How To Ensure A Smooth Onboarding Process For Freelancers

Over the past few years, the gig economy made its breakthrough into the business world. Companies are increasingly outsourcing their work, and traditional, full-time employment is making room for temporary and flexible jobs.

Almost 90% of Americans would consider freelancing or work independently, as opposed to full-time employment. However, if you act towards freelancers like they are a disposable workforce that is easily replaced, you can be sure that they will not put extra effort into the task you assigned to them.

Working with freelancers can be challenging, especially if a company expects them to jump in and fix their problems instantly, which is rarely the case. The future of this relationship depends on joined efforts. That’s why investing time into freelancer onboarding is important, and can be a crucial factor when it comes to business success.

Tip #1: Explain relevant internal processes. Companies must offer freelancers a well-rounded process during which they explain relevant internal procedures. The truth is, freelancers depend on client retention, and they are likely to invest their time and effort into making things work. However, they cannot magically understand unique business’s needs and are prone to make (often wrong) assumptions to meet the client’s expectations if they don’t get the proper introduction.

As an employer, it is in your best interest to share relevant information with freelancers. By relevant, I mean everything that impacts how they approach their tasks and engage with your core team like software tools that are being used, available communication channels, why and how to track time, what are the working hours and time zones of the people they need to collaborate with, what is their response time, etc.

Tip #2: Use video over text messaging. During the onboarding process, companies should ensure that nothing is left unsaid. One way to do it is to prepare handouts freelancers can easily access via Google Drive or similar service. It is important to mention that companies shouldn’t avoid video calls while onboarding freelancers. By exchanging text messages, we lose the vital part of communication: non-verbal signs. Emails can be interpreted in so many ways, while in-person interaction leaves no room for second-guessing.

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Tip #3: Set the point of reference person. By Dynamic Signal’s report, more than a third of employees have considered quitting due to poor communication. As soon as they find the right freelancers, companies should notify all people who might be working with them about what’s expected from this cooperation. Furthermore, it doesn’t hurt to explain why freelancers are hired and how is the collaboration supposed to play out.

One thing that will definitely ease the onboarding process is setting a point of reference person, someone freelancers can reach out to with any questions they might have. Ideally, this should be someone that is familiar with the internal processes and projects to which the freelancers are being included. If you give this task to an intern, you’ll end up with a person running around and interrupting different team members because they can’t give proper answers on their own.

The gig economy is the future for many businesses and we should expect that the number of freelance workers in the following years will continue to rise. While this does represent a challenge for businesses that want to efficiently manage their workforce, the adaptations they need to do aren’t anything groundbreaking. The first step in this adaptation process is devising a smooth onboarding process that will ensure the quality of their output remains high.

MORE: Blending a workforce for the modern age

Rob Press

Rob Press
Rob is a content marketing manager at Deputy, a workforce management platform.

Rob Press

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