goals and try to assign tasks consistent with those goals.


Think of all your reports as ‘the team’, not ‘them’ and ‘us’. Include CWers in team meetings and team building. (Sometimes CWers are excluded from project meetings that are important to their work simply because they were not put on the team email distribution list.)


Minimize uncertainty about end-date/conversion potential—let the program lead, MSP or CWer know if you are trying to extend the CWer’s assignment, at least 1 month before the end-date. Similarly, let them know if there is a possibility to convert to a full-time position with your company or if you are trying to get them on another manager’s project.


Alert your Managed Service Provider if a CWer’s performance or behavior has changed, even if just a subtle change. The MSP will alert the supplier who will check-in with the CWer to see if everything is OK from the CWer’s perspective. While suppliers should be checking in regularly with their CWers, we should jump on any perceived issue rather than wait for the scheduled check-in date.


Initiate a simple quality review process so that suppliers can get feedback from managers about how our CWers are performing; provide positive feedback to the CWer; or head-off potential issues. You should be able to do this through your Vendor Management System.


• As we said, pay is part of the equation. Do you have a CWer who is a star performer? Being paid a lot less than your in-house staff? Discuss a pay increase or bonus with your supplier. It’s more than just monetary—it tells the CWer that you value her work.

Would be great to discuss with you.


Rachel – [email protected]
Andrew – [email protected]

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