The year is coming to an end, and that means more than just escaping 2021 and our houses. If you’re in a contract role, now’s the time for it to turn permanent!
Budgets are refreshing, and companies are looking at the year ahead: what their needs will be, and which contracted employees will add long-term value.
Contracts don’t always have to end with a new round of job searching: some stick. Hiring and onboarding is a long, expensive, time-consuming process; employers want to guarantee roles go to the right person. Often, this is someone who’s already been hired to fill a temporary need. A survey of 460 hiring managers in Australia showed “88% would extend a permanent contract to a skilled employee who was initially hired on a temporary basis.”
If you joined a company on a contract, it’s a chance to prove you’re valuable enough to fill a permanent role. As Melanie Holmes, a former vice president of ManpowerGroup says, “Working as a temporary employee gives you the opportunity to be on the inside and ultimately gives you an advantage over external candidates…”
But how do you take advantage of that position?
Make yourself indispensable!
First things first: do your job well. This is a given. If you want to stay on, you’ll need to prove that you’re capable.
But don’t just go through the motions: research the company’s processes and policies. Study how the organisation works, and how it could work better. Rather than taking on an unrealistic amount of overtime (a bad precedent if your contract turns permanent), figure out how to add value beyond just clocking extra hours.
Are there inefficiencies? Systems that could be improved? Gaps to fill, or positive changes that you could implement? Pay attention and speak up. Coming from another organisation, you’ll have fresh eyes and may spot oversights.
If opportunities do arise to improve things, take them! Go beyond your job description and create your own role in the company. The more value you contribute, the clearer it will be to your Manager that letting you go would be a huge loss – make yourself indispensable.
Culture is key
A great employee isn’t just about output, though. On paper, you can tick every box, but sometimes fitting into a company’s culture is more important than hard skills.
“If people fit into that culture, it gives them a good chance of being offered a full-time position,” according to Jason Bertalli, a director at BNR Business Accountants.
Communicate to your manager through 1:1s and your work that you share and support the company’s values, goals, practices and attitudes. Plenty of people know Photoshop; finding a digitally skilled Talent who wants the company’s vision to succeed is more valuable.
This is when soft skills come in handy. Demonstrate that your presence is a healthy addition to your team: that you’re someone who others can rely on. Show that you communicate well with your team, supporting and leading them as needed.
When you’re looking for ways to improve systems, keep your company’s values and goals in mind. If you fill gaps that support a company’s larger mission, you’ll be just that much more valuable.
Adding to culture also means forming strong relationships. Don’t just talk to other new hires. Reach out and network! This will help you understand the business better and will create stronger ties within the company.
It’s important to build an open, honest and trustworthy relationship with your team and your Manager. Connect via check-ins, WIPs or emails to make sure you’re on top of your job and to find ways to help others. If a company is considering hiring you long-term, you want resounding support from anyone who is asked whether you’re a good fit.
The next step
1-2 weeks before your role ends, book a 1:1 with your Manager to discuss your future. Make sure they know you want to stay (they might not realise!), and be clear that you can see yourself growing with the organisation long-term.
If they agree, be sure to discuss salary. Come to this meeting with a figure in mind and the evidence to back your request up – demonstrate the value you’ve added. If they won’t match your offer, ask if they are willing to revisit your pay within the next six months if you continue to smash KPIs and add cultural value.
Not every company will agree to extend a temporary position into a permanent role. But if you approach a contract with enthusiasm and genuine interest, your chances are much higher.
Don’t think of a contract as a job with a set end date: approach it as an extended interview where you can demonstrate just how valuable you really are.