Starting a contract engagement on the right foot

Starting a contract engagement on the right foot

You’ve identified a resourcing need and decided getting a contractor in is your best option.

Good choice. You’ll be able to enjoy a number of benefits, including fewer constraints on employment terms, scalability, access to some of the top talent in NZ, and a much lower risk in terms of getting the ‘fit’ right.

But before you jump into action and start searching for your star contractor, wait! Planning is key to getting the most out of contractors and there are some key things you’ll need to think about first.

Nut out the basics
What do you want done and how long will it take? What skills need to be brought in to get it done? Cover off where the money required will come from and how the contractor will be managed (and most importantly by whom).

Be clear on your drivers
Why is engaging a contractor better than employing someone? Be clear about why you have chosen this strategy as it will help you assess how successful the engagement was at a later stage.

Clearly define the work
What work needs to be done? What are the deliverables and how will you measure success. Be aware of the budget and make sure you can cover the costs to complete the required work.

Manage your contractor
How will you manage the contractor? Be clear in your own mind how you plan to manage the contractor throughout the engagement, and make sure you tell them. Think about how you will manage estimates of effort, delivery performance, conduct, and integration with existing staff. Ensure you catch up regularly. Oh, and make sure you understand the timesheeting process within your organisation - something you’ve potentially not had to worry about before.

Prioritise onboarding

  • What will your new contractor need to enable them to become productive as fast as possible? Prepare for your new contractor like you would any other team member: 
  • What equipment will they need, and who will provide it?
  • What software and other tools will they need, and how will this be set up and paid for?
  • What documentation is available that can help them a) settle into the team and b) get up to speed on the work itself quicker?
  • Will a handover be required from existing staff member?


There you go! Follow these key steps and you’ll be standing in good stead for a successful and productive contractor engagement.