Companies use freelancers for a variety of reasons. For some, it’s about saving costs on hiring and training. For others, it’s about bringing in expertise for a big project. By the same token, different companies have different approaches to freelancing. Some companies just want the freelancer to come in, do the job, and get out. Other companies would rather build a relationship, paving the way for them to use those freelancers more frequently, or even bring them onboard full time?
If your company wants to take the latter approach, how should you go about doing it? How, in other words, should you make a freelancer feel like part of the team?
Introduce them to your whole team
Look, part of the appeal of freelancing is that you don’t have to deal with office politics (unless you have a particularly fractious relationship with your cat). But when it comes to working on projects that require collaboration, it pays to know the people you’re working with.
In those instances, it seriously pays for companies to bring freelancers in to their offices so that they can meet the employees they’ll be working with.
These meetings shouldn’t just be about the work either. Set aside some time for everyone to bond informally.
You can keep doing this throughout the course of the project too. A couple of coffee shop meetings can go a long way toward making a freelancer feel like they haven’t just had a ton of work dumped on them because your company can’t cope with it.
Keep collaboration open
Once you’ve introduced a freelancer to your team, there’s also plenty you can do to keep collaboration open.
Rather than sending the occasional email update to the freelancer, why not make them part of a Slack group around the project in question.
Granted, this may not be necessary if you’re just getting a quick piece of copy or a design tweak, but it’s immensely useful if they’re going to be working on something big.
Share your wins with them
If a project that you’ve used a freelancer on goes really well, why not share the client feedback with them?
It’ll make them feel like their work is actually appreciated, rather than just adequate enough to earn their fee.
And if the project turns out to be lucrative and you have a celebration with your team, invite the freelancer to come along.
Remember, you brought them on because you didn’t have the resources to do everything the project required in-house. The least you can do is acknowledge the efforts of any outside resources you brought in.
Remember their birthday
Most people in full-time positions will tell you that they’d love to spend their birthdays at home. People who freelance will, by contrast, tell you it’s overrated.
After all, most of your friends are likely to be at work anyway, making the whole day rather lonely.
At least at work, you’ll get some good wishes, maybe a little cake, and potentially a gift. It’s one of the few things freelancers miss about corporate life.
If your company’s used a freelancer a couple of times, we can pretty much guarantee that you’ll earn some serious good will if you remember their birthday.
A card will do, but if you’ve got the resources why not send them a small present?
Invite them to the end-of-year party
Look, not everyone is a fan of end-of-year parties. For some people they’re a source of real anxiety. This is especially true if they lean towards introversion, which many freelancers do.
That said, not every freelancer feels this way. Some enjoy a party, if only because it gives them a chance to actually get dressed.
Either way, any freelancer you’ve worked with during the year will appreciate the thought behind inviting them to your end-of-year party.
How does your company make freelancers feel like part of the team? Let us know in the comments section below.