You have to be prepared when hiring freelancers. And no, I am not only talking about knowing your Australian Tax Office (ATO) obligations or doing it legally. A lot of businesses might get the bones of the structure right and then forget other less tangible aspects.
Business has changed. Freelancers help fill the gaps. Your organisation wants to make sure you can keep up with demanding schedules. To do this you need to be effective when hiring freelancers and make the most out of the situation.
Here are some of the most common mistakes made when hiring freelancers. And what your business can do to avoid them
Your setup sucks
If you hire a new employee, you make sure that they have a desk, printer access and know how to get into the building. You also make sure the team knows the person is coming and where they are expected to fit into existing and new project work. You also make a big deal of trying to make the new person included. This might be through induction, a buddy system, specific training, access to a company wiki- heck, even a folder can get you through.
When hiring freelancers however, this tends to be forgotten. It’s needed. Not only from a knowledge share perspective and getting your chosen freelancer up to speed. It’s also part of the process for making a person feel welcome. As well as sending the right signal to your existing teams.
Many contractors and short-term freelancers experience a sense of not really being a part of a team. If you don’t make the effort to create a sense of belonging, this is what happens.
Prime the core team. Get them involved in the training and helping your new freelancer adjust. Make space for the new person to slot into place.
You ignore the softer side
Never forget you are also hiring freelancers for their personality traits and attitude as well as their skills. If you want an amiable, reliable and autonomous to return, treating them well when they arrive is important.
Even the most confident, extroverted person is nervous about a new place and meeting new people. These jitters can be allayed by listening to them and getting to know your newly hired freelancer.
If someone comes in as the help and are expected to hit the ground running, it doesn’t hurt to make time for a team lunch on the first day. Or to ask them for coffee before they week they start.
Being a hired gun can be pretty lonely. If you want to attract great freelance talent, allowing them the opportunity to be something other than the help matters.
The feedback is lacklustre
We know you’re hiring freelancers because you’re often under-resourced and time poor. But that doesn’t mean we’re mind readers. We need a proper brief from you. We should understand not only the mechanics of the work but the intentions and aims.
Plus, we should receive feedback that we can apply to the task at hand once we send the draft. And yes, you should expect there to be a draft or two. You can get lucky and get an ace in the hole first time. But counting on that to occur is not smart business.
It is not useful to ask for things you cannot define. It doesn’t help the situation by giving feedback that cannot be actioned.
There is no “make it pop” magical signpost that immediately paints a picture. Nothing is improved by opinions such as “I don’t like it”.
Make sure you have enough insight into the project and enough time available to ensure we can do our best work by providing the feedback we need.
The appreciation is non-existent
Most freelancers swim through a load of criticism and feedback while on the job. It magically disappears when it comes time to be able to present the work or share what we’ve been working on.
Let us know from the outset that you’ve appreciated our efforts.
Send your freelancer off with more than a beer and a cheery wave. Give them a testimonial that reflects their efforts on their Google My Business or LinkedIn profile. Let them leverage their time with you to secure more work. It will give you good will.
Oh, and also outline where the line is drawn with using work for case studies too. You may not be able to disclose that you’ve made use of freelancers to help with work. We get that. But we’d also like to know that in advance. And we’d like to know what, if anything, we can share. A link to a project or even a logo from your agency or business helps give us credibility. So, if you can give it, please do.
You forget to include us
There are many stories of company wide celebrations such as Christmas parties where everyone in the entire office goes except the hired freelancers. Or that there’s a lovely buffet lunch to celebrate a client win and the freelancer sits at their desk, eating their brown-bag cruskets.
It’s a birthday with no cake for guess who? Or team beers to share after a hard week and everyone drawing circles awkwardly on the floor, wondering if the freelancer can come…and if they should pay for their own drinks.
It doesn’t take much to make someone feel left out and undervalued. And it doesn’t take much to include them. The impact however can be enormous.
You are not efficient
Freelancers work on a lot with very little time to do so. And if it’s one thing we hate it’s wasting time.
We freelancers want to cut to the chase and get the work done without much of the bureaucracy, meeting addiction and issues that come with standard office life.
Presenteeism and sitting at the desk staring at nothing under the guise of “setting an example” is an alien concept to us. We want to get the work done for you without the bells, whistles and special workplace stickers to prove it.
Use it to your advantage. Let us be efficient.
The payment is late
We understand you may have pre-existing processes and a payroll to manage. However, this whole “we’ll pay you when the client pays us” or the “submit your invoice and listen to your tummy rumble for 90 days” is garbage.
No employee does their best work when they are stressed about whether they can pay their rent, feed themselves or buy their kid school shoes.
Hiring freelancers means having the budget to do so. Not in some mythical future epoch. Now.
It’s super simple to garner our loyalty, really. Set an agreed fee and pay us on time. There are memes and happy disclosures all about the place for the companies and agencies that don’t make extracting final payment akin to climbing Mt Everest in search of non-frozen berries.
Hiring freelancers can be easier
Hiring for freelancers for projects doesn’t have to be difficult. It does require approaching the hiring as an investment in your business though. Look for the opportunity to meet a freelancer on their own terms and treat them like an equal and you’ll enjoy a much higher rate of success.