Being an employee at a big corporation is a passing phase. The opportunity available online has become obvious. It is the new way to work and make money if a person wants freedom. When someone does take the plunge to be a freelancer, they aren’t going to look to be constrained by you. They are eager and they are cost effective for you. The benefits of having a freelancer working for you are abundant. You have to see their value and let them know you see it. They are not replaceable or separate from your business culture. If you treat them the way they were treated in the corporation they left, you probably won’t get great results. Upwork conducted a study that found nearly 50% of millennials are doing freelance workers.
The freelancers you have are not so different from having your own staff. Perhaps they are even freer to come and go as they please. This means that you have to treat them well. They aren’t working under you, they are helping you with specific projects and tasks. You don’t always have the opportunity to have team meetings to inspire freelancers. They are often working remotely and aren’t available to meet in person. Freelancers who do work hourly as opposed to piecework can be monitored. What you really want is the fundamental desire for that freelancer to own their role, to be passionate about your business and the projects. So how is that possible? Here are some tips on how to treat your freelancers.
By treating freelancers like human beings, companies can ensure that they’ll never be at a loss for top talent, even on the most challenging projects.
1. Allow them Freedom
Companies that have online freelancers should keep in mind that freedom matters. When you add them to your team, set realistic guidelines and don’t try to micromanage what times of the day they do the work. Don’t overwhelm them with too many Skype calls. There are monitoring systems online that will do screen captions of work being done. If you monitor these things, you can see what they’re doing. You don’t need to get them to check in all the time. Having freelancers should put you at greater ease that you don’t have to babysit. A benefit you can talk about to attract freelancers is letting them know they can set their own schedules and workloads. It’s pretty easy actually. When you talk about expectations the first time, find out how many hours they have available for your business.
2. Build Relationships Between Your Staff and Freelancers
There are a lot of benefits to being a freelancer. There are also downfalls. One of them is loneliness. This is part of the reason so many hubs have popped up around the world. When you introduce your staff to your freelancers, they appreciate it more than you know. It also helps because you’ve likely hired experts in their field. If colleagues need help, you can recommend your freelancer. You build a relationship between the two that is helpful for both parties.
A report by SHRM found that employees are going to feel the most satisfied about their jobs if their boss respects all the co-workers. So give your freelancers projects that work best with their skills. Let them have some say about the company. Their perspective is likely very unique and could give great insight. Let them join team meetings if that’s possible. If they feel like they’re part of the team, they will feel more passionate towards the workload.
3. Acknowledge Work Completed
Throughout the project, and when it’s completed, give feedback to the freelancer. Let them know what you really liked and what could have been improved. The rule of thumb is to introduce the feedback on a positive note. Feedback is going to help keep expectations and brand identity in the forefront of their mind. If you liked the freelancers’ work, let them know they’ll be considered for whatever projects arise in the future.
There are studies that indicate that independent contractors are often more engaged than regular employees. If you as a company can remember to engage with them also, you’ll enjoy a feel-good, motivational partnership.
5. Appreciate Freelancers as Though They were Staff
When leaders speak to their team members, it’s fairly obvious that at times, they see them as objects instead of people. You’ve heard it before. Employees feeling like numbers. It’s horrible for morale and work productivity will in no way improve. This is a fairly common attitude in corporations, but the situation can be even worse for freelancers.
If you’re an entrepreneur and you have a small team of people, create an environment where people gain from having a freelancer join the team. The freelance economy is just beginning. The nature of work is changing. Talented freelancers aren’t easy to find, so when you get one that does what you need, you’ll want to keep them interested in working for you.
The thing is, freelancers have so much choice now. Why would they work for someone who makes them feel stressed out and unappreciated? They wouldn’t. If they do, you won’t be getting all of them. You should make them feel a part of your team. Let them know they’re a part of the whole process of your success. Let them know you appreciate them. Give them the information they need to succeed. Communicate and give them the time to ask questions.
Integrate the freelancers into your company and chances are, you will find many ways to utilize them in the future. This means that you don’t have to go looking for another freelancer when you need one. Another thing you have to recognize is that freelancers will find other work if you don’t have anything for them. Their schedule could fill up. You may look to build your company on the premise that you can have the work done when you want it. If you haven’t given your freelancer work for two months and haven’t been in contact, they will have new clients. They may not have the time to give to you.