Independent contractors are generally highly skilled with wide-ranging experience, an acute sense of high-quality delivery and provide value for money. However, a few key steps can further increase the value from independent contractors;
- Define specific outcomes – In an ever-changing landscape and conflicting priorities, this is not as simple as it seems. Nonetheless, consider and define the specific outcomes you require and if possible, break them down into smaller deliverables. The more specific you are, the better.
- Define expectations – Outline your expectations in terms of quality and delivery timeframe. Do you need specialist skills? Or someone to fill in the gaps? Do you need independent insights or someone to follow the daily routine? How long should it take to deliver the outcomes (be specific)? Will you compromise on quality for a quick turnaround? Is cultural fit important to you? These will help you narrow the search for the right candidate.
- Define your budget differently – Consider your available budget as a whole for the delivery of defined outcomes and expectations. DO NOT break it down into a daily rate. We are often more focused on daily rates then required outcomes. Specialist skills are almost always more expensive, but you get more value for money. Candidates with higher skill level would generally deliver beyond expectations in terms of quality and delivery timeframe. In other words, a specialist candidate can deliver the expected outcomes at a higher daily rate but within a shorter timeframe.
- Create accountability for delivery – Create accountability of delivery by aligning payments with your deliverables and overall outcomes. If the sole purpose of engaging an independent contractor is delivery, which it should be, then payments should inevitably align with delivery.
- Choose the right candidate – Sounds obvious! yet could be tricky. It takes time to screen, interview and compare candidates. Furthermore, CVs are not necessarily a guarantee of delivery. This is where you differentiate between good and brilliant individuals. The above steps can help you choose the right candidate.
- Housekeeping – you have defined your deliverables, outlined your expectations and have chosen the right candidate. It is imperative that IT access, relevant introductions and any other actions on which delivery is dependent are ready before the independent contractor starts.
- Changing deliverables – if during an engagement, the agreed deliverables are changed due to national or local priorities, go through the above steps again and mutually agree a revised delivery framework.
It is important that the independent contractors are engaged for a defined and limited timeframe for the most impact and value for money.