There are many good reasons to consider working with freelancers in this day and age. Outsourcing projects to a pool of flexible, external professionals can give a huge boost to your business and get you amazing results – without having to worry about long term commitments or high payroll costs. However, the key to getting these great results is planning your project properly. This means you need to take some important actions, even before the freelancer arrives. In this article, we share four vital steps you should take in advance to ensure maximum success and genuinely reap the benefits of working with a freelancer.
First, what are the main advantages of recruiting a freelancer?
Whether your business is looking for someone with a specific skill or talent to manage a project from A to Z, or you just need an extra pair of specialized hands during a limited period of time: freelancers will bring the expertise you need to get the job done.
Some of the main advantages of recruiting a freelancer include:
- Added flexibility: Freelancers help you scale and accelerate growth while saving costs at the same time.
- A focus on the road ahead: As early adopters of remote working, agile collaboration and lifelong learning, freelancers help you transform your business to get ready for the Future of Work.
- Specific expertise: Upskilling is a major challenge for organizations today, and most freelancers we surveyed state that one of the main reasons companies of all sizes work with them is to benefit from their specific expertise.
Looking at the data from our 2022 study on Freelancing in Europe, conducted in collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group, freelancers spend an average of 4 hours per week developing their skills or keeping up-to-date in their field.
→ Curious to read more about Freelancing in Europe? Based on 3,334 survey responses from freelancers in France, Spain and Germany, and featuring in-depth analysis conducted in partnership with BCG, our study showcases the effects of the global pandemic on Europe’s freelancing market, the New Work Order – and more. You can download the full report here.
4 Steps For A Smooth Freelancers Onboarding Process
As the workplace is evolving, companies of all sizes see the benefit of working with a highly skilled, creative talent pool. According to our study, SMEs are leading adopters of freelancer collaboration. If you’re new to working with freelancers, the first thing to realize is that there are certain things you should do between hiring a freelancer and them actually starting to work with you. In other words, a freelancer’s arrival should be prepared in detail – because just like full-time employees, a successful collaboration with a freelancer doesn’t just happen by accident. You need to do your homework and lay the groundwork. After all, a good start is half the job.
Understanding how to prepare for a freelancer’s arrival helps you to start a successful collaboration together – now and in the future. Here’s four steps you can take to make that happen.
1. Create a clear project framework and brief
Congratulations, you decided to hire a freelancer for your project. You found someone who’s perfectly suited and you probably already put together a brief. Now it’s time to double check that the briefing and project framework are clear. The briefing process can get sometimes overlooked since freelancers are usually so self-sufficient that it’s tempting to think they can just get on with the work. But with minimal background information or a vague, hurried briefing even the most experienced freelancer will struggle to deliver quality work. This doesn’t mean creating a brief should take you ages, but it should be carefully thought out. At the end of the day it will save you time and ensure everyone involved is on the same page.
Here’s what you can include:
- Objectives: the more you can specify what you’re expecting to achieve with a project, the more your freelancer can understand the deliverables and work accordingly.
- Target audience: describe the audience you’re planning to reach as detailed as possible, so your freelancer knows exactly which tone of voice to use and how to resonate with that audience.
- Timescale and deadlines: give a clear overview of the timetable and deadlines, as this is likely the first thing most freelancers will look at. Keep in mind that many freelancers work on a number of projects for various clients, so they keep a tight agenda.
- Budget: outline the budget available or provide a range, so that there are no unpleasant surprises on either side.
- Processes and procedures: every freelancer and every company has a specific way of working, so make sure you’re aligned. Do you need your freelancer to come to the office or can they work remote? How often will you have feedback rounds, sprints, etc?
→ Check out the full checklist of the key points for creating a strong brief in our in-depth guide to maintaining a healthy and lasting relationship between freelancers and companies. You can download your free copy HERE.
“You shouldn’t hesitate to give as much information as possible about the project and its objectives. The clearer and more complete the information about the project, the more a freelancer will be able to immerse themselves in their client’s issues and find suitable answers.” Quentin Lagrange, Art Director @Freelance
2. Share the macro vision and the company culture
Freelancers don’t need to memorize your business’s organizational chart or objectives for the next 10 years. It is however important that freelancers know about your macro vision and get an idea of the company culture. Remember that a freelancer is coming in cold to a project, and possibly to your business too. To help them get a head start, it’s essential to share some background information, both about the context of your company and the history of the project. Although a freelancer might not need the same onboarding process as your new, full-time employees, it is considered a pro to have a shortened welcoming program, in which you share the bare essentials. From your brand guide to how the coffee machine works.
“I need this clear vision from the very beginning of the briefing, to know why I am working and for what purpose. I expect to be presented with the project, what demand it meets, and therefore its objectives in broad terms. I also like to know the history of the project, and why they chose a freelance rather than a permanent contract. All this gives meaning to my work.” Yoann Ligner, Php Developer / Scrum Master @Freelance
3. Practically prepare for the freelancer’s arrival
Make sure everything’s in place before the freelancer arrives. Literally. That means providing them with an access badge and having their desk cleared and ready on the day they arrive, should you require them to work in your office. It also means ensuring them simple access to the equipment, tools and software they need to complete the project, so make sure your IT-department gets a heads-up. Simply put: if you want your freelancer to be operational right away, you must make sure they have the resources to do so.
“The company’s IT department must be aware of the arrival of the freelancer within the teams. All access to technical, administrative and communication tools must be shared before the mission. Freelancers must be able to work on the mission itself but also to schedule meetings and reserve rooms if they need them.” Anne-Clémence Sire, International Headhunter & Coach @Freelance
4. Identifying the main contact person for freelancers
Whether it’s supporting the execution of the project (access to tools, necessary information) or to help introduce them to the right people and get them connected within the organization, freelancers need to have someone they can rely on: a point person. Having a clearly identified person of contact within the company, capable of setting aside a few minutes each day, will allow freelancers to begin their role in the best possible way. It is key to making the freelancer-company relationship a success.
“The presence of a main contact person is essential: it’s someone who validates the work, puts us in touch with the right teams, ensures that our status as a freelancer is respected… Then, I expect that person to be open, to give me a minimum amount of time, especially at the beginning of the mission, and finally that they validate the stages and the end of the mission in time.” Pascal Caillerez, Brand Content Manager, Editorial, Communication @Freelance
A smooth landing
A skilled, highly qualified freelancer can deliver outstanding results for your business, so make sure you give them the best start as possible by preparing for their arrival on time – no matter how long or short the project is. The smoother their ‘landing’, the better the result will be.
“If you want to work with an expert, you have to make sure they’re able to work in the best conditions. This means welcoming them and ensuring they’re well integrated into the team, but also giving them the context and background information they’ll need to carry out the project. It’s also important to understand and respect the way they work, and therefore to make sure they are well suited to the company’s expectations.” Cécile Tuil, VP Communications @Albéa Group
Are you wondering how to make the most of working with freelancers? Then our e-book is for you: “Companies are from Mars, freelancers are from Venus – a guide for freelancers and companies on how to collaborate successfully.”