Back to Blogs

Make Work Meaningful for your Contractors

  • Publish Date: Posted about 6 years ago
  • Author: Taylor Varco

As a manager, it’s your job to make work meaningful for your team members. It keeps them motivated and invested in the work. But what about your temporary employees? Their investment is just as important to your team performance. Have you considered where they find meaning in their career?

Harvard Business Review conducted a study to find out what drives them by interviewing temporary workers in a wide range of industries. The top six turned out to be:

  • Advancement: Moving up, seeking status and responsibility
  • Autonomy: Independence, seeking choice and flexibility
  • Balance: Time for what matters, seeking achievement and enjoyment
  • Service: Social contribution, seeking to make the world a better place
  • Variety: Development, seeking new opportunities to learn and grow professionally
  • Affiliation: Community, seeking membership


The take-away? Get to know your contractors and tailor their professional experience to what matters most to them. Here are 3 tips to help you get started:

1. During the interview process, as them a question about their ideal environment, such as: “What are the conditions for you to do your best work?” You might be surprised that even a small amount of flexibility can go a long way.

2. Provide opportunities that allow people to make small adjustments to their role and better tap into their skill set, so they stay engaged. A concept introduced by Timothey Butler and James Waldroop called: job sculpting.

3. Check-in regularly and offer specific feedback.

Contractors are becoming a larger piece in organizational performance. Many talented professionals leave their organizations because senior managers don’t understand the psychology of work satisfaction. Companies that want to retain their best people make employee meaningfulness a top priority.