The Contract Worker Experience

The Contract Worker Experience

Exploring the growing importance of creating a supportive work environment and the necessary steps for getting there

More and more people are choosing to become contingent workers, including contractors, freelancers, and independent contractors. According to recent studies1, the number of contingent workers continues to rise globally, with projections indicating further expansion in the coming years.

Many are drawn by the flexibility and autonomy offered by non-traditional employment arrangements, while others feel let down by the FTE experience from mass layoffs, poor management, or leadership structures that underserve their employees.

Nevertheless, as the contingent workforce continues to grow, so too does the importance of prioritizing their experience throughout the lifecycle of their work engagement to ensure they feel valued, involved, and supported in their roles.

Why It Matters

Contingent workers support all manner of organizations, recruiting firms, MSP and VMS providers, and all other providers involved in services contingent workforce programs. They provide valuable skills, expertise, and flexibility for businesses. As the contingent workforce grows, it becomes increasingly important to prioritize the experience of these workers in all aspects of non-employee programs.

The skills and expertise they bring can be in high-demand and hard to find. Niche skill sets are a key focus of the contingent workforce. When companies can’t find the full-time talent for jobs, the first place they’ll go is to look for a contingent worker. This criticality of their demand drives home the emphasis on why companies (both client-side and providers) need to make sure that these workers feel valued, engaged, and supported. These factors all contribute to maintaining high levels of productivity, satisfaction, and retention for the contingent workers and what they bring.

Organizations that prioritize the contingent worker experience are viewed more favorably by prospective talent and stakeholders. A positive reputation as an employer of choice attracts top contingent talent and enhances brand loyalty among customers and partners. This is more common in direct sourcing strategies but becoming increasingly important for other types of contingent workforce engagements.

Key Areas of Improvement

By providing a positive contingent worker experience, organizations can enhance customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention, while also protecting their external brand and reputation. The following are some key areas where putting in a little extra effort can make a big difference.


Once an offer is accepted, the subsequent process needs to be seamless. All details and expectations should be communicated clearly, and the worker should have an easy channel to contact someone if they have any questions. Once onboarded, providing a comprehensive onboarding beyond the initial details shared during recruitment ensures that contingent workers fully understand their roles, responsibilities, and expectations from the outset now that the assignment will begin. Details like how to enter time, where to go, whom to ask for, and policies should be made available and clear to the worker.

Supportive Work Environment and Culture

Both clients and providers can create a supportive and inclusive work environment that promotes collaboration, creativity, and worker well-being. Organizations should strive to cultivate a culture of respect, transparency, and open communication, regardless of employment status. Leveraging contingent workforce policies can help draw lines as needed for avoiding mistreatment of workers.

Competitive Compensation and Benefits

All workers, regardless of the classification, want to be paid well. So, offering competitive compensation packages and access to benefits such as healthcare, retirement plans, and paid time off demonstrates organizational commitment to the well-being of contingent workers and helps attract top talent. Being able to match a client’s benefits as much as possible can be a differentiator for many staffing providers and create a more equitable environment.

Feedback and Redeployment

Once assignments are ending, it’s a great feeling for a worker to receive feedback, as much as possible, so they know how to improve in the future. Finding out where skills can be improved gives the employer opportunities to help their worker. From there, having a next assignment lined up as soon as possible will ensure the worker feels commitment from their employer. These types of activities promote the worker not just as another tool for gaining markup, but as a mutual investment.

The feedback goes both ways, too. During and after assignments, it’s a good idea to gauge the workers on:

  • Their experience of the engagement and onboarding process
  • How they feel about their assignment
  • Feedback on benefits and pay
  • Understanding where they think the employer or the company for whom they are performing the work can be improved

Net Promoter Scores (NPS) from surveys and direct feedback can help inform changes and promote strengths and weaknesses on both sides. This feedback should be incorporated into future updates within technology, process, and even policy.


As the use of contingent workers grows, prioritizing their experience becomes essential for organizational success. By ensuring clear communication, seamless onboarding, integration into the workforce, supportive environments, and competitive compensation, organizations can attract top talent, enhance brand loyalty, foster engagement, and expect better productivity.

HireArt is the only complete platform that gives companies all of the tools they need to manage their own contract workforces. We embed global employer of record (EOR), on-demand sourcing, vendor management, and freelancer compliance into a single, unified contract workforce platform.

1. Staffing Industry Analysts, CWS 3.0, “The road ahead: Be prepared with SIA’s forecast”

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