Companies today are more likely to use freelancers more than ever. It makes sense too. Freelancing allows companies to bring in expertise without the cost of recruitment and hiring. Just occasionally though, a company will encounter a freelancer that they really want to bring onboard full-time.
These freelancers consistently produce work of a high quality, deliver on time, and get on well with the rest of the team.
Let’s say you’re one of those companies, and you’ve identified a freelancer that you’d absolutely love to bring onboard full time. How should you go about doing it?
Draw them in
Sometimes making a freelancer a full-time part of your team is as simple as giving them an offer, but sometimes you have to take a slower, more considered approach.
If they’re not already doing their projects for you from your office, ask them if they’d like to.
Invite them to company functions and sound out their ideas on upcoming projects.
You should, in other words, make them feel like a part of the team.
Offer them what they’re worth
While many freelancers struggle to get by from month to month, the best ones can earn far more than they ever did in their office jobs while doing a fraction of the work.
If you want them to give up that, you have to be prepared to pony up. At the very least, you should look at average salaries for their position and beat them.
When it comes to persuading a talented freelancer to come onboard full-time, perhaps the most powerful weapon in any company’s arsenal is stability. After all, even the best freelancer can lose a client without warning. And even if they have a good base of stable clients, some of those clients might not always pay on time.
Without being mean, you can play on those instabilities as you try to convince your favourite freelancer to come onboard.
If you’ve never had to cut back on staff, make sure the freelancer knows that. Also make sure that you pay them on time every month.
Stability isn’t just about salaries though. If your company gives employees medical and retirement benefits, make sure your targeted freelancer knows it.
Knowing that they won’t have to think about those things can go a long way to convincing someone to join your team.
Respect their lifestyle
This one may require you to do a little digging. If the freelancer you’re targeting was forced into freelancing by layoffs at their previous company, then you shouldn’t have too hard a time convincing them to come back into an office.
If, on the other hand, they started freelancing because they found offices too stressful or because they want to spend more time with their kids, you have to respect that.
If you really want that freelancer to come on full-time, allow them to work remotely or tell them that they only need to be in the office for ‘core’ hours.
Naturally, you wouldn’t want the rest of your staff to feel that anyone was getting special attention.
It might therefore be a good time to look at your remote and flexible work policies.
Manage your own expectations
Even if you do all of the above and more, your offer might still be rejected. That’s okay, some people really just love their freelance lifestyle. The freedom to walk away from a difficult client is sometimes much more important than job security.
If you are rejected, be mature about it. All the skills that made you give the freelancer an offer are still there, don’t stop using them just because they didn’t accept your offer.
Importantly, keep the door open. Who knows? In a year or two, that avowed freelancer might be ready to come back into the office.