There’s a generational shift in the way people are working. In fact, many companies, particularly startups, are increasingly hiring on-demand workers to meet their work needs rather than full-time workers.
Up to 35 percent of the US workforce is now freelancing, delivering over 55 million freelancers with different skillsets, including web design, accounting, copywriting, programming, and more. In the U.K, there are over 4.8 million self-employed workers, and this number is growing every year.
While working with freelancers is cost-effective and convenient, maintaining the company values and culture remains a challenge for many companies. If you work with freelancers, it’s vital to realize that some of them may never visit your office. Therefore, you need a cohesive and inclusive company culture that encourages your workforce, including freelancers, to engage with your core business values.
Employees vs Freelancers
Employers usually aim to operate a fully-functional workforce under the same roof. This allows them to promote teamwork, reinforce corporate culture, and maintain standards. While this is easy when managing employees, bringing in freelancers require proper planning for seamless inclusion.
It’s common for employers to have culture statements that cater to their in-house teams only. So, your first step is to update your culture statement to acknowledge freelancers as key members of your team. Their work impacts your company, so they need to receive recognition for the work they do.
Organization and Management
Even when working with a freelancer platform, it’s vital to note that organization and management still rest with you. Consequently, you need to focus on maintaining company culture on an extensive scale, even if you have management challenges.
A deep understanding of your company values and vision lets you have meaningful and productive interactions with freelance workers. It allows you to encourage and instill your desired actions, behavior, and style of communication. This means you have to be a shining example of your company’s values and vision.
It’s easier for freelancers to understand your goals when the management sets clear and precise objectives, which are aligned to the company culture.
Freelancer Team Integration
Your company values and culture should make it easy for you to integrate freelancers into your team. The processes and experiences should be similar to how you would hire your employees. Focus on their skills and strengths, and then use this information to delegate tasks that they can complete.
You should have defined roles for freelancers to allow them to understand their responsibilities within the team. It’s also vital to make sure that they settle in their roles. You can do this by sharing all the relevant materials with them or pairing them with a seasoned employee to guide them.
While working with freelancers might seem like a labor faucet that you can easily turn on or off, their contribution is still relevant to your company’s growth. So, your company culture and values should aim to make it easier for them to work in their respective roles.
The freelance market is rising, and the U.S freelance economy is valued at a whopping $1.2 trillion. The key enablers of this enormous growth include easy access to different skillsets and the cost-effective processes involved in hiring and working with freelancers.
Even more importantly, the role of freelancers is changing. They’re no longer just an extension of your team, but rather valuable assets that have a huge impact on a company’s growth. Therefore, your company values and culture should aim to acknowledge, appreciate, and reward their contributions. Freelancers are part of your overall talent strategy, so they must have a positive experience.