Is your company currently working with freelancers, consultants, contractors, or any type of contingent workforces? If the answer is no, you are either in the minority or will likely tap into this talent pool in the coming year.
The stats are staggering:
There are now over 55 million freelancers in the United States.
Freelancers represent more than one-third of the U.S. workforce and are well on their way to representing half by 2020.
Freelancers contributed $1 trillion dollars to the economy this past year.
This flexible workforce is growing quickly and forcing companies of all sizes to re-think their strategy for establishing and maintaining long-lasting relationships with these important and valuable contributors. With the average freelancer working for multiple companies at any given time, a poor experience with one company (e.g. a missed or delayed payment, inconsistent onboarding, or generally being treated as an outsider) can lead to a tarnished reputation for that company amongst a small, tight-knit community. For companies looking to consistently attract and retain the best freelance talent, it's important to re-think the way freelancers are viewed and treated within an organization.
Freelancers vs. Full Time Employees
Demystifying the Freelancer Relationship
An excellent place to start when thinking about building a sustainable freelancer-friendly culture is to understand what freelancers actually care about and value most. Here at Kalo, we set out to discover what's most important, from the individual freelancer's perspective. Last year, we launched the first-ever Best Companies to Freelance For Awards as a way to introduce an industry standard for gauging which companies get it right. The criteria for the rankings were developed from insights we gained from usage of our platform as well as a survey administered to thousands of freelancers across the country. The four categories deemed most important to freelancers, by the freelancers themselves, include:
These four areas can serve as a great jumping off point to help prioritize where you should focus your attention.
Get Started Building a Freelancer-Friendly Company
Building a freelancer-friendly culture within your company can seem like a daunting challenge, that's why we've come up with a few easy ways to help you get started and kickstart your company's stellar representation with freelancers.
- Create a Welcome Guide
To kick things off on the right foot, design and implement a great welcome guide as a first touchpoint for freelancers joining your company. Some things you may want to include - a sincere message thanking them for joining and remind them why their contribution matters, an outline of your communication process, expectations around approval and submission of work, and clarity around payment schedules.
- Get Payments Right
A business who builds a reputation as a timely payer will be more competitive when it comes to attracting freelance talent. A 2015 Freelancers Union report revealed that 44% of its members had experienced issues getting paid. It's no surprise that this is the easiest way to tarnish a relationship with a freelancer or start things off on a sour note. Take the time to build a payment strategy and infrastructure that works for each department including payroll, finance, legal, direct managers, that gets freelancers paid on time. An integrated approach to payments, tied closely to a comprehensive freelancer management system like Kalo works best
- Keep in Touch
By nature, freelance work is temporary. Whether it's a seasonal engagement or project work, once completed, be sure to maintain contact with the freelancers in your network. Don't wait until the next time you need help to reach out - try sending out a monthly newsletter, doing regular check ins to foster a sense of community, or keeping them informed of company updates as needed.
Download the Complete Guide
If you're interested in building a comprehensive, yet easy to follow, freelancer friendly strategy for your company, check out our free guide that covers:
- What makes a company desirable to work for from a freelancer perspective.
- What areas of your company and its processes need improvements or changes.
- How to implement these changes across your organization.