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Contracts are the Foundation of Productivity

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Employee productivity is always a hot topic. But is there a relationship between employee productivity and their status as a contractor?

That’s the topic our own Robby Slaughter covered in a guest post for MaverickPR. The piece was titled “Are Contract Employees More Productive?” From the article:

Why on earth would millions of people who have limited job security want to keep it that way? Author Michelle Goodman explains:

Ask a contract worker what they like most about their lack of employee status and among their top reasons you’ll likely hear include “It gives me more control over my schedule,” “I have more time to travel/raise my kids/work on launching my own business” or “My work/life balance is through the roof.”

On the one hand, contractors and employees couldn’t be more different. They are classified differently under tax laws. Contractors are typically exempt from benefits, and employees typically have a higher status in the organization. Contractors tend to get called in to work on a particular project until it’s done, but employees are hired on a permanent basis.

On the other hand, every job is a contract job. When you’re a full time employee, you work under an employment contract. This might be an implied contract or a written job description. It might be a verbal understanding that gets reiterated in periodic reviews. In the case of a sales role, your work contract might be your commission structure. In essence, the contract is: work and you get paid, don’t work and you need to get out.

business consultants talk contractors versus employees

© Flickr user Paul Stevenson

We’ve covered similar topics before here at AccelaWork. As we’ve noted, the most importance connection is between employee productivity and freedom. In this sense, traditional employees might be lagging slightly behind. As Slaughter concludes:

In summary, we can’t say conclusively that contractors are more productive than salaried employees. But we can say that contracts themselves—written descriptions of work, expectations and compensations—are the foundation of productivity.

Talk to your accountant about how to pay people to help you do work. But no matter what the tax code says, develop clear expectations and provide employees with autonomy. The secret to maximizing employee productivity is often getting out of the way. Whether your team members are part-time, full-time or provided through an employment agency, the best management technique is to ensure you are not micromanaging.

This should be common sense. Think of the ways you’ve thrived in the workplace. Haven’t you had some sense of ownership to your work? Haven’t you had some say in how your job functions? The answer to both of those questions is almost certainly yes. Unfortunately, too many managers forget those facts and instead try to control every aspect of their employees without getting any input that would likely prove to be very valuable.

If you truly feel like you can’t trust your employees to have freedom with their work, then maybe you need to re-evaluate the workflow that is in place or the people you’ve hired. If both of those things are at an exceptional level, then there should be no reason why trust can’t be at the forefront of every working relationship. Define what needs to be done and let your employees go out and do it.

Work collaboratively to define a contract for the results you need. Then let people find their way and shine on their own.

Looking for more ways to bring a higher level of productivity to your organization? Need clarification on anything we’ve discussed in this post? Don’t hesitate to reach out to the business improvement consultants at AccelaWork today! We’d love to help!

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