By AJ Forsythe, Founder and CEO of iCracked
1. Set up a mutually beneficial system:
Don’t take a commission from the work of your independent contractors as it creates friction between the two parties. It’s vital to put faith and trust into staff and to make sure that their hard work is compensated with the full value of the work they complete. It will boost the satisfaction and reliability of your contactors which will benefit your brand.
2. Give them a direct line to resources and employees at HQ:
Your independent contractors are the ones who are the true brand ambassadors and have the most interaction with customers, so take advantage of this. When recruiting new staff, make sure they feel supported: provide them with marketing courses, business cards, marketing collateral and design work on top of the official training and tools.
3. Focus on community building:
Competition will exist when you have a network of technicians who are skilled at the same trade and overlap in some of their local areas. Many companies in the sharing economy face this issue and do nothing about it. Use social networks like Yammer as well as hosting face to face meet-ups for employees that enable them to engage with each other. This will encourage them to pool their knowledge and learn from each other. In addition, host yearly summits that bring all employees together for a weekend of knowledge sharing and community building.
4. Keep open lines of communication:
Establish dedicated regional managers that networks of independent contractors can report back to. Encourage feedback from all employees and funnel it back to the relevant departments. Don't just listen to feedback, take action and make things right.
5. Empower your network:
Your network of contractors relies on your corporate staff for certain resources, but empower them to go out and truly market themselves as small business owners. In the long run it’s beneficial to your brand if your contractors are seen as personally skilled technicians in their own right, rather than being seen as just an extension of your business.