5 Ways to Keep Your GovCon Team Engaged and Motivated
What’s the difference between a good team and a great team? In the world of government contracts, a good team will deliver what’s expected and fulfill your client’s expectations. But a great team will surpass those expectations, which makes it easier to identify opportunities for organic growth.
And organic growth is the key to GovCon success. On every contract, there are opportunities to provide additional services or people, which helps your client while also generating more revenue for your business. It’s a win-win, but it depends on having a great team.
We’ve talked about recruiting a great GovCon team in previous blogs, but that’s only half the battle. How do you keep that team engaged over the term of a contract?
5 employee engagement tips for government contractors
Engagement is difficult for any employer, but it’s even more challenging in the world of GovCon.
Your team might be physically located in another office, such as a government building. That makes it hard to monitor their engagement and involve them in your office culture. On top of that, they’re on temporary contracts, which means that they have to think ahead to their next opportunity.
With these challenges in mind, there are still some important things you can do to increase your team’s engagement:
1. Offer meaningful rewards and bonuses
Your bonus structure plays a vital role in employee engagement. For GovCon workers, that might involve:
- Project completion bonuses, paid quarterly or annually
- Performance bonuses based on CPARS and/or project profitability
- Referral bonuses if they can recommend a new hire
These bonuses should have clear structure with well-defined milestones so that contractors know what’s expected of them. It’s important also to have regular check-ins where they can talk about their progress and ensure they’re remaining on track.
2. Provide adequate HR support
Employees also need someone who can help deal with personal issues, from leave requests to queries about benefits. Often, a lot of this is handled through your self-service portal. However, it’s also important that contractors can pick up the phone and speak to someone when they need help.
It’s also important for HR to keep an eye on issues that might affect team morale. One common issue is understaffing, especially toward the end of a project. If you don’t have enough people in place, that means a lot of extra stress for your current contractors, which can lead to burnout and lower engagement.
3. Be open to feedback and respond promptly
Your team will have feedback about their current contracts. Sometimes, this will be positive, which may indicate opportunities for further organic growth. Other times, it will be less positive, potentially indicating a problem in employee engagement—or the contract itself.
In both cases, it’s essential to listen and respond quickly. If employees provide feedback, try to get back to them with a response as soon as possible. Credit them for good ideas and offer support if they’re dealing with a difficult issue.
4. Offer professional development benefits
Professional development is one of the most useful benefits for any employee, as it grows their skillset and allows them to command a higher salary in the future. However, GovCon employees sometimes miss out on professional development opportunities, as they’re usually based in a government office.
One approach is to create workshops that are mutually beneficial for the employee, the client, and your business. You can also look at options like e-learning, mentoring schemes, tuition reimbursement, or support in attaining qualifications. Support of this kind helps to build engagement and foster long-term commitment. It also increases your team’s skillset, which makes it easier to find organic engagement opportunities.
5. Communicate post-contract plans
Engagement often falls off towards the end of the contract. This is understandable, as the employee doesn’t know what the future holds for them personally. Will their contract be extended? Will they remain in place as an incumbent hire? Will you bring them along to your next contract?
It’s hard to answer these questions—you won’t know until the next contract is signed. However, you can be upfront with your team and share what you do know. Being informed makes it easier for them to plan ahead, plus it helps establish trust. That will have a positive effect on engagement during the final stages of your contract.
If the project is up for re-compete, make sure the existing team is actively engaged in securing the contract for another period of performance. If re-compete is not an option, discuss other options including bench period, pro bono work, or assisting with Business Development efforts as an SME.
Need help with GovCon employee engagement?
The world of government contracting is as challenging as it is rewarding. Helios HR has been helping GovCon companies in the D.C. area to thrive for over 20 years. We do this by helping with every step of the process, from RFP to project delivery.
Want to talk to a GovCon HR expert? Book a call now with a Helios HR consultant.