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Yes, this inclusion "thing" with contingent staff struck me as a problem more than 20 years ago. As young (okay, young-er) compensation analyst, I recall suggesting that we should probably make an effort to include our contingent staff in more of our work and social interactions. Those suggestions were politely rebuffed, with the allusion that I was young and naive (back then). I was young, but maybe not so naive after all. I thought there was value in that inclusion back then, and I still think that today. I'm not sure I've been much more successful in the intervening years in breaking down some of these barriers to greater work unit integration. I guess it just takes (a lot) of time to change people's mindset.

It's like inviting your co-workers to your wedding. At work, you are talking about the wedding all the time, and they feel like a part of your family, so you want to include them. Then you leave that company and you never see those workers again, except in the wedding photos...I wonder what happened to...? If felt good to include them at the time, but if you need to watch a budget, you would exclude them.
If contingent workers are employed by someone else, yet are part of the fabric of your business, it certainly makes sense to include them AND to be concerned about their own employment situation, perhaps you are a co-employer already. (Does it really make sense that they are employed by someone else and not on your staff?) I would say the plusses probably outweigh the minuses to include them in at least some of the appreciation efforts. On the other hand, if you exclude your actual employees as well, then it won't seem exclusionary to leave out the contingent workers. Imagine that culture.

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