Contract workers are an important part of a growing, busy team in healthcare as much as any other organization. These employees, whether brought in on a temporary basis to help cover leave or as a longer-term solution without adding permanent employees to your payroll, help ease the pressure on your existing team while bringing their talent, expertise, and abilities in a time of need.
But the trick is these employees are not part of your organization, not wholly. As a result, there are some dos and don’ts when managing them and ways to make them feel welcome and appreciated.
Here are a few tips on successfully managing and building great relationships with your contract workers.
Make them feel welcome.
Contract workers provide a tremendous amount of help to your team. Think back to the early days of the pandemic, when our nurses, doctors, and medical staff on the frontlines were working around the clock for days, with no relief in sight. Contract workers provided much-needed assistance, coming in to cover shifts while your full-time team went home and rested their weary, scared bodies. Contract workers might not be permanent additions to your team, but they deserve to be welcomed with open arms and great appreciation for the help.
View this relationship as a partnership.
These employees come into healthcare organizations for a specific purpose or for a particular time. To do their best work and be most effective, they need to be trusted and treated like one of your other employees: with the same respect and responsibilities as your full-time staff. Partnerships work best when everyone is trusted to do their jobs, without being micromanaged or watched more closely than others. Do right by them, and they’ll do right by you.
Let their agency know how they’re doing.
Feedback is critical to every working relationship as contract workers come in through an employment agency — like AMEA Healthcare! — It’s important to let your partner at the staffing agency know how their representatives are doing. Let the agency know if you have exceptional contract employees who are going above and beyond, doing far more than asked, and working really hard to be as helpful as possible. They might be eligible for prizes or special recognition for their dedication. This can also lead to a potential longer-term placement or an employee’s return, should you need their help again. It also might help you to have a list of names to call, should a permanent position open up. Contract employees who know they’re getting positive feedback will keep doing the excellent work they’ve been doing to keep your company happy. (If the employee isn’t keeping up their end of the bargain or might need a new placement, speaking with the agency that assigned them also allows you to handle the discipline indirectly, eliminating a problem quickly and effectively.)
Bring everyone into the project together.
Part of treating contract workers as team members, and encouraging everyone to work together seamlessly, is to bring everyone together and talk about what’s going on. If you’re bringing in contract workers to help alleviate the strain of a long-term absence or other need, have your whole team get together and identify what’s going on, who’s going to be doing what kind of work, and the chain of command for nursing or other medical management and leadership. Make it clear who everyone reports to and where complaints or concerns can be addressed. If everyone’s on the same page from the start, your patients and clients will benefit from a streamlined, universal understanding of expectations.
Keep everyone safe.
Medical offices, hospitals, clinics and other environments can be filled with little hazards, expected and unexpected. For your contract workers, ensure they know where first aid kits, supplies, and medications are kept so they know where to go and how to respond in an emergency. Ensure they know where the sharps disposal bins are located and where to get plenty of fresh disposable gloves at the beginning of every shift. Keep them in clean masks and any other PPE they might need or want to protect their patients and themselves. Your full-time team will – or should – already know most of this, but a refresher course for new people might not be a bad idea for the whole team. Also, be sure to give them a complete list of all safety precautions, including what kind of footwear is required in your healthcare office, as soon as they are assigned so they can be prepared on day one.
Managing a contract employee in your medical office means making them feel at home, welcomed, and appreciated. They should not be treated much differently than your permanent employees but should be shown the same respect and autonomy and given the same support, with the understanding they’re here to help you and your team out in a pinch.
Looking for more advice?
If you need to bring in some extra help to cover shifts, call AMEA Healthcare. Our recruiters can help you find the specialists and generalists you need to keep your operation running smoothly. Give us a call – let’s get to work!