Contractors can seem like a great solution for small-to-medium businesses.
On the face of it, they provide fewer outgoings, greater flexibility and less management. They don’t need extensive training, and they’re generally happy to get on with the job with a minimum amount of fuss.
After a year of unpredictability, what’s not to like?
Unfortunately, there’s a problem with this approach.
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Although contractors might mean less risk in the short term, the hands-off strategy comes with a huge long-term risk that could do serious damage to your business, in the form of reduced quality control.
It’s easy to forget that although contractors might look and feel like their full-time counterparts, they’re not the same as constant, full-time members of your team. Since contractors regularly work with multiple businesses, they’re not incentivised to prioritise your company’s objectives over their own.
Like it or not, businesses will always have less authority over their contractors, since even if they set guidelines over expectations and deliverables, contractors tend to be more autonomous and work to their own set of rules.
Plus, over the long term, contractors can end up being a greater cost than a full-time member of staff. They’re like a temporary band-aid that might end up causing more financial harm than good over time.
It’s tempting to lean towards a less permanent staffing solution, especially in the middle of a pandemic. However, the unrelenting pandemic is actually a reason against hiring contractors.
In a year of uncertainty, businesses need to do everything in their power to make their businesses as predictable as possible. And that starts with a loyal, solid team of full-time staff.
Why full-time works
Hiring full-time staff can help build a stable team, helping you to foster loyalty and commitment to your business. Staff will likely be more invested in the company’s goals and can be trained to a fixed set of processes.
Full-time staff will then stick to those set of processes and ensure that quality measures are met and that KPIs are hit. This makes it easier to provide, consistent, quality customer service from whatever touchpoint they’re interacting with your business from.
As a result, you can keep everything in-house, making it easier to manage workloads, guide your staff and keep your IP secure.
In many cases, contractors become a barrier between the customer and the company.
By removing the third party from the equation, businesses are able to have a more direct, authentic connection with their customer.
Retraining and retaining
Once you’ve hired a team of full-time staff, it’s your job to build a culture that can keep them engaged and actively enjoying their role.
By building long-term career growth and progression into their role from the offset, you’ll be rewarded with an employee who feels more valued and is willing to work harder in their role as a result.
Of course, there’s always a risk that you may end up hiring someone who is the wrong fit, which can come at a large cost to your business.
To get around this, businesses must ensure all new employees are rigorously screened and skill tested to ensure quality service, and are provided with ongoing support.
Training is an important part of the equation when it comes to retaining full-time staff.
In my business, training my staff is key to ensure that our high-quality standards are met and upheld. It’s an upfront cost, but the outcome ensures that customers are satisfied and that repeat business is secured.
Loyal staff have the incentive to provide much better customer service and are far more willing and able to act as shining ambassadors for your brand.
Full-time staff are built up within your company’s culture, meaning they’ll naturally follow and believe in the company’s core values.
If your culture is purposefully designed with this in mind, it’ll be far easier to both train and retain staff.
By hiring full-time staff, you stand to benefit from greater employee loyalty, along with a higher standard of work, ensuring repeat business and a boosted bottom line.
As we head into 2021, what business could ask for better than that?