That is the question we frequently hear from candidates. It’s not always obvious but, not all companies who provide contract work are the same. And just because you are doing contract work does not mean you need to lower you standards or expectations of your employer. In this post I hope to shed some light on what contract work is, as well as provide some points to consider when evaluating your prospective employer.
Many of the jobs at Allyis are contract-based. We have a client, who has a need for help, and we fulfill that need with a person or a team of people. This is a common practice and not new or unique to Allyis, but we often come across people who have never worked in this capacity before and want to understand if it’s for them.
To define what I mean by “contract work”, I am referring to work that has a specific term, working through a company such as Allyis, or an employment agency, for a client. A contract employee is employed by a company and assigned to a client company under terms specified by a contract between the employer and the client company. It’s worthwhile to note that I am not referring to Independent Contractors – who have business licenses, pay their own taxes, and do not receive any corporate benefits. Allyis employees are fully vested employees of Allyis, who (depending on the specifics of the contract) are usually eligible for corporate benefits, and Allyis pays taxes related to their employment through the payroll process.
What to Consider:
Length of assignment: At Allyis, the great majority of our contract positions are long-term (9 months to a year or more), with most assignments being renewed after the initial term, whereas some companies have many shorter-term (3 + months) roles they regularly recruit for. Knowing this up-front should be a big part of your decision.
Required breaks in service: Some client companies require a 100-day break after you have worked consecutively at that client location for a specific amount of time such as one year. These are typically temp agencies. Allyis does not have such limitations. For instance, we currently have many employees who have worked seamlessly from contract to contract, for several years with the same client. This type of employment experience cannot be achieved at many temp agencies.
Total compensation: To accurately compare opportunities, it’s important to understand what makes up your total compensation package, which extends beyond your base salary. Your total compensation is made up of your salary plus other benefits such as Paid Time Off, health care benefits, 401K matching, and additional benefits such as Profit Sharing and childcare reimbursement. Upon request, we provide candidates with a calculation of their total compensation to help with such comparisons.
Dedicated resources and support: What kinds of resources are available to you if you need help with your computer or software? Will you have a direct supervisor familiar with the work you are doing or will you be completely on your own with the client? How about HR support? Is there a robust employee intranet? Allyis has dedicated personnel to support our employees in all these areas as well as direct Allyis managers.
Benefits: What are your contributions for healthcare, including deductibles and premiums? What’s covered? Dental? Vision? What is the cost for dependent coverage? Will you get any Paid Time Off? Read about some of Allyis’ benefits here.
Employee development/advancement: If you are looking for a long-term relationship with an employer and the ability to advance your career, it’s important to ask specifically about career development and advancement. At Allyis we have a formal employee development program and set aside budget each year for tuition reimbursement, certification courses and exams, and other training programs relating to employees’ areas of expertise or client need. We work with employees to identify career advancement opportunities within the various divisions of the company, depending on their career aspirations and map out a plan that will serve them, our clients, and Allyis well.
Reputation of company: Ask around and do research to find out what kind of company it is. How are they involved in the community? Do they offer matching for charitable giving? Have they won any employment-related awards?
Flexibility: Many people love contract work because they can often work from home, at least some of the time. That’s definitely a perk many Allyis employees enjoy. This flexible schedule allows employees to balance the demands of work and life with less stress and the added benefit of reducing their carbon footprint.
Engagement: How does the employer engage with its employees? Are they purely a payroll processing agency, or do they offer more traditional employee programs and activities such as events, recognition programs, company meetings, performance appraisals, company financial updates, etc.? At Allyis employee engagement is central to our commitment to foster a supportive culture.
Our experienced recruiters often go through many of these points to help candidates make this very important decision and to understand how to thoroughly evaluate the job opportunity. We’d love to hear what you look for most in an employer and tell you how we stack up to our competitors. Post a comment below.