Freelance workers are a great addition to any company. They can work remotely, and offer a new dynamic to the traditional employee/employer relationship. Understanding their motives and what they expect from the position is key to managing them efficiently and building great relationships. Here are some tips to help you manage your freelancers.
Treat Them With The Same Respect As Your Other Employees
Although a freelancer isn’t technically an employee, but rather an independent contractor doing work for your company, it’s still important to treat them with the same dignity and respect as your other employees.
Freelancers are there to make money, of course, but many are there to grow as well by learning new skills and taking on new projects. There’s always a chance they’re looking to get hired on full time with your company as well, so treat them as professionals in their field and be sure to offer them opportunities as they arise.
A good way to get to know your freelancer right away is to simply ask them what their motivation is. Why are you taking this job? What skills are you hoping to learn here? What skills can you offer my company?
Make Sure They Understand Your Expectations
Very often conflict arises when expectations aren’t clearly set in the workplace. The management team becomes frustrated when tasks aren’t completed correctly or on time, and the employees become frustrated for being reprimanded for what they thought was the correct project or deadline.
It’s as important to set clear expectations for your freelancers as it is for your full-time employees. That way, no one is misunderstood or mislead, and all the requirements are met. This can help you gauge the effectiveness of your freelancers as well. If one or more fail to meet your expectations, it may be time to look elsewhere.
Using screen share software is a good idea to set expectations and keep your freelancers updated with projects. Here’s our pick for the best screen sharing software.
Micromanaging Is Not A Good Idea
Freelancing is about freedom and autonomy, hence the prefix “free” in the word freelance. A freelance worker is not looking to be micromanaged by you or anyone else and is confident enough in their abilities to go out and find work on their own.
You should set expectations, deadlines, and work hours ahead of time, so there’s no need to check up on their progress every other day. If they say they’ll complete the project by a certain date, trust that it will get completed. If it doesn’t, and they continually fail to meet expectations, you can begin to consider other options.
However, it’s important to give your freelancers the chance to prove themselves. You can start with small projects at first and let them work their way up to larger, more impactful ones later on once you’ve established a bond.
Offer Feedback On Their Work
Everyone wants to know that their efforts are appreciated. It’s human nature to seek that validation from those around us. Freelance work is no different. A freelancer likes to hear they’re doing a good job as much as a full-time employee does.
Say things like “you really came through with that last project, thank you” or “you’re doing a great job here, I think you’re a great fit for us.” These words of affirmation can make your freelancer feel like part of the team, and boost his or her morale.
You can also offer feedback on areas of improvement. This is tricky with any employee, as no one enjoys criticism, whether it’s constructive or not. It can sometimes play on insecurities and make the employee feel like they’re doing something wrong.
A good way to navigate constructive criticism is to first say something good about your freelancer. “You did a great job on the content of this project, but I’d like if you could deliver it on time in the future” sounds better than “I liked the project, but you were late”. A little respect and finesse can go a long way. You don’t want to sound bitter, you want to encourage growth and improvement.
Make Sure To Have A Formal, Written Contract In Place
As a business, you have a duty to protect yourself. Freelancers are just as risky as full-time employees in that you can never truly know who you’re hiring until you work with them. Just as you would with a full-time employee, having an employment contract signed by a freelancer is a good way to protect both parties.
A written agreement clearly spells out expectations, scope, and hours/pay. Everything is written down and stored, in case of any future discrepancy or disagreements. You can always refer back to the agreement they’ve signed, and, if they fail to meet the terms of said agreement, you have the grounds to let them go if necessary.
It’s a good idea to personally go over the details of the contract with your freelancers as well, to ensure clarity and consistency. You don’t want any misunderstandings that could lead to conflict down there.
Freelancers Can Add Diversity To Your Roster
Freelancers can come from all over the world, have a variety of skills and abilities, and offer diversity to your growing business. Remember to treat them with respect, because although they’re not technically an employee, they’re still doing business with you and performing a service. If you understand and appreciate their value, it’s possible they’ll eventually become a member of your team down the road.