Guide to working with freelancers

December, 07, 2021 by Brooke McLaughlin author workhoppers

Young freelancers working on a project

The demands for a growing business can quickly outgrow a staff’s bandwidth to meet them. Hiring freelancers can be an effective way to keep things running smoothly. This guide will help companies master the integration process of freelancers into the company, providing the right conditions for success when working with freelancers.

This can mean welcoming him/her into the team, providing all the tools to work in the best conditions and all the elements needed for the achievement of the project or mission. It is also important to understand and respect the way freelancers operate ensuring beforehand that it matches the expectations of the company.

Read on some practical tips on how to improve your process when working with freelancers.

Give a clear brief on the company

Freelancers are often brought to the company on a short-term basis. Most likely, the freelancer is not spending enough time on-site to familiarize himself with the players, the culture, the values, the processes, and the way things are done in a particular organization. This insight can be helpful in the execution of the project. Therefore, it is extremely important to take the time to present the company to the new professional. It will never be a waste of time spending a few hours discussing the following subjects with the freelancer:

– Company presentation

– Context of the mission

– Company structure and culture

– Working methods

– Rules on working from home or on-site

At the end of this brief make sure you have clearly answered these 4 questions: What? For when? For whom? What is the budget?

Prepare onboarding of freelancers

It is not unusual that a company is ill prepared for when a freelancer arrives on the first day work. But if you want him(her) to be operational immediately and for that you might want to make sure that all the bureaucracy is taken care of. These are some of the items that would require set up in advance:

– Entrance badge

– Computer equiment

– Email address

– Intranet access

– Project management tools

– Conference tools

– Company software

Freelancers work by hour or by project. In both cases, it is advantageous for both parties if time is used efficiently. Get more tips on onboarding freelancers.

Appoint interlocuter for the company-freelance relationship

It is beneficial to appoint a company contact person that will manage the relationship with the freelancer. Not only, will that person guide the freelancer around ‘internal affairs’, it will be the person that will facilitate the communication and interaction with the freelancer. This contact person will validate the work, identify the right people to talk to and create a strong working relationship.

When and how to interact

This brings us to an important subject: communication. No need to say that this is a key element for any good relationship. Fluidity must be at the heart of any freelance-business relationship. The freelancer must know who to contact and by what means. The collaboration tools must be set up and clear. But most important, the players must be responsive.

Setting up a few meeting points during the duration of the project is crucial to get the earliest feedback possible. This will determine the freelancer’s productivity and the success of the project. Feedback should be pro-active and continuous.

Be open to the freelancer’s recommendations

One of the main advantages of bringing in a freelancer is to benefit from an outsider’s perspective. But you need to be open to receive the feedback. A freelancer is an expert with experience in a wide array of companies and situations. They can bring a fresh perspective to a problem, sometimes based on work done in the same industry and sometimes from work done in a completely different industry but in the same function. Be open and take advantage of this insight.

Give feedback at closing

Unfortunately, very few projects finish with an evaluation and certainly less often when it is with a freelancer. But post-mortem evaluation with effective feedback, will enlighten both parties and help them do better in their next project – together or not. An evaluation coming from the freelancer will allow the company to learn from the freelancer’s experience. Was the company helpful in the relationship? Did the culture help accomplish the objectives? Does the company have the necessary tools?

Maintain the link

Attracting and maintaining talent is a known challenge these days. Companies must dedicate resources to create a working environment that is attractive for professionals. A one-time contract might become a recurrent need. It is easier to work with someone that is already familiar with your company. Maintaining the contact is a win-win situation.

Once you have chosen the right freelancer for your company and for the specific project, you cannot discount the importance of onboarding the new professional. Working with freelancers can be stunningly effective and result in a significant boost to your business.

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