Ireland isn’t alone in this trend either. In 2018, the US reported a rise of 7% in freelancing, while the UK experienced a 31% surge. In fact, freelancers contribute approximately £145 billion to the UK economy – a valuable asset for any organisation.
Now the norm rather than the exception in a multitude of industries, freelancer management is becoming yet another challenge that businesses and HR teams are faced with. As the saying goes, businesses up and down the country are asking themselves how they can get ‘the best bang for their buck’; how can they identify the best freelancers for their projects?
This article will delve into the ‘Do’s’ & ‘Don’ts’ of freelancer management for your HR team.
Managing the Freelancer
The clue is in the name… ‘free’-lancer. The whole purpose of being a freelancer is to escape the boundaries that often come with the traditional 9-5, office-based job. You’re free to work where you want to work, be it in your bedroom, a local café or a hotdesking space. You’re free to work the hours that you want to work, and once you are successful, you can decide which clients you want to work with, not who your boss has got on contract.
This might be great news if you are the freelancer, but for the business, this means growing a level of trust within this relationship. It means having a level of faith in your freelancer and a belief that they will deliver what they say they will within the given deadline.
However, it shouldn’t all rest on a game of faith. Here are some tips for managing your freelancers:
- DO Your Research
Whether you search for reviews online or ask around your LinkedIn network, research freelancers, the skills they have on offer and past experiences will help you to separate the best from the adequate.
With the rise of freelancing, a popular alternative to finding the right contractor talent has emerged: freelancer comparison platforms. Giving your business access to an array of local freelancers for you to try, these platforms, like Toptal, are proving invaluable for businesses under tight deadlines and pressure to find the right person for their projects.
- DO Communicate Effectively
From video calls to monthly meetings at an agreed location, keeping in regular contact with your contractors will let them know that you value their contribution, keep them in the loop around project developments and make them feel like they are part of your team, regardless of employment status.
- DO Make Yourself Approachable
Ensuring that you remain available for any queries from your freelancers will help to boost your approachability and develop these relationships, a key element for effective and strategic communication.
- DON’T Allow a Lack of Accountability
However, this should never go before accountability. If you feel a freelancer isn’t pulling their weight, or isn’t working cohesively with the rest of your team, step in. Alongside your HR team, ensure that this freelancer has the right equipment and knowledge to deliver the project effectively. If their work doesn’t improve, ask why.
You might feel tentative to approach a freelancer in this way, knowing that their work style may be so different from your own. But the work needs done – make sure that is happening.
- DON’T Expect Freelancers to be Anything Else
However, remembering what exactly a freelancer is, what is expected of them, and what is expected of you is important for your freelancing relationships.
You should not expect freelancers to report to your place of work daily or take the same lunch breaks as you.
Instead treat your freelancers as just that – freelancers. This will build positive working relationships and provide you with the bonus of having a list of talented workers you can rely on when you need projects completed and your own staff need a helping hand.
Utilising your HR team, ensure you manage your freelancers effectively. Communicate with them and remain approachable at all times, treat them as freelancers and ensure you keep them accountable.
Your business will boom, you’ll meet your project deadlines and most of all, you’ll expand your talent pool.