Recognizing and rewarding hard work, innovative ideas and exceptional results is a basic tenet of good management. But the approach you take to reward and motivate contracted marketers and digital staffing must be different from how you would incentivize your full-time employees.
Many benefits you wouldn’t hesitate to hand to an excellent employee or high-performing team can put you at risk of co-employment status and get your business in trouble with the IRS. Additionally, some forms of compensation, when improperly granted, risk souring an agency relationship or violating contract terms.
Still, it’s only natural for good management to want to reward success. It motivates hard work, helps retain quality marketers, and inspires others to strive for excellence. In many cases your contract marketing staffing is working right in the trenches alongside your full time employees and are valued, well-liked members of the team. Being able to reward some deserving parts of your team without hesitation but not others can cause some imbalance in team dynamics.
The good news is that it’s still quite possible for a manager to show appreciation to their marketing contractors if there’s good cause for it. You just have to be a little more careful with what rewards you give, and how you give them.
When an exceptional marketing staffing professional, marketing consultant or similar flexible workforce talent is performing above and beyond your expectations, here are a few ways you can repay the effort:
Help Them Build Their Resume
One of the best rewards any ambitious marketer can get is the opportunity to gain invaluable new skills and experiences they can use to grow their career.
Communicate with the individuals you want to reward and find out where they want to take their career and what they have interest in doing. Then do what you can to give them new responsibilities, let them work on interesting projects, and provide them with training on different tactics and tools your organization uses.
Recognition and Recommendation
Everyone likes to be told they’re doing a good job–and that goes double for interim marketing talent who might not have the insider’s perspective of your business or understanding of your market to recognize the big-picture effect of their work on their own.
A simple “nice job” or a positive email can go a long way, but if the situation calls for it you can go even further. There’s nothing holding you back from publicly recognizing excellent work from your marketing contractors to the rest of the team.
Perhaps the most valuable things you can do here are to write a recommendation on your contractor’s LinkedIn profile describing their work ethic and marketing ability. You can also offer to act as a professional reference in the future if they start looking for work elsewhere.
Over the years we’ve found that top performing marketers are not primarily motivated by money… but it certainly doesn’t hurt. Raises and bonuses are always an effective way to reward talent of any kind, and that includes non-employee talent working on an interim basis. Increasing a contractor’s hourly rate or offering a lump-sum bonus will help you keep them around longer if they’re delivering great results, and show the rest of the team that good work is rewarded. Just make sure that you’re arranging any financial rewards through the professional’s staffing agency to avoid a contract breach or risk coemployment.
This can even go alongside a promotion. There’s nothing stopping you from giving your marketing staffing professionals a new title along with their increased compensation, which can serve as a reward in and of itself.
Gifts and Handouts
Some organizations empower their management to encourage great work with rewards like gift cards, meals, and presents with significant value. Though it’s fairly easy to offer these to your full-time employees, you must be very careful about giving gifts like this to your marketing staffing.
Handing incentives like this to someone is considered an employer-like action by the federal government, meaning that you could take on the liability, responsibilities, and costs of that individual as a full-time employee.
If you strongly want to offer this kind of reward to your interim marketers, it’s best to coordinate with your creative/digital staffing agency partner and have them provide the gift on your behalf. You can then compensate the firm for an equivalent cost of the gift.
Freedom and Flexibility
Most great marketers work well in a team and do well with a reasonable amount of supervision. But they also tend to prefer a reasonable amount of autonomy and flexibility to carry out their tasks without micromanagement and in the way they find most effective.
If a contracted professional has shown themselves to be trustworthy and productive, work with them to create an arrangement where they get to work in the most enjoyable way possible that still fits with your organization’s needs and workplace expectations.