HERE'S WHY YOU NEED A FREELANCER STRATEGY

We’ve all heard of marketing strategies, pricing strategies and growth strategies.

But what about a freelancer strategy?

Over the years in larger companies, HR teams have developed streamlined hiring strategies and recruitment policies that safeguard the company from making poor hiring decisions. Freelancers, however, tend to get hired by department heads which can result in high costs and wasted time. Smaller companies, startups and SMEs are less complicated but make the same mistakes. The responsibility of hiring freelancers is spread out amongst the team without a centralised process which impacts the brand reputation, increases hosts, and introduces unsuitable freelance talent into a well-oiled machine.  

A freelancer hiring strategy allows organisations to put a structured plan in place to ensure that a goal is successfully achieved or a certain level of performance is consistently maintained. 

In recent years, more and more freelancers have been drafted in to work in sectors which traditionally employ only full-time staff. They’re a cost effective way to quickly and efficiently fill skills gaps on teams. Furthermore, a freelance workforce allows companies to easily scale up and down, depending on their specific needs. 

If there’s so much opportunity for businesses to scale up using freelancers, why aren’t more companies taking advantage?  

While Covid has taught many businesses a lot about managing remote work teams, a reluctance to hire freelancers seems to stem from a few core concerns. For example, management teams often quote poor communication, collaboration and productivity as potential roadblocks to hiring and working effectively with remote freelancers. Not fully committing to projects and lacking an understanding of their businesses mission and brand values are two other concerns we’ve heard from companies who are wary of hiring freelancers. 

As more companies get used to WFH and feel comfortable managing teams remotely, they are better prepared to outsource projects to agile freelance talent. To maximise this process and increase the likelihood that every hire is a positive hire, a freelancer strategy will make a world of difference. 

 

Set out your freelance recruitment criteria 

When hiring full-time staff most businesses have a list of criteria they follow when sourcing and hiring talent. 

For example, they generally use the same trusted recruiters, they ensure that individuals have certain qualifications and relevant experience to complete the job in question, they interview the candidate face to face etc. 

When it comes to hiring freelancers, however, many businesses don’t feel the need to go through the same process to find a strong candidate. All too often, team managers bypass HR departments and hire freelancers directly from unreliable sites without interviewing them at all. 

This, unsurprisingly, often delivers poor results, not to mention wasted time and money. In extreme cases, it can seriously damage the brand’s reputation as a bad client and have a negative knock-on effect. 

Now, any business who wants to scale up knows that time and money are two things that shouldn’t be carelessly wasted, right?

If businesses want remote freelancers to work as hard, effectively and be just as committed to projects as their full-time staff, they need to ensure that they follow a proper recruitment process with specific criteria when hiring freelancer workers. 

This process starts by using reliable sites, assessing freelancer’s experience and qualifications, interviewing them face to face (or via video call), setting minimum and maximum rates and undergoing the necessary due diligence.

These criteria will help employers ensure that their freelance hires work well within their teams, adding value and creativity throughout their projects. 

 

Woman sitting at table using laptop

Choose your collaboration tools wisely

Collaboration tools are a great way for teams to work effectively internally and with remote freelancers.

When too many tools are utilised however, valuable time can be wasted and needless confusion and work produced.

It goes without saying that project management tools can be pricey, so choose wisely. Decide what collaboration tools will best accommodate the needs of your team. Depending on your project, we’d recommend choosing one or two tools (at most!). Asana, Monday and Trello are 3 platforms we would recommend. 

Next, decide which platforms you’re going to use to source freelance talent. Different platforms specialise in different freelancers. 

On the Freelancer Club, we specialise in content creators. We’ve included features that make sourcing freelancers very intuitive. For example, our advanced matching algorithm and Concierge Service help match clients with freelancers who fit the criteria you’re looking for based on the key data points that clients have told us are a priority. The strength of the portfolio, price, location, reliability etc…  

 

Set out policies to help freelancers settle in and thrive

Happy workers are more productive workers. 

Freelancers, especially in the creative space, choose to work on projects for the challenge as much as the pay cheque. They want to invest in your brand, buy into your mission and be a part of something more. 

Embedding your freelance hires into your company culture will help nurture the relationship and make for a more pleasurable experience on both sides. Freelancers who feel cold when working on a project tend to treat it as a task without much passion or enthusiasm. 

Employees who make a conscious effort to put a plan in place to help freelancers settle into their new roles and integrate them well within their teams reap the rewards in the long run.

Resources like Welcome Packs are a great way of introducing a new hire to your organisation. The packs may include information about your organisation's mission, its brand values and other details that will help inform and enhance a freelancer's work as well as their experience within your business. 

Time management is something that both remote freelance and full-time, onsite workers need help with from time to time. 

To ensure that time management doesn’t become a persistent issue, set clear deadlines from the start of a project and be sure to check in with your freelance hire by phone or by Zoom call at least once a week.

Finally, it’s important to acknowledge that a pay day once every month or two months may not be sufficient for freelancers. It’s worth reassessing your company's policies around payments in order to ensure that freelancers are well supported. 

Adapting existing policies to suit the needs of freelancers and assembling resources like welcome packs are essential elements of strong freelancer strategies. Getting these elements right will no doubt help your freelancer settle in and feel comfortable working within your organisation.

 

Whether you like it or not, freelance workers are in higher demand than ever before. 

Since Covid hit in March, management teams worldwide have learned how to effectively manage remote teams. Those who had to make full-time staff redundant or needed to quickly fill a skills gaps, turned to freelancers for help.

To ensure you get the most out of your freelance workers and vice versa, I’d highly recommend you take the time to put together a strong freelancer strategy or submit your details and we can provide a complementary consultation with one of our Freelance Growth Specialists. 

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