Do Contingent Workers Feel Part of Your Culture?


Debra Timmerman

Vice President, MSP Solutions, Direct Sourcing, Career Transitions and Executive Coaching

I was catching up with a senior leader in a financial institution recently, and we had an exciting conversation about how they wanted to ensure contingent workers felt part of their culture – building a genuine connection to their brand and values. I’m not sure this is a conversation I would have been having even a few years ago, and it feels great to hear that leaders are putting contingent workers’ needs and experiences in the spotlight. But despite this, contingent workers often face barriers to forming genuine connections with organizations. In my last blog, I took a closer look at the ways organizations can build a winning contingent talent experience. This time, I want to look at ways to ensure culture expands beyond the permanent workforce.

According to a study by CXC, 77% of executives believe freelance and gig workers will substantially replace full-time employees by 2025. This means that making contingent workers feel like part of an organizational community has never been more important.

Expanding Culture Beyond Physical Locations

Many workers, both perm and contingent, have had remote or largely remote experiences for more than a year. They may have started an assignment or role without ever visiting a physical location. For contingent workers, this adds an extra layer of distance between their experience and an organization’s culture and values. For remote and hybrid roles, companies must now consciously consider how they build cultural connections and transmit their philosophies and values from a distance. This could be as simple as ensuring that contingent workers are included in company-wide updates and events – even if this is through a different mechanism to internal staff – or inviting them to regular team meetings and town halls.

Navigating Co-Employment Risk

Organizations are (understandably) worried about co-employment risk. Some look to prevent this risk by ensuring that contingent workers operate in a separate space from their permanent employees – ostracizing them from every part of company life. I’ve even seen contingent workers barred from attending a birthday celebration in a communal lunchroom! This is an extreme example, but this conscious separation can exclude contingent workers from company culture. There are ways to reduce co-employment risk, and a strong contingent solution provider can help companies navigate this complex tightrope. Our KellyOCG team provides expert consultation and guidance to our client partners and facilitates brand-driven communications to contingent workers. But it’s important to infuse culture into every part of the engagement and talent management process. From positive interview and onboarding experiences to building inclusive processes, by welcoming contingent workers inside company culture, businesses can build a vocal community of brand ambassadors.

Keeping Communication Lines Open

Starting an assignment for a company and then being left out of all company communications and announcements can feel like being left in the dark. To build brand insight and cultural familiarity, organizations must find ways to communicate meaningfully with their contingent workforce. This may look different than their communication channels with their full-time workforce and may include support from a Managed Service Provider (MSP) or contingent supplier, but it should still embody the values and ethos of the organization. A healthy dialogue can help contingent workers feel valued and drive positive feedback and repeat assignments.

The market for contingent talent continues to be very tight, while people are more focused than ever before on working with companies that align with their values and lifestyle. By operating in a way that makes contingent workers feel like outsiders, organizations run the risk of losing access to the best talent in the marketplace. This is being exacerbated as geographical barriers to work are eliminated and workers have more choice about how they work and who they work with. Becoming a brand of choice and building a positive cultural experience for contingent talent can help organizations stand out in a competitive marketplace and retain great talent for longer.

Want to talk about your temporary talent challenges or expanding your culture to include contingent workers? Get in touch to share your experience or find out more about our contingent talent solutions.


Ready to connect with an expert?

Keeping up with the new world of work means adopting creative business strategies, and connecting with the talent who will make a real difference in your field. Lucky for you, it’s what we specialize in.

Contact us at 800.Kelly.01 and one of our agents will administer your request. Or, if you’d prefer, fill out the form to submit an email.