How to Work Efficiently with UX Contractors

Working with UX contractors is different from managing full-time staff. Contractors operate differently for a reason. Most prefer the freedom provided by a freelance or contract arrangement. Many contractors also seek out a greater breadth of experience rather than staying put in a specific organization. Variety is the spice of life for many.

Often, managers struggle with effectively working with contractors within a team. It can be difficult to reach the perfect balance between communicating details, sharing information, and defining work expectations clearly without micromanaging.

This guide provides tips for managing contractors by providing clear job expectations and the necessary information to set the stage for mutual success.

Key Takeaways

  • What are the keys to effectively managing contractors?
  • Why is communication important?
  • Find out why micromanaging contractors is counterproductive.
  • Discover how to get the most out of contractors and keep projects on track.

What are the keys to effectively managing contractors?

Effectively managing contractors is a valuable skill. The need to treat team members equally regardless of their status in the organization is critical. Creating a positive, supportive work environment allows both the manager and the contractor to benefit from the working relationship. Many managers make the mistake of treating contractors as lesser team members or isolating them to gain an illusion of control. Instead, let’s review a few keys for effectively managing contract employees.

The keys to effective contractor management include:

  • Set expected, regular business hours. Make sure contractors understand the core hours they need to be available and working.
  • Develop an official, signed SOW (statement of work) that clearly defines the work the contractor is performing, including specific details.
  • Set clear job expectations and goals.
  • Introduce them to key contacts within the organization they need to work with or reach out to for answers.
  • Provide feedback frequently until you are satisfied that the job expectations are understood.
  • Develop a rapport with contractors. Treating them as equal members of a team motivates contractors to perform higher-quality work.

Why is communication important?

Communication is key to successfully managing contractors. Communication defines job expectations clearly and enables contractors to succeed. After all, if you don’t supply the necessary information, the work will not get done to your satisfaction. Keep the project on track using clear, consistent communication.

Communicate rather than micromanage. Resist the temptation to hover over every work detail that a contractor performs. Trust them to perform their work professionally—this is why you hired them. No employee likes to be micromanaged. It’s both demeaning and wastes time. Skip the micromanagement and allow contractors to be productive by performing the work you hired them to do.

As with all employees, keep the lines of communication open. Enabling effective communication means contractors feel comfortable coming to you with questions or concerns. Additionally, open communication ensures the work gets done as expected and the team functions more productively as a unit.

Managing contractors and mixed teams of regular employees is a special skill. The key to building productive teams include treating members equally and communicating openly to enhance productivity. Remember to develop a rapport with your contractors. Working cohesively goes a long way in building trust between team members and paving the way for greater innovation and collaboration.