Roughly one third of all workers in the USA is freelancing according to the study
conducted by Sara Horowitz, Founder and Executive Director of Freelancers Union and Fabio Rosati, CEO Elance-oDesk Freelancing. The gig economy is a big trend not only in the USA, as there are 8.9 million “iPros”
or independent workers in Europe and this number is constantly growing. According to the findings of the recent Upwork survey
, the majority of freelancers who quit full-time jobs earn more as freelancers and 60% of them started their freelance career by choice (rather than necessity), which means the gig economy is going to reshape the way we work in the nearest future. Executives are challenged to learn how to manage this very special category of workers. Here are our 4 simple steps which will help you not only enjoy the advantages of external talent pool, but also reduce the stress and make the work flow much smoother.
Ground Rules For Communication
Let’s admit it: your project is not the only one your freelancer is working on. Moreover, you don’t share the same space, even worse – your new team member might live in a different part of the world. It makes them hardly accessible and negatively affects your collaboration. Therefore it is crucial to discuss how often, when and how you will discuss work related questions. This simple arrangement will make the working process much more comfortable for both you and your freelancer.
You might never meet your freelancer face to face. But it doesn’t mean you can skip onboarding. Introduce the freelancer to the team; especially to those colleagues he or she will work with. Don’t forget to share relevant internal documents, timeline and corporate culture. Treat freelancers as equal team members and you will get loyal and devoted contributors.
KPIs & Goals
Be as specific as possible about the work to be done and the results you are expecting to achieve. You might find the right freelancer for your project, but if he doesn’t understand his role and importance for the team, things might not go so well. Good examples, explicit instructions and your clear expectations are necessary for successful collaboration with external talents. A good idea to keep your contractor motivated is to pay about 30 percent of the total project price upfront and plan other payments based on the KPIs discussed prior to signing the contract.
When you have more than one freelancer and more than one project you should think about collaboration software. It will make the onboarding much easier. Moreover, tasks and project management tools will allow you to track their progress. Your freelancer will have an immediate access to relevant resources and will be able to participate in all discussions. Collaboration software will make it easier for your telecommuter to dive in and, despite the distance and type of employment, become a devoted and valuable member of your team.