As we come out of the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic, many organizations around the world are experiencing challenges in getting the workforce to return to the building. The typical reasons for this include concerns about the safety of the environment, catching the disease and passing it on to others or the fact that unemployment benefits are just too good.

As the vaccination programs accelerate worldwide, it is likely that governments are going to have to provide legislation or guidance to organizations and workers in this dilemma of right to refuse a vaccine versus right to work — the situation is not going to get any easier.

In the meantime, here are a few ideas of what your organization could be doing to attract new contingent workers and encourage existing ones back into the building:

Retention bonus. Offer an end-of-assignment retention bonus. Offer an additional reward for completing each assignment. Clearly this needs to be attractive enough to stay on for but it mustn’t break the bank.

Increase rates. While this might not be your first choice, a simple analysis of the impact of either early attrition or not getting the work done at all, could make increasing pay rates a financially viable investment.

Optimize suppliers. Look to optimize your list of staffing partners so as to minimize their wasted effort by awarding opportunity to either a single entity or a limited number of organizations. Being one of five suppliers (and that’s actually a small list!), means that on average 80% of the partner’s efforts will be in vain. You don’t need to remove suppliers, just circulate your vacancies to a smaller group. Many of your suppliers would prefer to see only every third vacancy — but have a much higher chance of filling it — over receiving every job.

Verbal acknowledgment. Acknowledge light industrial workers physically/verbally. Make sure that your management teams across the organization take time to acknowledge everyone in the organization. No matter what they do, everyone plays an important part; after all, it took more than half a million people to send Apollo to the moon — it would not have got there without every single one of them.

Thank you notes. If there’s one thing that’s often valued more than money, it’s recognition. Formal and informal notes of recognition for a job well done will go a long way to achieving a highly motivated workforce.

Health and safety. Make this your No. 1 priority and make sure that your current and potential workforce know that you have their best interests at heart and are also protecting their loved ones. Go the extra mile by providing more than the statutory safety requirements.

Exit interviews. Don’t let any worker leave your business without completing a basic exit survey, which should include an Net Promoter Score question along the lines of “on a scale of one to 10, would you recommend working at [your company] as a contingent worker to a friend or colleague?” And then act on the results and it make your mission to improve your Net Promoter Score, thus in the medium to longer term creating raving fans of your contingent value proposition in the market.

Value. Focus on the business’ value. Thomas Robert Malthus once wrote, “It is better for society to pay people to dig holes and then fill them up again, than to have unemployment.” Regardless of your industry and the customers you serve, focus on the value that you provide to society in all that you do so your contingent workers feel that they are contributing to something worthwhile.

Transportation. Make it easy for your contingent workforce to get where they need to be … your building. If we look at light industrial, for example, the price of a bus fare every day can make a significant difference in choosing where to work. Do the math; could an investment in a transportation network, perhaps shared with others in your geographical location, make a real difference?

Low cost, high value. Always look first at initiatives and incentives that are of a much higher value to the worker and a cost to the organization. Just think of those “thank you” messages and notes of appreciation — they are free to give, yet so gratefully received.

Value proposition. Partner representation of your brand and its CW value proposition. Your partners are your voice to the market. Continue to invest time in helping them understand your culture and the numerous “non-commercial” reasons to work at your location and for your organization.

Career development. Offer training and career development/upskilling and certification. Be creative and offer soft- and hard-skill development so that your contingent workers can go on to bigger and better things in the future … maybe even within your own business.

Benefits. Quantify and qualify the benefits on offer. Package up the many benefits on offer to your contingent workers; document them in such a way that they convey the value they provide to the workers, their families and their overall lifestyle.

Diversity and inclusion. Last but not least, renew your drive to be doing the right thing when it comes to diversity and inclusion, and that you are not simply ticking the boxes. Generate a D&I culture and be known as an inclusive brand that welcomes everyone.