Human Resources, Our Thoughts

How to Attract, Maintain, & Retain Contingent Workers

Nov 2, 2018

Written by Katie Harrell, Recruitment Marketing Strategist.

Maybe you’re attracting but what’s your turnover look like?

Retaining contingent workers and keeping them engaged seems to be even more challenging than retaining permanent employees.

In the past, contingent workers were a dime a dozen and any staffing agency would be happy and capable of picking up the slack of another. Now, the contingent workforce is larger than ever and is continuing to grow every day. With that growth & paired with a tight labor market, staffing agencies are working smarter than ever to fine-tune the candidate experience while maintaining positive client relationships. High quality contingent workers are becoming a commodity yet that’s the opposite of how they want to be treated. To engage contingent workers, staffing agencies and employers should be working together to keep the pot sweetened.

The ultimate goal is to: Attract, Maintain, Retain.

Attracting Contingent Workers: We want our contingent workers, or candidates, to feel valued and minimize the negative connotations associated with temporary work. We try not to oversell our opportunities and our candidates appreciate that. They know we will try to make the best match between their skill set and our opportunity.

A great way of attracting great candidates is to communicate in a way that lets them know we can relieve their pain points.

Job seekers’ pain points consist of:

  • Submitting applications to a black hole
  • Amount of time it takes to fill out applications
  • Impersonal feel of the application & hiring process

What can be done to alleviate these pains?

  • Being transparent about the process and next steps or phases for the candidate
  • Simplifying the actual application process
  • Ensuring initial communications begin about the job seeker—addressing their needs & experience–before the job opportunity
  • Communicate with candidates on their terms. Be accessible to them, making it easier for them to know where they stand with you in the application/ hiring process.

Maintaining Contingent Workers: It’s time to put the emphasis on the candidate and culture match for all employees, whether permanent or contingent workers.

Cohesion between permanent workers and contingent workers is difficult when someone is not present to act as a liaison and set those expectations. This cohesion is important to both the client and candidate as it can create positive relationships, collaboration, and innovation.

What can be done to bridge the gap?

  • Candidate recognition program extended to permanent and contingent employees
  • Benefit offerings for contingent employees
  • Employee engagement opportunities for contingent employees
  • Mentor program between permanent and temporary employees

Retaining Contingent Workers: People are motivated by the same values whether they are a permanent employee or a contingent worker. Recognizing that contingent workers still crave a great company culture and career growth opportunities is a step in the right direction. Keep them coming back with communication about future opportunities.

What can be done to ensure contingent workers last?

  • Involve contingent workers in trainings, communications. Our clients who do this have lower turnover rates!
  • Be transparent about the scope of the job opportunity and company’s culture
  • Recognizing things that may be an issue, such as transportation, and be a resource to help resolve or get ahead of such issues
  • Conduct a “Stay Survey” including contingent workers asking, “What can we do better?” to attract, maintain, and retain

To aide our clients in attracting, maintaining, and retaining contingent workers, we have developed programs for candidate referral, candidate recognition (#HiFive), and candidate engagement (#HireLevelDifference), one touch resolution (like a one-stop-shop), and many other efforts to perfect the candidate experience. We strive for candidates to feel as though they have someone in their corner to make the best match possible for them and a mutually beneficial experience for both candidate and client.

But do these things really tie into the culture they experience day in and day out with their job?

HireLevel takes the candidate experience up a notch to mitigate turnover by providing on-site supervision on all shifts (appropriate to volume) who provide direction, can be a listening ear, and help guide our clients to hold our candidate team accountable in a way that is reflective of our culture and aligns with the client’s key expectations.

To learn more about retaining contingent workers through a tailored partnership with HireLevel, contact our Strategic Accounts team Breck Newman or Nicole Kline.



Edited by Karsen McKinney, Content Marketing Strategist.