How to manage freelance professionals

October 8, 2020

The use of freelancing is on the increase and is rapidly becoming a dominant resource strategy for companies. Businesses of all sizes prefer to hire freelancers, especially when it comes to acquiring skills that are scarce. 

It is estimated that by the end of 2020, 40% of traditional workers will be self-employed. With the help of the free labour market, organisations can quickly design and reshape their workforce to adapt to the changing needs of the market.

According to the latest reports from Upwork and the Freelancers Union, there are currently more than 57 million freelance workers. With this, hiring managers believe that work done by flexible talent will rise by 168% within the upcoming decade. 

Despite the many benefits, they can offer your business, managing your freelancers can be challenging. Unlike employees, freelancers often work for different clients at the same time, and this is crucial for you to ensure that they are on the same page when it comes to deadlines and benefits.

The management of freelancers need not be a frightening experience if the right practices are to be developed. At Swivelt, we work with freelancers all the time. We know how important it is to manage freelancers or employees outside the company to ensure that the business goals are achieved. Here are a few recommendations on how to easily manage freelancers

Set Expectations & Effective Communication

Communicate essential information effectively. Set clear timelines, and ensure your freelancer understands your needs and requirements.  

Outline the rules of your business and provide a very clear written brief. Be willing to spend extra time with your freelancer to help them better understand why things need to be a certain way and how it connects to the bigger picture.   

Be clear about your expectations and help them understand what works and doesn’t work for your business.  

Benefits of Hiring Freelancers

Affordability: Basic rates for freelancers are not generally cheaper than those of the average worker. Freelancers, however, eliminate the overhead costs of employees and generally do more time-efficient work.

Flexibility: Traditional workers require sacrifice from you. For freelancers, you can define the qualifications, deadlines, budgets, and other project-specific criteria and then select a staff member who can meet these needs.

Diversity: Traditional attitudes limit each start-up to only employees in a particular area. The Internet gives your company the opportunity to tap into a diverse market of freelancers with diverse experience, education, and skills.

Provide Feedback 

Just because they aren’t your employees, doesn’t mean you should skip out on providing effective feedback.  This is a good opportunity for your business to determine if your freelancers are a good fit based on their performance.  

Let your freelancers know how you feel about their work. Discuss what they did right and wrong to improve the quality of their performance. Do not hesitate to be upfront if they are underperforming and be sure to thank them if they did a good job.

Using technology to build relationships

There are many smart software solutions that can help you. Invest in the correct software. Most importantly, you provide your freelancers with the right tools to improve collaboration, support, and communication around the world. Your freelancers feel as if they are part of the team in virtual space.

Consider specific solutions for your business that effectively operate every part of your workflow with great collaboration tools. Performance management tools like iStrives help businesses manage remote freelancers and team members easily. Managers can communicate, add their comments and feedback, assign tasks and deadlines with the tools available on iStrives. This increases your freelancers’ sense of involvement and enables them to look at the broader context. In other words, take advantage of performance management tools to treat your freelancers like they are a member of your staff.  

Work-from-Anywhere Model 

Managing a virtual workforce can easily get overwhelming. For this reason, the work-from-anywhere model gives you the ability to hire the best talents from across the world efficiently with the best results. Surveys conducted by FlexJobs and Owl Lab show that 79% of people said they would be more loyal to their employers due to the flexibility that the work-from-anywhere model offers.  

To achieve this, you will need to invest in the right technology or freelance management software to make it easy to manage freelancers and independent professionals. At Swivelt, we use our system to help manage the freelance workforce more efficiently for centralized onboarding, improve visibility on freelancers, better budget management, delegating projects, providing feedback, and reviewing successive drafts. This doesn’t only increase work productivity but also positively impacts the financial outcomes. 

Although managing freelance workers can be uncharted territory for some business leaders, the rewards of successful freelance management will be beneficial to your company. Want to learn more about how Swivelt manages the freelancer workforce? Contact us.  

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