Contract employees: A potentially valuable source of ideas

A recent Good Morning Thinkers e-newsletter reminds us that contract employees often have excellent ideas and perspectives that we can benefit from, if only we're open to them.

As the global economy begins to raise its sleepy head, some companies have discovered that they have enough business and cash flow to justify hiring contractors to keep projects moving, but not quite enough to hire full-time people.

A recent Good Morning Thinkers e-newsletter reminds us that these “outsiders” have ideas and perspectives that we can benefit from, if only we’re open to them. Rather than just using their hands and heads to get work done, why not engage their minds as well? Ask them how they would improve what you do. You may be surprised at their answers.

In my full-time job as marketing manager for a small safety training products company, I’m seeing this phenomenon at work right now. We have two people working for us on a contract basis, helping to design and produce several major training programs for our clients. These are both incredibly smart people, who have much to contribute to our firm.

One is a videographer and producer who we’ve worked with for many years; he knows just what we need and is a joy to work with.

The other person is someone we may hire full-time in the near future, but we’ve just given her a project where she can prove herself. Our executive team is very impressed with her excellent skillset and savvy, can-do attitude. We have no doubt that she’ll deliver an excellent product and may even teach us a thing or two in the process.

How are you utilizing your contract employees? Be sure to learn what you can about best practices they have seen and used, and any ideas they may have to improve your existing processes and procedures.

There’s nothing like an outsider who can look at all that you do with fresh eyes and reveal that which was previously hidden to you – because you’re simply too close to the proverbial forest to see the trees. They’re not. They’ve got a whole different perspective on your industry, competitors and your firm. Learn what you can!