The Secret to Motivating a Team of Contractors

Her Corner

Frederique Irwin

February 27, 2019

As companies scale, there is a period during which many of them hire contractors as the majority of their workforce. In an ideal scenario, as the company continues to grow, those contractors then convert to employees. But not all companies choose this route. In some cases, it makes sense to keep those people on as contractors. For example, if someone only works for you every few months, it may not make sense for that person to be an employee.

When a business owner finds herself managing a team of contractors, there is one question that I get again and again:

“HOW DO I INCENTIVIZE CONTRACTORS TO BE MORE ENGAGED IN MY BUSINESS?”

Basically, they’re asking if there are performance bonuses or structures that can be put in place to get the most out of someone who is not an employee.

It’s a tricky question because contractors are not employees, so incentive structures may not technically be allowed.

But the bigger issue is that this is the wrong approach! An incentive structure won’t work. Not in the long run, anyway.

Instead, here’s the most important thing to do to get your team of contractors to be more engaged and invested in your brand.

For some reason, business owners think that if they throw money at the problem, dangle carrots, or offer performance benefits, this will transform ordinary contractors into loyal, motivated, and engaged ones.

Think of that option as the easy button. But, while financial incentives are known to work, generally they won’t work over time.

In order to motivate, engage, and build loyalty you need to do one thing: communicate.

You as the business owner need to engage the team of contractors. Talk about your vision, your business, and how each of them plays a critical role. Make every single person feel like he or she is critically important to you. Show them they are valued.

The secret to successful engagement by contractors lies in how effectively you communicate with them, and how you treat them during that communication.