Incentives and Freelance Workers: A 3-Point Guide
It’s summer and the heat’s never been worse. Sweat drips down your face, as an itch crawls up your back. It’s 115 degrees. The world closes around you. Blackness.
Then you take a sip of lemonade. Sweet, simple, iced lemonade.
The cool refreshment brings you back from what feels like the brink of death.
This feeling of overwhelming relief given by a sip of lemonade on a hot day, is similar to the feeling of hiring a freelancer for a project. They are a short-term solution to a short-term problem– a quick fix. Like a little sip of lemonade.
It is predicted that by 2025, the majority of workers in the United States will be freelancers. As a manager, you will likely find yourself managing freelancers, as well as your usual long-term employees, in the future of your career. Motivating and incentivizing these workers to do a great job will be essential.
But how do you incentivize a freelancer, seeing as they aren’t full-time employees and therefore, don’t receive company benefits? How do you ensure that a short-term employee gives their assignment their all, when they have relatively little to gain?
Here are some ways to increase the happiness of your freelancers, and therefore, ensure that they provide quality work for your company:
Avoid MicromanagementThere is a reason why a freelancer chooses to be a freelancer. They are self-starters who value their independence over anything else.The last thing that they want (particularly if they’re doing some sort of creative work) is for you to interfere or keep a constant eye on them.
Let them be.
You hired them because you were impressed with their work. They’re good at what they do, so trust them.
That being said, it only stands to reason that as a manager, you will be concerned about having materials completed and turned in, in a timely manner. Project management tools, such as Evernote, Trello, and Microsoft Project are all useful when it comes to managing freelance workers. These tools allow you to “check in” and ensure that tasks are being completed in a specific time frame, while also giving the freelancer their space.
Diverse Work, Not MoneyA recent Stanford study found that money did not prove to be a significant incentive for freelance workers. While this may seem counterintuitive, in the words of entrepreneur, Peter Daisyme:
“One of the reasons they freelance is because they may have personalities where they can get easily bored doing the same job day in and day out, and prefer the fast-paced nature of having different clients in varying industries who provide them with diverse assignments. It’s important to create this aspect of the freelance culture because it is what excites them and keeps them focused and working hard.”
If you’ve hired a freelance writer to work on blog posts, for example, you may want to increase their responsibilities over time. Writing infographics, whitepapers, producing social media content, graphic posts, scripts for videos- these are all excellent examples of diverse tasks that you could give to your freelancer to keep work challenging and interesting for them.
Long-Term FreelancersHiring freelance workers can be an optimal strategy, if it suits your business goals. There are many benefits to hiring freelancers, but the top ones include reduced employer risk, access to a larger talent pool, overall flexibility of workers, and the ability of your company to save money, since you don’t have to pay for full benefits for these workers.
However, due to the fact that freelancers aren’t given the benefits that full-time employees receive, it is important to throw something their way to make your company stand out as the place where freelancers want to lend their talents.
For instance, Microsoft recently announced that it will be giving their 2,000+ contractors and vendors 15 days of paid vacation and sick leave. A benefit like this won’t cost your company that much in the long run and will give you an edge over other companies looking to hire freelancers.
Other work-life benefits that you may consider offering to freelancers, include:
- Paid breaks: Over 71% of freelancers want paid breaks and only 28% of companies offer provide that.
- Health and well-being benefits: These benefits do not have to be as elaborate as they are for the full-time employees, but having something as an option for freelancers will make your company stand out.
- Paid time off: A recent Limeade survey found that providing paid-time off corresponds to a 13% increase in worker engagement.
By showing respect for your freelancer and their time through these actions and benefits, you will ensure that your company receives a positive reputation in the freelancer community. This will allow you to continue to utilize the diverse talent that hiring freelancers can provide to you, as well as keeping your employees happy and productive.
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