on boarding contractors the sweetrush way

Staff augmentation is a strategy used to staff a project with short-term contractors. Standard practice with staff augmentation firms includes recruiting, hiring, and other duties associated with HR compliance and payroll. These services save both time and money, and help you to continue to focus on your daily responsibilities. In addition to hiring and placing talent, however, there is an often overlooked step: on-boarding.

Data suggests there is increased speed-to-competency and cost-savings associated with an effective on-boarding program for employees. Most of this data stems from programs provided to full-time employees. We at SweetRush believe there is a correlation to contract talent as well, and it is why we have developed a program that goes beyond the standard “contractor orientation” program.

There is also a role for our clients in the on-boarding process. While we work closely with our clients to ensure our contractors are as prepared as possible for their assignment, we have found that on-boarding by the client is also very helpful. According to Forbes columnist and on-boarding expert Emily Bennington, on-boarding is as equally critical for contractors as it is for employees, particularly those who may interact with clients.

Below, I’ve outlined the SweetRush process, along with a few suggestions to help you think through the creation of an on-boarding program for your contract talent.

The SweetRush Way

During our initial intake process, we begin to build a client profile for you so we can fully understand your needs. In addition to contractor specifications, we gather company, department, and project data, along with information about your corporate culture, your stakeholders, and your team. While this profile is initially used to help us find the right talent to fit your needs, it’s also essential information for on-boarding.

We have a three-part process:

  1. Orientation to SweetRush. This includes our culture and values, and our processes, tools, and resources. By completing this orientation before the assignment, our contractors can turn their focus completely to you.
  2. Client and project orientation. This is a high-level orientation based on our knowledge of you and the projectThe first two are, of course, essential to a successful project start. What we believe really differentiates us is part 3, however:
  3. Mentoring. We establish a SweetRush mentoring relationship with the contractor. This support is on-going throughout the engagement, and the same person often serves as the client liaison. We have found that both our clients and our contractors greatly value the additional support and guidance.

Our Clients’ Role

Some organizations have extensive on-boarding programs in place that cover culture, policies, job skills, and so on. Although providing such a program is not always very practical for short-term contractors,  there are components of those programs that should be considered in a contractor on-boarding program.

  1. Company culture. It is helpful for contractors to understand your corporate values and policies, as well as department or client subcultures. By understanding your culture, contractors can avoid missteps and become a champion for your organization.
  2. Resources. It is useful for contractors to know early in the project what company resources are available and how to gain access and support if needed. These resources may include systems or people.
  3. Training. Contractors come to the table with a specific set of skills — it’s why you hire them in the first place. Consider, though, if there is proprietary training you need to provide.
  4. Team integration. Consider what ways you can connect contractors to your team and organization so they feel like they are part of the team. We recommend assigning an internal resource to answer questions.

Providing contractors with an efficient and targeted on-boarding program increases the potential for successful project results. We are proud of the process we have developed, and believe it’s a significant factor in making our staff augmentation engagements highly successful. Feel free to contact me anytime to discuss how we might help you with your short-term staffing needs, or about creating an on-boarding program for your contract or full-time employees.