As the skills gap intensifies, more and more enterprise organizations are looking at different ways to retain their increasingly valuable external workforce. Whether your contingent staff are procured directly, through talent platforms or through staffing suppliers, once you’ve found quality talent, you will want to keep them happy and returning for multiple assignments. Here are some ideas to keep them engaged.

Culture. Investing in a culture that makes any worker feel at home, even temporarily, can affect how you are perceived in the talent marketplace. So, be as inclusive as possible. Organizations often use the desire to mitigate co-employment risk as a reason to isolate their contingent workers from their staff employees, but courts look to a number of factors to determine co-employment status, and factors such as the level of control an employer exerts over a contingent worker carry more weight than whether the worker attends company meetings or lunches.

So, be sure your contingent workers are included in meetings and important company communications. And for those who work remotely, make sure there is a defined process or cadence to help them feel like part of the team. A sense of belonging will encourage the temporary workers you engage to stay or want to return for another assignment — and they will be more likely to refer others to you.

Onboarding and offboarding. Another way to positively impact your temporary workers is to ensure the onboarding process is comprehensive, job specific and updated on an ongoing basis. If the worker is engaged through a staffing firm, ensure the provider or managed service provider has a formal process to let new starts know about your company and all the details that will make their initial entry to your company easier. Equally important is how your temporary workers they feel when they leave. Do they feel valued and supported by your program or your staffing partner? Is there a formal process to get feedback upon exit, and is it shared with you as the end user to build upon and improve?

Compliance. Temporary employees working through staffing firms are entitled to many of the same legal protections that staff employees are, such as fair wages, overtime pay, and protection from harassment and wrongful termination. While suppliers are ultimately responsible for taking care of all legal obligations for their employees, your organization’s reputation may suffer should they fail to do so. So, take steps to ensure they are meeting their obligations.

Future commitment. Keep in mind some contingent workers may convert from temporary to full-time employees. “Temp to perm” is a great way to invest less time and money on a bad hire and gives everyone realistic expectations about the nature of the assignment. Hiring a temporary worker can be like dating before you get married — sometimes it’s just a date, and sometimes you want to see whether a longer-term commitment is in the cards. Whether your company is looking for short-term help or wants to “try before you buy,” be honest and transparent with the agency and the worker so you are more likely to retain them if they are a good fit.

The future of work does not look like a traditional 40-hour week, and non-traditional, hybrid and flexible work arrangements are more and more becoming the norm. Temporary work is an arrangement of choice for many talented workers. Be part of a talent community that is supportive, inclusive and fair to sustain your talent pipeline for the long term.