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As organisations grapple with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, they find themselves rethinking their workforce composition and seeking agile solutions to meet evolving business demands.

In this landscape of change and adaptation, contracting solutions have emerged as an attractive prospect.

“This staffing option offers the opportunity to quickly hire someone with specialist skills to fill a short-term need, without the long-term overheads of bringing a permanent employee on board,” explains Marlinda Zulkifli, Head of Page Contracting Malaysia.

Contract work has been steadily gaining prominence in recent years. Traditionally, contract roles were prevalent in fields like writing, designing, marketing, and information technology, where projects could be clearly defined and fulfilled by individual contributors.

However, the landscape has expanded significantly, encompassing various professions, including legal, human resources, procurement and finance.

Organisations now turn to executive freelancers to fill temporary leadership roles, trial potential hires, or bridge gaps while searching for permanent replacements.

Related: Contracting on the rise in Malaysia as a flexible staffing solution: survey report

9 benefits of hiring contract workers

1. Speedy onboarding

Companies can quickly find and bring in contract professionals to fill immediate needs, especially for specialised roles.

Due to the nature of contract work, experienced contractors are often available to start at short notice — which is particularly important given the rapid pace of change in the business world due to the pandemic.

They may be able to onboard and deliver work faster than a permanent employee, who would need to notify their existing employer.

The right contractors are also highly skilled in their field of expertise. Hiring contract workers provides an immediate solution to skills shortages without needing on-the-job training.

  Looking to hire contractors? Start a hiring conversation with us now.

2. Fill temporary skill shortages

Whether due to employee turnover, parental leave or a family emergency, every company needs to deal with unforeseen issues within their team.

These often leave companies struggling to meet deadlines and put additional pressure on existing employees who need to compensate for these shortages and subsequent changes in your organisation.

Did you know 52% of employers cite talent shortages as the main reason to employ temporary staff? In unexpected circumstances, freelancers and contractors can serve as a quick fix while you find a long-term solution.

When a team member suddenly leaves, or you do not have time to hire a replacement, hiring a contract worker can ease the transition, allowing productivity to continue unaffected.

Hiring a contract worker offers the advantage of bringing in the proper knowledge and skills for jobs requiring specialist expertise, enabling companies to efficiently tackle complex projects and achieve exceptional results above and beyond the core business.

By having a pool of potential workers, whether freelance or independent contractors, you can quickly call on the right people to lend a helping hand on any outstanding projects without worrying about the recruitment and onboarding process.

Related: Powerful tips to attract and retain contract talent

3. Provides greater speed and flexibility to adapt to changing market needs

With the changing needs of a business, it is not uncommon for headcount requirements to shift rapidly. During and post-COVID-19, however, this point has become more crucial for business survival. Adapting new business models and readjusting processes requires agility and flexibility.

In a volatile market with a high degree of uncertainty, short-term contractors provide the ideal opportunity to assess market shifts and organisational needs on an ongoing basis rather than committing to new employees permanently.

Contract workers support lean business planning, which allows businesses to respond with greater speed and flexibility to the ever-changing nature of the pandemic.

Related: How to get the most out of contract employees

4. Trial new employees or positions

Hiring a new staff member requires significant upfront investment and can be time-consuming. Initially hiring potential full-time, part-time or casual workers on a contract basis allows a business to assess how that individual will fit within their company environment and culture. 

During the contract period, managers can determine whether a candidate is a good fit for the job. In one way, this serves as a temporary test period to see if another headcount is truly needed. In others, it is a method to test out a new role and how that role would integrate with the rest of the teams.

Hiring contractors as a way to trial potential employees has become an increasingly common solution when it comes to senior positions, such as C-suite roles, too. 

“As C-suite roles command high compensation packages and are in such an influential position, companies want to know they are hiring the right person for the position; they tend to test out a candidate and observe how this candidate fits into the position before converting him or her to a full-time position,” explains Marlinda.

Related: Tackling mental health and well-being at the executive level

5. Complete projects efficiently

Temporary staff are often brought on board to complete specific tasks or projects. Because of this, they’re not tied down to the everyday tasks that come with a permanent role – managing an overflowing inbox and receiving ad-hoc requests, for example – and can therefore focus solely on getting the job done.

You can also choose a temporary employee or contractor who matches the exact skill set you need for a task. This is particularly beneficial if you have a skills gap within your current team.

6. Give employees shorter notice periods

If an organisation needs to pivot or suddenly experiences a dramatic change, temporary workers don’t require the same notice period as permanent employees.

With shorter notice periods, headcount can be adjusted quickly to meet changing business needs, which will be crucial during and beyond the pandemic.

7. Global Talent Pool

Contract work allows companies to tap into a global workforce, especially beneficial for remote roles. In today’s hyper-competitive business landscape, it is not enough to fish in your local talent pond; it’s time to cast the net globally.

Hiring contract professionals isn’t merely a cost-saving strategy; it’s a golden passport to a world brimming with untapped expertise. By going global, companies can strategically diversify their workforce, cherry-picking tech wizards from Silicon Valley, marketing mavens from London, and data analysts from Bangalore.

This geographic diversity is not just a patchwork; it’s a tapestry that enriches organisational culture, stimulates innovation, and fosters a robust problem-solving environment.

Think about it: Different regions bring different viewpoints and skill sets shaped by unique educational backgrounds and experiences. A global talent pool makes your company resilient, dynamic, and adaptable in the face of ever-shifting market demands.

Related: Should you hire a contractor for your company? 

8. Bring new approaches to problem-solving and innovation

Unlike traditional employees, whose thinking might be homogenised by a company’s existing culture, contract workers come with the invaluable currency of external experience.

With a clean slate and unfiltered lenses, these individuals can challenge the status quo and introduce novel approaches to problem-solving. Their different viewpoints can help create new and better solutions.

9. Cost-effectiveness

Hiring contract workers can protect a company’s bottom line precisely at the moment when the bottom line is crucial. With temporary staff, companies can exclude things like employee insurance, which is optional.

Ultimately, this frees up payroll expenses so you can invest more in employee benefits for your existing employees. However, many businesses provide certain benefits to their contractors as part of their employee value proposition.

Most contractors and freelancers also set their rates using a contractor pay calculator. This transparent approach takes the guesswork out of salary negotiations. If their rate aligns with your budget, you’re ready to go.

Looking to hire contractors? Start a hiring conversation with our contract hiring expert and get in touch with us here.

Tips for hiring and retaining contract workers

Businesses can build trust and loyalty in contract employees by learning about and assisting in their long-term goals. They can be helpful in short-term projects or high-capacity periods if they are looking only for contract work.

If contractors are looking for long-term opportunities, they can be a potential temp-to-perm hire, so always consider it as an option – a strong contractor might be highly motivated by the potential of a permanent job, or their circumstances may have changed, so the stability of permanent work has now become their end-goal.

As employers face fast-changing business needs, contractors and temp workers will continue to help them adapt to the market’s demands. Designing robust attraction, onboarding and engagement strategies will assist in helping smooth the transition to a more flexible, contingent workforce.

Consider the following when designing an onboarding program that will suit contract workers:

  • Where in the organisation chart does this position fit? Why is this position important?
  • What are the general goals of the broader department or team? What is the culture of the team? What are the key processes and procedures?
  • Is there any extra learning or development required for this position? Who will be overseeing it?
  • What are the measurable goals of this contracting position? What will the manager expect of the contract worker?

These questions will inevitably come up with a temp or contract worker, so having the answers in one place before you start bringing on the new talent is wise.

Read more:
Top 10 highest paying jobs in Malaysia for 2023
12 ways to create work-life balance for employees
5 interview questions to ask to tell a great candidate from a good one

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