Effective Management of On-Demand Professionals
One of the advantages of using On-Demand Professionals is that you don’t have to worry about conflicts, growth aspirations, politics, or any of the other drama that may occur between employees. On the other hand, when dealing with someone you really don’t know it can be difficult to understand how to motivate them and ensure you’re getting their best work. Here are some strategies for overcoming that challenge.
On-Demand Professionals are, by definition, not your employees. This is important to remember on many levels, all of which benefit you as a business owner. One of the most important (and of benefit to you) is that an On-Demand Professional is a business owner too. Most incorporate themselves and run their profession as a business. The role of business owner vs. employee can mean that your On-Demand Professional has clearer understanding of the impact and value that delivering a successful outcome provides to you, their customer. On the flip side, they are free to make their own independent decisions which may or may not align with your own company culture and objectives.
What Does an On-Demand Professional Value Most?
All On-Demand Professionals, as businesses unto themselves and as individuals, depend upon their reputation as a substantial component of their value proposition. When prospective new customers see great reviews about the On-Demand Professionals from past customers, and hear referrals from colleagues, the job of convincing a new customer to hire them becomes progressively easier. Once engaged, consistently delivering high quality work to their customers results in a desire to continue doing business with them; this stems from customer satisfaction not only with their work, but also in having someone with their professional reputation working for you.
Yes, they value compensation, and they value being treated respectfully, but they must protect their reputation no matter what.
How Does This Help Me Understand How to Manage Them Effectively?
Going back to the start of this post, they’re not employees. Depending on your management style, you may treat employees in any one of a number of ways, but there’s really only one appropriate way to treat an On-Demand Professional – – as a colleague.
From their perspective they are working with you, not for you. They respect your position and your role as a business owner or manager. As a professional, they anticipate and appreciate your treating them in kind. Respect their skills. Respect their professionalism. See them as equals. When you’re talking to them, you’re talking to a fellow business owner and manager.
At the most basic level, the legal difference between an independent contractor and an employee comes down to how much control a company has over an individual and their work. Independent contractors are small-business owners. Your company is one of their clients, not their employer.
You are not required, expected, or even desired to help them grow their personal and professional skills. If you determine that an On-Demand Professional you’re working with doesn’t have the professional demeanor or conduct you expect from someone dealing with your customers, terminate the engagement and find someone else. That’s one of the big values in engaging them. You can choose to change easily.
Manage the Engagement
Best management practices teach us to manage to the entire person. Their working life. Their personal life. Everything about them. It’s important they know you care. But this applies only to employees.
The On-Demand Professional doesn’t expect anything from you other than to provide them with the information they need to perform their contracted tasks in an exemplary fashion.
You’re best served to adopt the same posture. Be sure you’re giving them all the information and resources they will need to perform their contracted work. Focus on managing the processes involved in that work. Stay away from attempting to manage the person and simply stay focused on managing the on-time, in-budget completion of the appointed tasks.
This includes time management. Your concern is not with their arrival or departure times (unless that is part of your contract with them). Assuming your contract with them is tied to the final deliverable or objective they were hired for and not a specific time requirement, if the On-Demand Professional completes the appointed work for each contracted task, and if they fulfill all commitments they make to the customer, their clock time simply shouldn’t matter to you. You’re not paying for the time they’re not working for you, because they are on-demand. Ultimately, you’re only paying for the results they produce per your contract with them.
A Great Working Relationship
Being this pragmatic doesn’t mean you can’t foster and enjoy a friendly working relationship. In fact, since you’re working with a peer you should enjoy their camaraderie. As you work together more, you may find a friendship forming. Unlike the balance you must strike with employees, there’s no harm in becoming friends with external contractors. Just be sure you keep the two separate in your mind and actions. Your business requires that you both manage employees and oversee contractors to success and replace those who simply cannot be successful.
The best On-Demand Professionals will make their eyes and ears available to you, sharing information on potential future engagements they unearthed while working at your customer’s site. It’s usually best to reward this with repeat engagements.
The more you work with them, the more you find it liberating. You no longer need to be the micro-manager. You no longer need to sweat the details. You may continue to do so, until you become fully familiar and fully comfortable with a specific individual. But you will always know that you have someone working with your customer who has a deep personal investment in doing a great job to protect their own reputation, and yours.
Techadox can help connect you to the best On-Demand Professionals available in the industry. The best way to find more about Techadox is to get to know us. Talk to a Techadox expert today.
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