If you’re investing into high-quality marketing talent and putting them to work on important projects, why wouldn’t you give them the support they need to be as effective as possible? A small amount of preparation could dramatically boost the productivity of your flexible marketing staffing personnell and improve your perception as a brand that effectively uses contract marketers.
We routinely see companies of all shapes and sizes do a poor job of effectively onboarding contract marketing staffing and integrating them into the workplace culture. Some organizations (almost 20%, according to the Society for Human Resource Management) don’t have much of a formal onboarding process at all. And those that do don’t always have effective systems set up or fail to apply them to temporary staff.
The good news is that you don’t have to bend over backwards to bring in a professional marketing contractor. They’re largely pretty self-sufficient and resourceful. However, providing a basic foundation for them to stand on will reduce errors, waste less time and resources, earn more loyalty and ultimately produce better marketing.
Preserve Your Brand
The people who work for you, both full time and on a temporary basis, are ambassadors for your consumer and employer brands. When they have positive or negative experiences they will share them—through networks, online review sites, and word of mouth.
If you intend to bring in the best marketers (and why wouldn’t you), it’s vital to preserve a strong and positive company brand. Word travels fast in this industry—if you develop a reputation of treating your contract marketers poorly or fail to provide the environment they need to be effective, you’ll find it increasingly difficult to attract the quality talent you need.
Once you have a few black marks on your record, you’ll find them incredibly difficult to erase. On the other hand, a brand as a supportive and competent source of quality contract jobs will have the best marketers fighting for opportunities to work with your organization. Which sounds better to you?
Set Up Equipment and Tech
If you want your new contractors to step in right away and start being productive, you need to give them the right tools and access to jump right in. Do as much of this as possible ahead of time so your new marketer can spend less time wrestling with technical issues and navigating internal bureaucracy and more time using the talent your hired them more.
In most organizations, that means at minimum a designated workspace with a functional computer and a phone already set up. Work with IT to prearrange any accounts, permissions and passwords they’ll need to access digital assets and tools. Make sure your timesheet system is ready so your contractor can easily and accurately track hours right away.
Make them Part of the Team
A contractor that feels acclimated to your workplace culture and welcome by the people they most closely work with will coordinate better and have more interest in sticking around. But let’s face it, some work environments can get a little close-knit or even cliquey. It can be intimidating for any newcomer, especially a temporary one, to try to gain a foothold. Create early opportunities for them to interact and socialize with their immediate coworkers on both a professional and personal level.
You are just as responsible for the safety of your flexible marketing staff as you are for your full-time employees. In a normal office environment, this can be as simple as showing them the fire escape, familiarizing them with emergency procedures and showing them what to do if they feel threatened or harassed. Some workplaces may require additional training; for instance, one that is undergoing major renovations or includes a manufacturing or assembly area with heavy machinery.
The Little Things
Companies often get too distracted with big-picture onboarding to remember the little things that matter to human beings throughout the day. Can YOU imagine having an effective workday without knowledge of where the nearest coffee source and bathroom are? Problems as minor as running out of paper clips can escalate far more than necessary when you don’t know where to go or who to turn to for a solution. Don’t take the basic knowledge you use about your workplace every day for granted.