Your Contract Worker Onboarding Process in 6 Steps

30 October 2020

A successful contract worker onboarding process should make contractors feel like part of a team, understanding all the necessary details, especially the health and safety aspects of the specific job they are about to start. 

Planning and organizing an effective onboarding for contract workers is very straightforward. You can divide this process into six steps.  

Step 1: Consider the characteristics of the contractors you are bringing onboard. 

Different groups of workers will require specific forms of training. Some factors to consider including in your contract worker onboarding are: 

  • Location 
  • Language 
  • Risks/hazards of the job 
  • Role and tasks 

You can use a spreadsheet to list different workers, perhaps based on location, their own experience in work involved, and/or the likelihood of an accident occurring. These factors will determine the onboarding process you wish to follow with each group.  

Step 2: Map out all the information that you need to collect from each group in your contract worker onboarding.  

Depending on the work carried out, certain information may be more critical to obtain from your contractors. 

For example, you might need to collect: 

  • Personal details 
  • Emergency contact information 
  • Banking details (if you’re paying them directly) 
  • Social security/social insurance number 
  • Size (if you’re providing a uniform) 

Don’t forget to include up-to-date documentation such as ID, photograph, and qualifications. It would be best if you involved other departments in this analysis to avoid repeating the same job. 

Step 3: Plan the specific content for each group of workers to learn in your contract worker onboarding. 

Depending on the job carried out by your workers, different topics may be more important to focus on in your contract worker onboarding. Some which should always be covered, but sometimes to a different level of attention, are:  

  • Culture (vision, mission, customers, messages from management, etc.) 
  • Health & Safety (made specific to the role and location) 
  • Their expectations – prepare them for day 1 
  • Your expectations – what does success look like?
  • Community and environmental impact of their work 

Step 4: Decide on the best process for delivering orientation in contract worker onboarding.  

The different methods used to provide your contractors with up-to-date information are likely to be influenced by the topic covered. For example, training on high-risk heavy equipment may require face-to-face practical guidance. However, thanks to interactive technology, companies can now deliver different topics for training online very effectively.  

When delivering your message online, you may consider changing between different mediums to hold learner’s attention and improve information retention, e.g.: 

  • Video 
  • Text 
  • Audio 
  • Diagrams 
  • Images 
  • Test Questions 

Over time your relevant subject matter will likely change, so you should consider the skills required to create and adapt your orientation material. While you may be an expert in HR or Health & Safety, you may not have the skills in-house to create a video or illustration. Nowadays, however, you can easily manage and create the necessary material for this type of work using freelancing sites such as UpWork, Fiverr, and PeoplePerHour

Step 5: Communicate your contract worker onboarding with your contractors and agencies.

Whether you’re launching a new contractor onboarding process or updating your existing one, your relationship with contract companies is key. Even though a reliable onboarding process means happier, safer, and more productive workers, it is important to ensure that you and your subcontractors see ‘ change’ to a new approach as a collaborative initiative. It would help if you involved contractors and their agencies in your decision making while also using this opportunity to make sure their details are up to date on your systems.  

Step 6: Begin with a group of real users, gather their feedback and adjust the process accordingly.  

If you’re upgrading the orientation process, it’s a good idea to test this on a sample of real users before launching. Encourage them to be critical in their feedback regarding important topics such as content and delivery methods. Ask them if they felt any more comfortable starting on their first day, having already completed the orientation process. 

It’s essential to train temporary workers with the same level of health and safety protection as you do for your employees. Providers of temporary workers and employers using them need to cooperate and communicate clearly to ensure risks to those workers are managed effectively.

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Sonya Sikra

Sonya is the Brand Strategy Manager at GoContractor. She specializes in communicating how implementing tech in construction can drive productivity and profit.

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