In a previous post, we discussed the trend of many businesses looking to freelancers to fill various needs, which can be short or long term and involve a variety of projects in a variety of industries.
A mistake many companies make when bringing in freelancers, though, is relying on the fact that these freelancers have industry experience and expertise and assuming they can hit the ground running, which overlooks the need to educate them on the company’s business, goals, challenges, and culture—in other words, onboarding.
It can be tough, but here are some recommended some best practices for onboarding freelancers.
1. Give the Right People a Heads Up
Don’t forget about your current employees when bringing freelancers on board, and make sure they are in the loop so they don’t feel threatened and so they can collaborate effectively.
“Clearly communicate why the company needs freelancers, how internal employees should expect to collaborate with them, and what the desired outcome of projects should be,” says Michael Burdick, CEO of Paro. Doing so will not only prevent you from wasting time but also minimize misunderstandings or duplicated efforts.
2. Host a Kickoff Meeting with All Stakeholders
Simply sending a few e-mails isn’t sufficient for the best practice described above. Have a meeting to get everyone together face to face, if possible, but if freelancers or key team members are remote, consider a video conference or conference call.
3. Prepare a Road Map to Gather Information
Ask freelancers what they will need to be successful, specifically when it comes to information, and give them a list of people they can contact for that information so they can reference those individuals as questions arise.
4. Give and Solicit Feedback on a Recurring Schedule
Freelancers are typically given more independence than traditional employees, but that doesn’t mean you should simply bring them on board, step back, and see what happens. Schedule regular touch points to evaluate progress and make any necessary adjustments.
Hiring freelancers can be a great boon to businesses looking to engage industry expertise while enjoying greater flexibility than they would otherwise have with traditional employees. However, just because freelancers may have industry experience doesn’t mean they know about your company and its goals, making it a big mistake for businesses to hire freelancers and not provide onboarding.