In an ever-changing economy, the ability to adapt quickly to change is crucial to the eventual success – and ultimate survival – of a business. In response to this, a highly adaptive workforce is now being heralded as the most viable, efficient and cost effective solution to meet these challenges.
Here, we explore the benefits of the contractor workforce and demonstrate how this flexible resource can be used not only to cover a specific skills gap, but as a strategic step for your business.
Immediate/expected staff shortfall
For many companies, hiring a contractor begins with an immediate need or an expected shortfall; such as a specific skills gap, managing a period of change, launching a new project, or even coping with such commonplace issues as illness cover, planned holiday or maternity leave.
When companies fail to address these deficits, existing employees often find themselves with a higher workload and increased hours - both of which can have severe implications on productivity, motivation and retention levels. But by hiring a good contractor, projects are less likely lose impetus, existing employees avoid additional workloads, and productivity is less likely to fall.
And the best thing about hiring a contractor – with experience of seamlessly picking up existing and part-completed projects - is their ability to hit the ground running. A contractor’s DNA is geared towards immediately fulfilling their obligations without a need to embed themselves into a company. There will be less time spent acclimatising to the role, less time associated with training and development (the best contractors are highly focused on personal development and making sure they are up-to-speed with the latest technologies and systems), and less time associated with integration and induction programmes; saving you both time and money.
The cost of employees is not always evaluated accurately against the day rate of a contractor, but using contractors really can provide cost savings.
Aside from the obvious PAYE and National Insurance contributions savings, companies are not obliged to pay contractors for holiday periods, when they’re ill, or when they take time off for personal reasons. Contractors are self-employed and as a result, are only paid for the time they are working. What’s more, benefits such as health and life insurance, pension contributions and training costs, are all born by the contractors themselves.
Together, these factors can significantly reduce your outgoings.
Flexibility of staffing
A contractor workforce allows you to either increase or cut back your operation as demand dictates, without having to make permanent additions to your headcount; freeing your business from long hiring cycles in favour of short contract hiring.
Contractors allow you to address specific skills gaps in your organisation, as they will have relevant experience and expertise of the sector that you operate in. They will also be able to employ expertise that they’ve learned elsewhere, with the potential to bring ideas and motivation to your current team.
Not only does this flexibility give you greater control of your operational costs, it also leaves your current staff free to concentrate on your core business with no loss to productivity. And should you no longer require the extra manpower, cancelling contractor assignments is much easier - with fewer cost-implications - than removing permanent staff.
Quality and experience
Most contractors have a wealth of experience that crosses projects, platforms, companies and, in some cases, sectors. This breadth of experience and expertise is highly valuable as – aside from the obvious skills contribution - it provides companies with a fresh injection of talent and a new perspective.
Engaging good contractors can also improve the calibre of permanent employees by promoting best practice and the sharing of expertise. By bringing new ideas and experience to the table, contractors will enable existing employees to reach their own potential.