Onboarding new hires for freelance and temporary work is a process that almost every business goes through. Fixed-term staff are great at helping your company scale quickly and temporarily so that you can meet spikes in work and demand, and continue to grow. But while there are many upsides to hiring temporary workers, there is a cost involved that may deter business owners and employers: specifically, the fact that the ratio of time spent interviewing, testing, and onboarding workers compared to their time at your company is often very high.
While temporary workers need to be properly assessed and on-boarded, no business owner wants to spend more time interviewing and preparing an employee than the employee is going to spend at the company. Thankfully, there is a way to dramatically reduce the time needed to, interview and do the onboarding of new hires that not only saves time, but can also increase employee-fit and productivity.
Be prepared before you hire your first freelancer
If you don’t have process documents for new and existing employees, the moment when you are looking at onboarding new hires for freelance or part-time work is a good time to create some.
Process documents are essentially blueprints for the way everything works in your organization; they help to refresh people’s memory about how work is signed-off, what the filing and storage process for files is, and even what checks and measures they should make sure are in place before content is published or sent to clients.
If you need some help with blueprinting workflows, you might want to check out this guide to creating process documents.
Include interviewing and testing into the onboarding new hires process
Combining the interview and testing phase with the onboarding process is a powerful way to make sure that you have the right candidate for the job, and that the amount of time you are investing in the process of hiring is spent as effectively as possible.
Once you have selected the two, or three, best candidates from your application pool (use platforms such as Workhoppers.com to get matched with the right skilled freelancer) it is important to test these candidates so that you can accurately measure their performance before you make your final decision.
Testing can be done for every role; if you are hiring a web designer, you might want your candidates to create wireframes for a future redesign that your company is considering, or if you are hiring temporary writers, you may ask your candidates to outline a long-form blog post or write the first part of an article. The benefit of asking your candidates to do a short task, that is associated with the project they will be working on, is that it gives you something quantifiable to grade and compare them on.
During this testing phase, add in elements of your onboarding new hires process to familiarize your candidates with the way your company works. Send your process documents for them to read, and have them complete the assigned task exactly as they would if they were working for your company.
Set clear expectations during the testing process
Once your candidates have familiarized themselves with your company’s processes, establish clear expectations about the quality of test work you expect to receive, and be sure to set concrete deadlines for delivery. At this stage, it is important to make sure that your candidates know what your standards are, and that they are encouraged to meet them. Beyond this, make sure that your candidates understand the processes, and that they agree to the deadlines and the brief.
This testing process might seem intense, which it is, but it works well for both sides of the hiring equation. As an employer or hiring manager, testing candidates before hiring them gives you a way to accurately gauge whether they are right for your company, and candidates can use the testing process to judge whether they would actually like doing the work you have on offer, as well as whether they can align themselves with your company’s work process and culture.
Integrating an onboarding element into the testing process is great because it means that your successful candidate is already familiar with the way your company works, so they can jump straight into the role from the get-go. Introducing candidates to your process documents can also be a really great way to get constructive feedback about your company’s workflow, that you can then use to optimize and make changes.
Focus on accountability rather than micromanaging
Once you have completed the testing phase, and have hired your top candidate, you will find that there’s almost no need to spend time and resources integrating them into your day-to-day processes. This can lead to huge time and cost savings, and can allow you to reduce the length of contract needed for your hire to complete their work.
After you’ve completed the hire, it is important to continue holding your temporary employee accountable for their work and their efficiency, as many temporary employees suffer from a drop in quality after they’ve been hired. To combat this, monitor your temporary worker’s productivity, activity, and efficiency using time tracking software.
Software like Hubstaff, which can be installed on computers and smartphones, helps to track what your employee does on a day-to-day basis; and records everything from what apps they’ve used, to what websites they’ve visited, so that you can make sure that their time is spent working productively.
Using time tracking software also helps to create an environment of transparency, as both you and your employee know exactly how long they have been working on your project for, and that the results they generate have come about through time spent productively.
Combining the hiring and onboarding new hires processes, and then supporting your hire with time tracking software once they start work, is by far and away the best way to condense two time-intensive procedures into one efficient interview tool. As you start to implement this in your company, you will find that your quality of hiring decisions dramatically increases, and that you start to reduce costs, as your workers can jump straight into their projects.
Dave Nevogt is co-founder of Hubstaff where he’s responsible for the growth and operations of the company. He publishes a series on growing the business where he shares everything from the exact numbers to the biggest mistakes his team has made.