Research shows that people are happiest both personally and professionally when they feel that they’re understood, and communication is key to that understanding. Whether it’s in writing, over the phone or face-to-face, effective communication saves time and helps to maintain good relationships by avoiding misunderstandings. It’s crucial that contractors are able to express what they need from others, while also being receptive to feedback. In order to do this, contractors must maintain open lines of communication with various stakeholders, such as:
- Recruitment agencies: Contractors need to ensure that their recruitment agencies are kept up to date. This means regularly feeding back to the agency after assignments and informing them of any training that they’ve completed or opportunities they might be looking for. For example, a contractor might be willing to take a lower paying contract in order to gain experience in a certain area and develop particular skills. Keeping your recruitment consultant informed will help them to make the right recommendations for you and your career development.
- Clients: Whether the contractor communicates with the client directly or via their agency, it’s important that all the parties engage in open communication about their expectations and requirements. During negotiations, the contractor should feel able to reasonably request whatever they feel is necessary in order to complete the project, while also clarifying their rights of control over their working practice. Factors such as IR35 mean that open communication is now in everyone’s interest. When working on the project, it’s also important for the contractor to communicate with the client on a regular basis to ensure that the project stays on time and within budget.
- Colleagues: Although contractors are independent agents they must often work alongside different groups of people, frequently taking the lead on key decisions. You may be called upon to express your ideas, deliver presentations or brief your placement colleagues on strategy. This calls for flexible and intuitive communication that allows you to identify people’s key strengths and delegate tasks accordingly.
- Family and friends: Contracting can be stressful and can also mean periods of time spent away from home. Maintaining open lines of communication with your family and friends is particularly crucial if you’re feeling stressed or isolated. Talking things through with someone will help them to understand how they can support you and can lessen your feelings of stress, isolation and estrangement. Taking time to stay in contact with your support network while you’re working on contract can also help to keep any work-related issues in perspective.
For advice and guidance on all your contracting requirements you can speak with a member of our team on 0203 642 8679