How To Keep Contractors Engaged

If your workforce is made up for contractors, how do you keep them engaged and keep them on board? They’re more flexible in how they work, and they’re hugely valuable, so it’s important that you don’t lose touch with them. When you’re able to keep contractors engaged, energised and interested, your key assets are ready for activation.

The lesson you learn from building a great contractor list is that you have to take care of contractors before they get too bored and go elsewhere. Your people are constantly talking to other contractors about what they’ll be working on next. They’re in demand, and they’re already on the look for the next big project.

We’ve been talking to companies that have used Flare in the past to get some insights into how they keep their contractors engaged in the long term – here are some of our key insights!

The major key:Perks and Benefits

The most important engagement tool is your employee perks and benefits program. You have to make sure you’re offering something unique and valuable that can help you to build an extra bridge between you and your contractors.

You can also consider how your employee perks contribute to making sure that you’re not losing contractors to competition. Money isn’t always the answer to everything, and where you can provide better alternatives than just a pay check, you’re far more attractive as a hirer. If you’re losing contractors to competitors and you’re looking for a way to preserve your workforce, it might be better to consider taking advantage of these advantages and create “special deals” for employees.

What are the perks that employers pay their employees to make them happy? If you’re thinking about expanding your business, you should consider taking advantage of employee perks like gift cards, free gym membership, and free coffee.

One of the most popular companies that offers contractor perks is Amazon. In 2016, the company increased the amount of perks of its employees through a promotion for employees participating in a new employee-led initiative called “Prime.” Amazon says it aims to reduce attrition by creating a unique mix of memberships that focus on employee culture.

Amazon perks vary with location, but can range from free meals and gifts to free travel. It’s a game changer for their contractors. Many labour hire companies here in Australia do use Flare’s benefits platform to activate and engage their contractors – you can find out more here:

2. Make them a part of the project

This can be one of the most difficult and most important mistakes you could make in building a great contractor workforce. You’re almost always talking to your customers about how you are a great company making something cool. They trust your word, they are confident in what you do, and they’re ready to back you.

But how often do you make that sell to your contractors in a way that makes them feel like they’re a part of the mission and a part of the journey? There’s something to be said for a shared purpose, and it can make a difference even when you’re collaborating with flexible staff. Contractors still want to be a part of something bigger, and contribute to work that they’re proud of, and you can make that happen.

3. Maintain a training program

Some organisations keep up a happy relationship with their contractors by having a regular, ongoing training program that helps the contractors stay qualified and allows the company to keep up a healthy relationship.

Having a training program like this online, onsite or at a location where you’re a good fit for your workforce can go a long way. You’ll be amazed at how much more effective your contractor engagement is when you’re offering value like that. Keep in mind that your entire workforce is a partner with you in your training program – you both get the rewards!

Getting The Best Out Of Your HR Tech (In 3 Ways…)

Your HR software platform can be a crucial component for your organisation to become successful in a changing work environment. It is honestly critical you have a comprehensive understanding of the software you choose to use to manage your employees and ensure you are appropriately addressing their needs.

Excelling at your role today means getting the right tech and using it properly in order to reach your full potential. We wanted to highlight several key issues to get you started, and show how important it is.

Rely on feedback

Feedback from your company’s customers and your staff is something companies know they’ve got to seek out and take seriously. But how many people really put that into practice?

For HR software, having a diverse pool of users means, not only can you try out and test new applications based on your unique needs and goals, but you can help the rest of your people (and all employees, if the product, service or service offerings are well executed).

It is important to note that your staff do not just use an HR product, service or service offering, they actually seek out those tools and use them on a daily basis because they want their working lives to be more efficient. When they’re not happy with software, or they want changes, they’ll give that feedback, and if you take it on board, it can only help you succeed!

Choose the software that actually meets your HR needs

If you are in the market for a piece of HR tech it is very important to consider what your business needs are right now and balance it with what you’re going to need tomorrow.

Do you need to find software that will solve one smaller problem, or do you need software and support for people across your business who simply might have a range of changing needs and roles and responsibilities? Is it more important to have specialised software, or to have an HR tool that’s easy to scale and grow with? Do you want more functionality now, or the ability to add it on later?

One of the key points to remember, when looking out for your users, is that if you use the same software for everyone on the staff, it’s got to be able to serve them up a good, supported, streamlined experience.

Make sure it’s impacting the real world

From the largest technology companies on the planet to the world’s biggest workforces, spanning spanning every single industry, from corporations to small businesses, one thing matters. If you’re buying tools that make you feel warm and fuzzy but don’t move the needle in a measurable way, you’re wasting your time and resources.

It’s important to make sure that the HR software that you choose works as it should, and will help you achieve better results with your employees. As such, you want to make sure you are planning for and leveraging a wide range of analytics and reporting on your HR platform and what you’re doing with it.

The following are some of the most important things you can do to ensure your HR software provides its maximum possible benefit to your employer, and that your IT departments and employees are properly empowered for the future benefits of HR and your organisation.

There are two aspects of creating and managing your HR software that should be very important to keep in mind. One of these, is ensuring that the software properly handles your HR needs and the second is making sure that you can track time saved, resources saved, how satisfied your people are, and how much actual contact you can have with employees through it.

By now you’ve probably realised that you have a few HR software projects ready to be started. The process of setting up an HR software platform never has to be difficult and sometimes even more difficult to avoid it.

If you can set aside some resources to navigate the HR tech landscape, make a decision that is based on who your company is and your particular software needs, you’ll have the chance to get the most out of your software, your people – and your own role!

Why Benefits Need To Be Personalised

Personalised workplace benefits and a workplace culture that is designed for your people can create an environment which encourages employees to succeed.

Every company strives to achieve higher retention rates, provide training, and encourage employees to develop new interests. Most companies are also looking for new ways of meeting their commitments to promote diversity across the organization, and to improve the company’s climate and culture.

One of the solutions is to use the best available technology to promote compliance and promote fairness across the environment. The company’s management has to establish and implemented a number of programs to ensure that their HR tools keep them in compliance with all relevant laws and regulations and work with staff to develop policies, guidelines, procedures, and training.

But a key part of that has to address personalisation. It’s just the truth that there is no one size fits all in the workplace! Every single person has different needs and requirements and ways of interacting, engaging and working. If you expect everyone to respond to the same stuff, every single time, you’re never going to serve anyone well.

You’ll see this most effectively in the benefits world…

Benefits are so important for employees to feel included and engaged but they aren’t going to meet that need if they feel exclusive or they’re not tailored to real people. Benefits can make people feel at home, they can make them feel valued and they can make them feel understood. None of that matters if they’re the wrong kind because they have nothing to do with where and who your employees are.

Not everyone can use a free a movie ticket.

Not everyone drives a car.

Some people need childcare subsidies.

Some people have debt and need support.

If you approach everyone in the same way, and try to give everyone these benefits and expect that they’ll appreciate or use them, best case scenario is that you don’t include everyone. Worst case scenario is that you actively exclude people, while still expecting that they’ll appreciate their new benefits. That won’t work.

But imagine a world in which you can ensure that every single employee gets the right benefits for them. That’s a world with a benefits offering that supports and understands people. And it’s one that we think is going to come around sooner rather than later.

The range of benefits people really need can cover financial benefits, perks, education, discounts and more, and when you know who needs what, you’ll be better able to provide for every single person. The flow on effects are going to raise your employees by so much, and can only turn your engagement into a massive positive force inside your company.

You can start by understanding who your people are and what they need!

One of the reasons we believe onboarding is so important is that it allows you to capture the right information about your staff as soon as they start their jobs. You can see who you’re hiring and you can ask them important questions that you can use to shape the way you work with and help them.

At Flare, we even go so far as to ask people their favourite pastry choice so we can have it waiting for them on day one. That’s a tiny, tiny benefit that costs almost nothing and takes a few extra minutes of work, but it changes how our staff feel because it is incredibly personalised.

There are so many more ways you can achieve this, and it does depend on who you are and who your people are.

After all, everyone wants to feel understood…right?

3 Key Boosts For Employees Who Just Don’t Care…

Working on HR software on a day to day basis has taught us how to communicate both to customers and employees. We are passionate about making every person who uses our software happy both personally and professionally, and we are committed to keeping a positive image and attitude for our team.

Our hope is to provide a great customer experience. We have a goal of increasing our annual sales, and that is a goal that we’re confident we can achieve. But we know that we can’t do that if we don’t boost the engagement of our own employees, so that you can boost the engagement of yours.

Here are the huge opportunities we see for employee engagement, across industries:

1. Work life balance

This is something people roll out every time they talk about HR. But what does it really mean? For us, it means giving people the chance to enjoy the lives they work to afford.

Employees often find themselves frustrated with work-life balance, which leads to higher stress and less productivity. As employers, we can help employees improve their work-life balance by setting and maintaining a clear, consistent, and fair work-Life Schedule that is compatible with their personal lives.

And yes. That does mean that we take it seriously when folks bring work home. We take it seriously when people are struggling in their personal lives and try to balance it out in the workplace.

The truth is, nobody wants to have burned out staff, but if you can’t provide some level of balance, that is exactly what you’re going to get.

2. Encourage your team to actually talk!

Communicate constantly. Your work life is a highly social environment and you can’t get comfortable if you are not present and always ready for talk. Workplace-based, peer-to-peer, online, voice-guided, and team-based systems are going to help you keep up with the other people in your sphere.

But you have to encourage your colleagues to interact with one another more directly. In a social work setting, you will be able to connect directly with your teams by sharing information, sharing tools and discussing problems or challenges. You also can create a working environment where folks feel like they’re more of a part of the team, and can focus more freely on their health.

Learn to communicate and manage tasks in a more flexible, personal and professional manner. Learn to share and open up. It will help your engagement.

3. Benefits. Benefits. Benefits!

A good place to start if you are considering building a work environment in which people actually want to work (just imagine…). Pay may be limited, people can’t get a raise every single month, but employee perks should be commensurate with the potential and possibility of their role.

You may receive paid time off during your workweek. You can receive paid time off during any week of the year and on any day of the week. This is available to all full-time employees and employees who have already completed 10 or more years on the business. It doesn’t count as a benefit.

You have to go beyond that pay and get into the things that really make a difference to employee happiness and make them care. Some of the most popular examples of these are pay increases on short work weeks, paid leave without pay, vacation, retirement (superannuation) options and employee debt plans, perks and giveaways and discounts and so on.

How to sell human resources tools to a skeptic

With the exception of a few companies, it takes a lot of time and effort to make a real business case for buying HR software. We see it so often – there’s never a hesitation to spend on more marketing tools, there’s never a hesitation to buy a Salesforce licence, but people pause when there’s an HR line item. That’s why we want to start giving you all the tips here to help you sell your company’s HR needs to the leadership teams.

There are a few tools that can help managers evaluate the health and health of staff. In the case of the employees themselves, they can do more than just look at their salary. Many managers also have a more in-depth look into the physical health of their team members, the level of discipline in their organisations, and other measures of success.

Bridging the gap between human resources and finance by integrating technology and data and human capital management across all areas of human resources and finance, at the global level, this will help us to better connect human capital, finance, technology and management so that they can help to create the optimal level levels of employment in our sectors.

Management need to care about people first.

Do the managers or CEO understand the importance of their people?

It’s really crucial that the chief or chief operating officer in charge of HR in a company wants or needs their human resources professionals to be spending more time with the actual people they’re helping, resourcing and managing. If management can see how hugely important is for you to be hands-on with the staff, you’ll be able to prove an ROI.

That includes HR team leaders; VP; VP of Personnel; CFO; VP/CPO; and so on. You have to show them the value of your personal time, and the value of saving it.

The important thing to say here is that you’re interested in being more available to the staff. You should go in with an emphasis on solving and scaling individual human resource opportunities – including training and support of employees, managing employee resources, promoting employee learning and mentoring.

…But you also need to prove the savings in the long run.

The biggest areas we see an impact from good, solid, scalable HR software? Employee retention and efficiency.

The employee attrition rate in a company, the percentage of employees who leave the business to take other positions, is not just a sign of the health of a company. It’s also a sign of their HR capabilities and efficiency. The more staff who are leaving, the worse we’re all doing at managing and supporting them.

When you’re stretched thin, you have less opportunities to have a positive impact, and that’s always going to flow on to your employee satisfaction. You can’t fix what you can’t see, and if you don’t have time to look up from your paperwork, there’ll b e a lot you can’t see.

Remember: good software cuts costs but you aren’t firing yourself!

In the last couple of years, we’ve seen a great deal of enthusiasm for building software to help businesses automate business processes. However, this enthusiasm isn’t enough. A human is required to perform tasks that require knowledge of the company’s business models and operations. If humans do not perform these tasks properly, it means that the software becomes ineffective.

There is a cost involved to adding a lot of technology to a system, and when the cost is greater than the technology, some of that technology could become a sunk cost.

There’s no danger in replacing yourself when you’re the human at the centre of this!

Meet The Staff Who Are About To Quit

When looking at employee retention trends, it’s critical to recognise that your HR department might not have any data on your employees. If they do, you might see the average retention rate for your company in the 40-60% range and you want to figure out if it’s more in the 60% range or the 40% range.

Keep in mind that it takes many, many rounds of layoffs or transfers to realize that these employees will leave your company – and if you can’t retain them, what incentive or reward are you going to give the ones who remain?

For example, if you hire a new recruiter but you only have 2 people from your past employees who are still employed, how can you expect to have any kind of success with your new hires?

I want you to meet the staff you already have – who are about to quit. 

They came in super engaged. They came in with a million ideas. They came in with an absolute fire to achieve, and to play a part in your company’s future.

And now they’re tired. And they’re frustrated. They roll their eyes at new initiatives, and their defining quote is, “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

They’re good at their jobs, but they don’t care enough to be great.

They’re worn down, they’re worn out and they’re wearing out their welcome.

It’s not their fault. It’s not your fault. But it’s the result of a disengaged workforce who either haven’t been given the opportunity to be directly and positively engaged and fulfilled, or they haven’t been given the means.

If the company can’t offer a decent package of benefits to its employees, then the staff aren’t going to be pleased. And if a company can’t find a way to give employees the right information and make interacting with their managers and with the organisation easy, people are going to feel like they aren’t and cannot be heard.

The thing is, we always imagine the staff that are going to churn are the squeaky wheels. 

But that’s not necessarily the case. The staff who are the noisiest are sometimes the ones who are the most secure, and the most comfortable, and the most likely to stick around. That’s why they’re the ones making the noise in the first place!

The staff who you don’t hear from, the staff who are quietly becoming more and more unhappy, are the ones who are actually in danger of throwing in the towel. And you might not even realise it until they’re long, long gone. 

It’s not about waiting for these people to be frustrated enough to bail, and then trying to move the needle on a bunch of initiatives to stop the churn. That’s not going to be proactive, and you’ll lose good people along the way. The right time to be thinking about ways to make these quietly unhappy staff more comfortable is right now, before any of them pull the plug. 

So what can you do?

  •  There’s no way you’ll regret having open and honest conversations with your staff, on a regular basis, to get a sense check of where they’re at. Up to a certain size of business, this works wonders. At Flare, our co-founders conduct regular one on one sessions with the staff just to keep their fingers on the pulse and maintain contact with the team!
  • If you’re a business with thousands of employees, that’s not going to be as possible. Nobody can speak to that many folks, even if just conducting one on one sessions was their full time job. That’s where having more scalable options and programs comes in…
  • We’re always going to be huge advocates of a good benefits platform and an amazing onboarding experience as the answer to questions of scale. For example, we encourage folks to use our onboarding system to re-onboard their current employees to get them back up to date with the company and give them a chance to be heard!
  • Benefits are such a key part here; the right benefits program can do so much to engage your staff and make them feel like they’re a part of something supportive, qualitative and caring. It can mean the world to your folks if they feel like what they do matters enough to you to care about offering benefits that impact them outside of the workforce too! 

Why An Amazing Culture Comes From Within – Not Just Above!

When I first started working out of college, I had a moment where I started to understand my job as being more than just a paycheck. As soon as I saw the idea of “culture” being developed in my organisation, I knew I had to be involved. I had my dream: I was going to create a culture that would be highly rewarding, exciting, and innovative.

I felt that my job was to help my company develop an ecosystem for our brand, our culture, and our team members to thrive and contribute. My mission was to make the team of “culture” understand and respect our values, to cultivate friendship for the team, and to make our company accessible; it would also enhance the team.

Over the next few years, in every job I’ve had, I have worked tirelessly, at times through many layers of layers, trying to get a good picture of culture in my organisation to better understand and apply lessons and ideas. I have had to understand the culture, to help people understand our culture, to make our culture more engaging, interactive, creative, and enjoyable, and, to support our culture through good communication, positive feedback, and by having fun.

I have been determined to create and share a culture without borders for all our people as a team.

Ultimately, I’m the one who has to work in this company. And if I just sit around and expect the founders to magic up some culture without my input, without my care and compassion and involvement and without my effort, that’s not going to be fair on them, fair on my co-workers or successful for me, personally.

And that’s what being a part of a growing company is all about: Taking an active part in the culture.

I don’t think company culture can come from just the activities your boss organises, or a mundane “casual friday” or a string of fancy sounding words. It comes from the individual people who are empowered enough to care about the culture and make it their own, whether that’s through organising, spending quality time, or just working with each other to reach for something better and bigger.

1. People need to have the ability to do this.

The one thing founders and business owners and managers have to do is actually give their staff the ability to be involved with the culture. Give them the opportunity to come up with parts of it and evolve it. You have to look at a company’s culture as a patchwork blanket, and allow new folks to sew themselves and their values and ideas into the fabric alongside yours. Do your people have the budget to organise company events? Do they have the freedom and flexibility to spend time on culture? Do they have resources? All of these are going to make a difference.

2. People need to *know* they have the ability to do it

It’s one thing to say that people in your company can impact the culture, can access your benefits, can be a positive and pro-active part of the organisation and can stand up and be counted. But do they know it? So many companies seem to wind up with benefits, culture and policies that people aren’t even aware of, that people can’t take advantage of because they’ve never even been told they exist.

If you can communicate to your folks that you walk the walk, and that they have the real and tangible chance to impact and shape the culture, that will allow them to be the change makers themselves. And you can’t just say it once; you have to be prepared to say it over and over again!

3. People need to know that you see the ROI

Your culture is not going to be healthy if your staff think that you don’t understand the win that an amazing culture actually represents. 

If your staff think that your ROI focus is on productivity alone, profitability alone, they won’t believe that you’re serious about creating an incredible culture, and so they won’t want to take part in it. The right people for the jobs you’re offering are people who care about the same goals as you, and where they sense that you don’t have a serious culture goal, they will follow your lead. What’s the ROI on a culture? It’s your staff’s health. Happiness. Dedication. Longevity. Positivity. Belief in the mission and vision.

Believe me, all of those things will flow into having a hugely positive impact on the bottom line, but you have to look at culture as being such a huge win even beyond that. That’s the real opportunity.

The one thing founders and business owners and managers have to do is actually give their staff the ability to be involved with the culture. Give them the opportunity to come up with parts of it and evolve it. You have to look at a company’s culture as a patchwork blanket, and allow new folks to sew themselves and their values and ideas into the fabric alongside yours.