Freelance work has seen an uptick in popularity over the last few years. The move to freelancing has grown amongst full-timers seeking a side hustle as well as those looking to take more control over their career.
This increase in freelance workers is great news for employers looking to fill specialized gaps on their teams, find someone for a short-term project, or just provide extra help during workload spikes or to curtail burnout within internal teams.
Once you’ve made the decision to hire freelancers it’s important to invest time in setting them up for success, while ensuring you’re creating a freelance-friendly environment.
HOW TO HIRE FREELANCERS
There are many reasons why you might need to hire freelancers, but chances are they will be filling some sort of a gap, which means time is of the essence.
Working with a specialized freelance recruiting agency like 24 Seven can save you time, energy and headaches. 24 Seven recruiters are tapped into a deep and wide pool of skilled, pre-vetted freelancers in the marketing, creative and technology space. Put simply, when you partner with us you can quickly expand your reach to better help you find the right fit – and fast.
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CLARIFY, SPECIFY, OUTLINE, MEASURE
Freelancers can be hired to complete a specific set of tasks within a set period of time, or they can be brought aboard for an indefinite amount of time to fill a specialized need on the team. In both situations, the onus is on the hiring manager to document a detailed scope of work to clarify expectations, specify deliverables, and cement deadlines.
All expectations, key deadlines, and overall goals should be documented in writing. The brief should include key performance metrics so that both parties agree ahead of time on how the freelancer will be evaluated.
In addition, when managing freelancers, determine ahead of time whether their work needs to be completed during predetermined hours of the day (for example, during the company’s “open for business” hours) or if projects are deadline-driven and freelancers can tackle them during whichever hours work best for them. When managers hire freelancers, they should clarify work hours and honor any parameters established around work-life balance issues.
KEEP COMMUNICATION FLOWING
Clear and frequent communication is pivotal to the efficiency and general success of your freelance hires. If there are specific project management or communication software tools that your team utilizes, make sure that your freelance hires have access to those systems and receive any related training as part of the onboarding process. This is especially important when team members are working remotely or within a hybrid model.
Beyond project platforms, does the freelancer need a phone line, internal email, or access to company software to complete their work? Bottom line: Make sure on Day 1 that freelancers have all the tools and programs they need.
REMEMBER THAT FREELANCE HIRES ARE TEAMMATES TOO
When a company decides to hire freelancers, managers should devote the same amount of attention to these team members as they would new full-time employees. Even when freelance hires are only working through a specific project’s duration, they’ll still need onboarding, clear direction, regular feedback, and respect.
This effort should be viewed as an investment – a great working relationship between the manager and each freelancer has a payoff. As projects arise in the future, freelancers who have had a positive experience are more likely to want to return, which means the ramp-up time will shorten with each engagement.
SHOW THAT YOU APPRECIATE THEIR EXPERTISE
Freelancers often bring a very specific set of honed skills, deep expertise, or niche knowledge to your teams. In many cases, freelancers can provide a specialized focus to complete deliverables at an expert level that may not exist internally.
It’s important that managers don’t view freelancers simply as temporary fixes. Freelancers should be valued for their contributions, and their time and boundaries should be respected like a “regular” team member.
Freelance communities can be tight-knit ones (especially in niche specialties), and freelancers actively share their impressions about the employers that engage them.
When companies hire freelancers, the more prepared managers are for a successful collaboration, the likelihood increases that the freelancer will be both highly productive and happy.
If you’re ready to hire freelancers to help your team, contact the freelance recruiters at 24 Seven today.
This post was updated on July 21, 2022