Half of all companies plan to hire independent contractors (ICs) in the future, if they haven’t already.¹ Employing independent contractors makes financial sense for many companies since almost 30 percent of a regular employee’s compensation is related to benefits.² ICs also reduce the occurrence of lawsuits as independent contractors are protected by fewer laws than full-time employees.³ Uber and Airbnb have implemented the IC business model and heavily rely on contractors to drive operational efficiencies.
“According to a survey by staffing firm Addison Group, 88 percent of hiring managers are more comfortable hiring contractors for senior level positions than they were five years ago,” stated Forbes.4
What the on-demand economy has to do with the increase in contract labor
Independent contractors satisfy the current on-demand nature of our economy with commercial behavior coming from two sources: workers and consumers. In 2017, workers are growing weary of the traditional 9-5 workday and want a career with flexibility, opportunity, and growth potential. According to CNN, a study revealed that employees around the world want flexible work schedules and “cited a lack of it as among the top reasons they would quit (their job).”5
While workers are seeking out flexible schedules, consumers expect prompt and responsive services in return. A workforce of independent contractors satisfies the requirements for a work life balance while quickly delivering products and services to consumers.
Employing independent contractors might appear optimal, however, there are numerous drawbacks. Without an operational homebase for employees, company communications might be scattered and suboptimal. Employees will most likely find it difficult to align with company principals and strategy and implement those practices in their daily work. However, with effective eLearning initiatives, employees can get on the same page and hone their skills as if they were sitting in a classroom with their coworkers.
Prominent companies that are moving from a traditional workforce to independent contractors include:
- Lyft - Alternative to taxi cab transportation
- Urban Stem - Flower delivery
- Fancy Hands - Personal assistant services
- Handy - Offers home cleaning services
3 Key Steps to Managing Contractor Training
While hiring independent contractors is usually good for business, it also poses a challenge for companies. Creating training plans that cater specifically to ICs can be a challenge as these workers do not have the luxury of sharing a physical space with their coworkers. ICs require training that can be accessed remotely and adheres to company brand standards as a means of ensuring brand uniformity across a dispersed workforce. As with any type of training, implementing best practices for delivering effective contractor training is paramount.
Three steps to successfully managing contractor training include:
- Make training available online -- Arranging a training session for dispersed independent contractors into a physical space can be difficult, if not impossible. Online training is the best way to ensure contractors receive the skills they need in order to succeed.
- Provide training sessions available in short intervals -- Learning that is delivered in tiny amounts (for example, a 3-5 minute instructional video) is ideal for contractor training. eLearning Industry quoted Yosh C. Beier, co-founder and managing partner of executive coaching company Collaborative Coaching: “What’s increasingly becoming the new delivery mode is training that’s organized in decentralized and on-demand ways... small chunks accessible anytime, anywhere, based on concrete needs”.6 Learn some simple ways to deliver microlearning in our blog article Why Microlearning is the Future of Corporate Training.
- Localize languages -- It’s possible that the contractors your company hires will not all speak the same language. Ensure all parties fully comprehend necessary training by having an IT professional enable your company’s applications to be launched in a variety of major languages. An alternative to this is to launch a multi-language LMS with built-in language localization tools.
Online training that can be launched in a plethora of languages and dispersed in small amounts is best facilitated through a fully hosted learning management system. Request a free demo of the award-winning LMS TOPYX today to learn more.
- Career Builder. Forty percent of employers plan to hire full-time, permanent employees in 2017. http://www.careerbuilder.com/share/aboutus/pressreleasesdetail.aspx?sd=1%2F6%2F2017&id=pr983&ed=12%2F31%2F2017. January 6, 2017.
- Wood, Robert. If 30 percent of pay is benefits, what about independent contractors? https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2013/08/14/if-30-of-pay-is-benefits-what-about-independent-contractors/#114cd9b79313. August 14, 2013.
- Forbes. Pros and cons of hiring independent contractors. https://www.forbes.com/2006/10/10/contractor-IRS-union-ent-law-cx_nl_1011nolo.html#4f8f87cb3243.
- Strauss, Karsten. Forbes. Look at some major companies hiring freelancers in 2016. https://www.forbes.com/sites/karstenstrauss/2016/07/21/a-look-at-some-major-companies-hiring-freelancers-in-2016/#24804eba689a. July 21, 2016.
- CNN Money. What workers around the world want: more flexibility. http://money.cnn.com/2015/05/05/pf/workplace-flexibility/index.html. May 5, 2015.
- Schroeder, Peter. Contractor training in the on-demand economy. https://elearningindustry.com/contractor-training-on-demand-economy/. October 11, 2017.