The Why and How of Involving Freelancers in Company Culture
By AL Walker, Last updated: 2023-01-11 (originally published on 2021-08-26)
Company culture is an important tool in building a successful business environment.
The right culture breeds loyalty from your employees attracts new talent and even helps to boost overall performance.
Unfortunately, as the workplace becomes more diverse, with remote and flexible work emerging as the new normal, many managers are struggling with company culture.
One of the biggest challenges today’s business leaders face is figuring out how to get freelancers, contractors, and outside team members involved in company culture.
Fortunately, we have some tips to help.
Why Do Freelancers Need to Be Involved?
It can take significant time and effort to ensure people feel like they’re a part of a shared company culture. You might wonder why this process is necessary when working with freelancers—particularly if you don’t know how long they’re going to be collaborating with your team.
The reality is that freelancers are becoming a more common and consistent part of the modern workforce. Companies with a need for flexible, scalable talent are relying more heavily on freelancers to fill the gap.
If you build a reputation as a company that includes contractors and freelancers in company culture, you’ll be more likely to attract talent when you need it.
Freelancers who feel like they’re a real part of the team are also more likely to contribute better work.
Developing an inclusive company culture makes all employees feel more engaged and committed to delivering the best performance.
Simple steps like maintaining consistent communication and delivering the right onboarding experience can lead to better results on your projects.
3 Steps for Getting Freelancers Involved in Company Culture
There are many ways for companies to strengthen their connections with freelance and remote employees.
Here are some of the most important things you can do.
Master the Onboarding Process
Whether you’re employing a freelancer for long-term or short-term work, onboarding is essential.
A good onboarding strategy will introduce your external team member to the specific goals of your business, your brand values, and even what kind of metrics you’ll be measuring to determine the success of a project.
Today, much of the onboarding process is likely to happen online. Technology can help you to ensure you create the right initial launching pad for the newcomer.
Make sure your onboarding process includes:
Introductions to essential team members: Introduce your freelancers to the people they’re going to be working closely with, so they can begin to build relationships.
Demos of crucial tools and software: Give everyone access to the tools they’re going to use and offer training on how to leverage them.
A definition of your company culture: Let your new team members know what your company stands for, and what kind of values you have when choosing collaborators.
This will ensure a smooth transition for your freelancers.
Train Managers and Support Constant Communication
Team managers may need additional guidance to keep track of their freelance workers. With a little extra support when you start hiring freelancers, supervisors will be ready to empower all kinds of remote workers.
One of the most important things to train your supervisors and team leaders on is constant communication.
When you’re working with freelancers, it’s easy to forget about keeping them engaged with regular meetings, catch-up sessions, and discussions.
Make sure you have a plan in place for regularly checking in with freelancers through video meetings, phone calls, and other methods.
This regular communication will help your freelancers feel like part of the team while reducing the
risk of misunderstandings and mistakes.
It might even help to invite your freelancers into all-hands meetings and full team discussions from time to time so they can offer an outsider’s perspective and build new relationships.
Create a Feedback Loop
Feedback loops are essential in creating and maintaining a good company culture. With feedback from you, your freelancer can learn more about what they need to do to demonstrate the specific values and skills required for your company.
Positive feedback is also an excellent way to keep freelancers engaged and committed to your business. After all, everyone likes being recognized for their work.
As well as regularly offering useful feedback to your freelancers, ensure they have the option to give you feedback too.
Collecting information from your freelancer about what it’s like to work with your brand could give you an insight into how to make this and future relationships better. Ask your freelancer to let you know when they feel like they’re not getting enough support to offer their best work and ask for their suggestions.
An exit interview when you stop working with a specific freelancer can be an excellent way to collect information about what you could do better.
Include Freelancers in Your Company Culture
As freelancers, contractors, and other kinds of employees become more popular in the world of work, companies must ensure they have the right management strategy in place.
Keeping your entire workforce engaged and involved in your company culture is an excellent way to improve your chances of high staff engagement levels and better productivity.
What’s more, knowing how to include everyone in your company culture, including your freelancers, should ensure you have an easier time attracting people who want to work with your business in the future. An inclusive culture really improves your reputation as an employer.
Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer, editor, and a thriving content marketing consultant from Portland. Being self-employed, she does her best to stay on top of the current trends in business and tech. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter @LisaBMichaels.
This article does not constitute legal advice.
The opinions expressed in the column above represent the author’s own.
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