2023-07-21 | Clare Allen
Welcome to the third article in our contracting in financial services series. In this edition, we look at the engagement of contractors from a client’s perspective: onboarding, and ensuring you get the best out of contractors in a hybrid or remote working world.
Onboarding contractors is never the easiest job. It’s one that clients like to get done as quickly as possible. After all, contractors should be able to hit the ground running and embed themselves in a short time so that clients get the very best value from day one. In the fast-paced world of financial services transformation, there’s no time for resting on your laurels and taking space to get acclimatised.
In pre-COVID days, it was customary for contractors to be in the office on their first day. They would spend that day meeting various members of the project team, rapidly getting up to speed, asking many, many questions, and adding immediate value.
In post-COVID times, this isn’t quite as simple. Our clients have made the following comments:
“It’s really hard to work out whether a new contractor has understood everything we told them in their induction over Teams. They seemed to… they nodded and asked all the right questions, but I guess the proof will be in the pudding”.
“IT promised the laptop would be couriered to our new contractor in time for their start today, but it didn’t arrive in time. So although we’ve tried to induct them, they can’t really do much until their laptop arrives tomorrow – yet we’re paying for their time today. If they were in the office today they could at least have met key stakeholders and started to get up to speed”.
“I really miss the ‘welcome new-joiner lunches’ we used to have whenever new contractors joined. They were great for breaking the ice and helped build relationships”.
So what’s the answer? In a nutshell, a streamlined and perfectly-scheduled online induction. It is no longer possible to wing it; to pause by people’s desks to make introductions, or to ask team members to meet the new contractor when they have some spare minutes. These introductions have to be properly scheduled remotely to ensure a contractor’s smooth integration into an organisation.
But it’s not just about scheduling. Clients that get the best out of hybrid and remote contractors know how to utilise communication. It may be stating the obvious, but the more frequently you speak to new contractors, check their output and involve them in meetings, the higher the likelihood of success.
We recently experienced a challenging incident due to a miscommunication between the hiring manager and contractor, solely due to remote working. The client asked the contractor on a Teams call to reschedule some of the change activities they were working on because of top-down priorities. However, this rescheduling plan had not been clearly communicated to others within the business. The contractor hadn’t understood that it was essential that business stakeholders understood why these changes had been made, and in the absence of that happening, the business was fraught with confusion and stress. He had unintentionally bypassed the organisation’s internal processes as he wasn’t in the office to keep up with what was going on outside of the project.
This cautionary tale highlights the importance of ensuring all parties communicate thoroughly, even when remote working. By creating a seamless induction for contractors and making expectations clear from the outset, businesses can empower hybrid contractors to add value from day one.
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