While hiring freelancers and getting work started in a flexible and mobile manner as compared to full-time employees might seem simple, there actually is quite a bit of effort that goes into maintaining a positive work culture with remote freelancers. Having good internal relations helps both the parties to bring out the best in their services, not to mention that a content mind is likely to produce better work.
Now that the ‘Why’ element of the idea has been answered, let’s come to how one can ensure a good relationship with their freelance employees.
Tuning the expectations
When we talk about expectations, there are multiple elements that need to be mapped and appropriated.
- It’s essential that both of you always stay on the same page, and for that, communication is key. ETAs (Estimated Time of Arrival) for each delivery should be discussed keeping both the employer’s and the freelancer’s needs and occupancies in mind, respectively.
- The said work should be mapped through and thorough before being initiated to avoid any mishaps or delays in the future. Every possible discussion needs to happen beforehand, and dependencies from each side on the work, if any, should be cleared as well.
- Although you’re dealing with freelancers, create work verticals and sprint plans in the same way as you do with full-time employees. Monthly and weekly targets must be fixed for a smooth working environment.
- As important communication is, equally important is communicating the right things to each other. Honesty plays a huge role in the overall partnership and is an essential factor in trust-building between both parties.
One of the biggest factors due to which problems arise and relationships weaken is irregularities in the opinion of monetary matters. However uncomfortable it might be, it is best to lay out everything on the table and discusses each and every detail related to compensation for positive work culture. Few factors to keep in mind are –
- Don’t go on hiring freelancers only because it is relatively cheaper than hiring full-time employees. If you want your work quality to not diminish and are looking for a person with the right skills, you must be prepared to compensate them accordingly.
- Being able to establish a prolonged, symbiotic relationship with remote employees is like finding a needle in a stack of hay. So when you find the needle, you need to ensure that it does not get lost again – ie, if you are sure of a person’s skills and their value addition to your company, consider offering them other forms of remuneration like discounts on your software, a free course, etc.
- Another thing to consider if a freelancer has been working with you for quite a while is to set a proper increment cycle. Appraisals keep the motivation afloat, and at the end of the day, you gain much more by establishing an equation of trust and mutual benefit. Payment dates should also be fixed and be treated in the same manner that deadlines are.
- Lastly, a proper way to end on a good note should also be formulated. You might require their help sometime in the future as well, so it is important that you remain in each other’s good books. A notice period should be mutually agreed upon and followed, keeping the door open for future business.
Working in the team spirit
Freelancers might be working on essential projects of your enterprise, hence, they should be made to feel appropriately involved. A few ways to do this are –
- The impact of their work should be discussed directly with them, and be made a part of the feedback. While it is essential to point out the shortcomings for improvement, it is also important to praise them for the better aspects of their work. Feedback should always be constructive and not overly critical, the underlying idea always being to grow together.
- The partnership should be, as mentioned before, mutually beneficial – both personally and professionally. When you realise that the person has gotten familiar with your work, organic increment in the workload can be made. Apart from benefiting you, it also helps the freelancer grab hold of new skills and related knowledge. At the same time do not overexert overburden the worker, as the freelancer is only a part of the team and cannot be held accountable for everything.
- To create a positive attitude in teamwork, instead of making it a transactional relationship, try involving them in discussions and projects. Also try to consider their thoughts and suggestions about the work they do, as they know it inside out.
These tips and tricks should hold some amount of merit in trying to establish a positive work culture between the owner and the workers. If you feel that the freelancer has done a pretty good job working with you, recommend him or her to other acquaintances who might need their services. Building a positive work culture pays off in more ways than one, and when you have nothing to lose, why not practise better values at work?