Effectively managing freelancers is key to staying competitive in the modern world where contingent workforces are becoming more common. Many businesses are finding that hiring remote contractors is more advantageous than ever before as the perks of this arrangement include lowering costs, accessing a vast talent pool, increasing flexibility, and scaling easily based on your hiring needs.
The benefits of having a remote workforce are clear, but managing a remote workforce can be quite challenging. Managing freelancers, remote workers, and independent contractors is like a game of chess. You need to plan ahead and know all the moves before you make them.
While digital agencies have been outsourcing work online for decades, the recent rise of distributed teams around the globe has changed how organizations approach working with freelancers. This article looks at five tips that will help you get better results while managing your freelancers.
Get Clear About What You Need
The essential first move in effectively managing freelancers is clearly understanding the project you’re hiring for and what you need in a freelancer or contingent workforce. By understanding the deliverables from the start, you’ll find hiring and managing remote workers much more effective.
This clarity will not only help you make sure you receive what you’re looking for, but it will help freelancers understand whether or not they are the right fit for your project. Make sure they know why they want to be a part of the project by making it clear what you’re looking for.
Let’s say your project requires many phone or video calls. In this case, it’s best to look for a freelancer who is in a similar time zone as you or the team they’re working with. Although, thanks to the flexibility of freelancing, you may be able to find someone who is used to taking calls outside of normal working hours.
Hiring managers need to consider the role they are hiring for carefully to determine if it is best fit for a full-time employee, part-time employee, or contract worker. Read our recent article on the ABC test to understand the criteria for employee classification.
Establish a Talent Pool and Recruitment Workflow
When managing freelancers, it’s helpful to identify a talent pool and set up an efficient recruitment process. A messy acquisition undertaking will lead to compound effects later on.
The process of finding freelancers is a daunting task. There’s no shortage of options today, and you’ll need to take the time early on to make sure that your process for sourcing talent is as efficient and effective as possible. This will help you not only find more quality freelancers, but also identify them faster when they do become available.
Freelancing platforms help make recruitment workflows a breeze.
We recommend experimenting with freelancing platforms to find the one that suits your needs best. After you’ve found your platform match, create a system around how you connect with potential hires so you make a great impression on each individual. Even if you don’t hire someone the first time around, you may end up needing them later.
Freelancing platforms like Upwork and Freelancer make it easy to find labor at competitive rates. But if you’re looking for more specialized talent, we recommend Toptal, Catalant, and We Are Rosie. Click here to see a full list of our picks for the best places to hire freelancers, contractors, and gig workers.
Find a Freelancer Management System
Finding a freelancer is only half the battle. Hiring and keeping a freelancer is another story. Improve the safety of your business and the experience of your freelancer by using a Freelancer Management System or International PEO.
Digital transformation and human capital management strategies have started to emerge as a way for companies to provide competitive advantage, increase customer engagement, achieve operational efficiencies, and reduce costs. Utilizing this technology is not only necessary for managing freelancers, but it’s imperative because of the complications that arise when you are dealing with workers all around the world due to tax and compliance issues.
Finding a Freelancer Management System is a must if you want to hire legally, pay promptly, and protect against fraud. With an AI-powered Freelancer Management System like GreenLight, you can easily pay your contractors without having to worry about paperwork or setting up an entity in another country, and you can get everything done in one place.
Time is money and handling payment should be automated with GreenLight so you stay safe and compliant. Using GreenLight, contractors feel they can rely on you, and this is vital for keeping strong relationships with great freelancers.
Give Clear Expectations, Context, and Deadlines
When hiring freelancers, you should always set clear expectations for the project from the start so there are no surprises down the line. Create a contract that specifies expectations, milestones, deliverables, payment terms, and other important details. Freelancers often have many projects happening at the same time, so it’s important to give them written, detailed instructions.
Give your freelancers context for the project. Don’t just list the outcomes you’re looking for, but include the mission and purpose behind the project so the contractor can become invested in why they are helping you. Invite the freelancer to feel like part of the team, and you’ll build a relationship that pays dividends.
One of the economic perks of hiring freelancers is that you can track their deliverables to make for a very clear exchange of value. Inside the GreenLight platform, you can even pay contractors on a deliverable basis. This strategy is guaranteed to maximize the ROI of your hires.
Track Project Progress
You’ve hired the freelancer and the expectations have been set. Now it’s time to make sure the progress stays on schedule and the work is completed accurately.
Project management is the key to making sure projects are completed on time, within budget, and with the desired results. Project management systems are quickly evolving along with human management systems.
Here are a few proven ways to effectively track the progress of your freelancers:
- Use Airtable or or this free Gantt Chart Template for Excel to track progress
- Create a project timeline with milestones and deadlines.
- Track hours worked on the project by freelancers and team members with a free time tracking app like Toggl.
- Know or have easy access to the time zone your freelancers are in with a Time Zone Converter like Savvy Time, if you use Chrome.
- Keep an ongoing list of tasks that need to be completed for the project.
- Update your progress as you go.
- Communicate regularly with your freelancers to make sure they are on track and know what is expected of them.
- Provide feedback on work in progress.
Since project management and freelancer management go hand in hand, we’ve set up GreenLight in such a way that you’ll be able to manage your workforce according to the project management system you have in place.
As more companies rely on freelancers and contingent workforces, effectively managing freelancers will increasingly become a priority. We are excited to see the evolution of talent management moving forward so we can continue to make it effortless for both the contractor and the employer to get the results they’re looking for.
Schedule a call today with our team of experts to maximize your efficiency managing your freelancers around the world.