Have You Ever Considered Contract Work? Some of What Contract Employees Value Most.

It’s 2021 and many people are considering new job opportunities.Many people are considering new career opportunities and weighing how those opportunities fit into their life, goals and aspirations. Contract work might not have been something you’ve considered in the past but now, as you’re re-evaluating, it might be a good time to consider contract employment and whether or not it’s the right path for you (brush up on what contracting is + its benefits here). 

So where should you start in the evaluation of how contract employment differs from traditional employment — when navigating relationships, stability, career development, and more?

Recent contract employee survey data shows there are many considerations for “non-traditional” employees. Based on these  findings, here are a few of the self-identified elements that contribute to happy and successful work as a contract team member. 

Elements Necessary to Create a Happy Lifestyle as a Contract Team Member 

Relationships

Relationships matter. If you’re full-time or contracting in a role, you want to feel valued by peers and leadership. Contracted team members want to be a part of the team and have a sense of belonging. This sense of belonging includes; participating in meetings, voicing  ideas, and fostering direct relationships with colleagues.

But, there is a second and equally meaningful relationship for contract team members —  rapport with the recruiter and staffing agency that you work on behalf of. Because as a contracted team member, you often technically work as an employee of the staffing agency.  To feel connected, you need to feel comfortable going to the staffing agency with questions, concerns, or support in your contract role.

An essential thing for contract team members is to feel  your  team and staffing agency work together to help you achieve your career goals.

Stability

Stability is often the #1 reason people provide for not wanting to work in a contracted capacity. But it does not need to be. Contract team members want  to ensure stability in their work and income. Recruiters can help create stability by fulfilling contract requirements, renewing contracts with clients before deadlines, or lining up new opportunities for employees before a contract expires. It’s important for you to feel like you have a strong relationship with your recruiter so you can feel confident approaching them with your needs; from things that need to be addressed in your current role to options for ‘what’s next’ in your career to  other options when a contract comes to an end.

Transparency

Transparency is part of a bigger picture: trust in the organization to act with integrity and congruence on behalf of its employees, including contract employees. As a contract team member, you  want your staffing agency  and client to consider your professional interests, and you want to know and understand what is going on behind the scenes when it comes to contract renewals, timelines, and feedback on your work performance. Essentially, “non-traditional” team members want access to the same information “traditional” team members  glean from their direct relationship with their leader and company they work within. .

Communication

It can be tricky to strike the appropriate communication balance between your staffing agency and the company you work within. Communication styles and desired cadences vary greatly based on several factors, including personalities. However, feedback from contract team members overwhelmingly indicates  a desire for more personalized communications as compared to automated check-ins or templated phone calls. 

As a contract team member you may appreciate semi-annual and annual calls directly from your recruiter. These conversations may provide the opportunity  to discuss new opportunities, potential raises, feedback on your work assignment, and time to continue to build your connection with your recruiter.

Benefits

Benefits may be one reason why you think contract work might not be right for you. Not all staffing agencies offer benefits to their contract team members and that can sometimes be a turn off. If you’re like many other people in the workforce, you have become accustomed to benefits packages that include  healthcare, dental, and 401k along with some paid time off. 

Some staffing agencies do provide benefit packages and some even provide a portion of traditional PTO. As a contract team member, you might want to weigh how much it means to you to have more flexibility vs the amount of PTO allotted by a staffing agency.

Learning & Development

If you have a continuous improvement mindset, it might be difficult to give up the opportunity to have career development or paid learning opportunities in a contract role. We all know that training and certifications can open the door to new career paths and there are several ways for individuals to fulfill their learning and development needs. Some staffing agencies provide team member training and some do not. Other options include local organizations and the new LinkedIn learning tools. 

There are many career options and contract employment is one of them. Our suggestion is, don’t judge a book by its cover — do your research and decide what might be the next best move in your career.

If you’re interested in learning more about contract roles and want to find the right partner to discuss the possibilities further, Celarity would love to hear from you.  

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