Do you want to be able to deal with freelancer issues quickly?
Every business owner I know would say, “Yes!” Issues take up time and energy, and never in a productive way. The sooner freelancer issues can be resolved, the sooner everyone can go back to focusing on business operations and growth. You can’t ignore issues, no matter how tempting it might be to do anything but deal with them. The best solution is to get freelancer issues efficiently resolved so that all the kinks are ironed out and you can enjoy smooth sailing moving forward.
The blueprint to manage freelancer issues consists of the following 5 steps. Let these steps guide you as you deal with an issue and move towards resolution.
Step 1: Gather the Facts
What do you so as soon as freelancer issues come to your attention? Instinct would usually dictate immediate action. Before doing anything directly, however, it is important to know the facts surrounding the situation. You cannot resolve any freelancer issues quickly if you don’t know the full scope.
Find out who was involved. If you need to ask, ask calmly and openly. This gives them the confidence that you are interested in their perspective, and will encourage honesty. Whether the issue had a small or large impact on your business, solving it and making sure it doesn’t happen again requires patience and respect.
Step 2: Talk in Private
Set up a time to talk with each individual involved. It might seem more efficient to blast the whole group with questions and admonitions. This is easier, but will not help you resolve any freelancer issues. Talk to them individually about any difficulties they are having. Keep in mind the initial stories you heard, but don’t control the conversation. Allow each person to explain freely what they experienced that led up to the issues at hand.
What if more than one person is involved and the individual stories don’t make up a sensible whole? Ask yourself if you need to dig a little deeper. Most of the time, you won’t need to know every detail of freelancer issues to get things fixed. Focus on asking about the factors that led to the issue rather than who did what. This objective approach is more efficient than getting into details that will tend to lead to playing the impractical blame game.
Step 3: Give Feedback
If you need to, take some time to review all the information and understand what went wrong. Go back to each individual and give feedback about the freelancer issues. Be honest, but remain calm so you can both focus on positive change. Focus again not on mistakes but on taking responsibility. Reinforce your expectations about the tasks that you want each person to be responsible for. Communicate the areas where you need to see improvements.
Make sure each worker is clear on your feedback and how to move forward. Ask them also if there’s anything they want to add. They might have been hesitant to share certain things, or there might be other factors that come into play vis-à-vis the improvements. Engage their responses so they can feel a healthy sense of responsibility rather than just taking orders.
Step 4: Monitor Progress
Don’t forget to monitor the resolution of all freelancer issues. If you have taken the previous steps, they will most likely resolve without further action. It is still important, however, to make sure that you are on top of things.
Check back with workers after a week to see how things are going with the new adjustments made. You don’t have to tell workers that they are on probation. Knowing that you are checking in, however, motivates them to stay on the ball. It also allows them a chance to communicate any further challenges. If you need to make more adjustments, monitor for another week. This way, you can avoid the same or future freelancer issues from happening.
Step 5: Retain or Rehire
After the probation period, confirm that your systems and processes are running smoothly. If all who were involved are now working well, then you can take a step back. Let them know that you are pleased with the positive changes that they have made. Allow them to proceed with confidence that they are doing well.
In a few cases, freelancer issues will not be resolved after this 5-step process. Dealing with a worker who has not improved is not going to be beneficial for you or your business. If you are confident that you have taken the steps and the worker has not adjusted, then it’s time to let them go. You need to make room for a worker who is a better fit for your expectations and business needs.
Are you worried about the investment that you’ve made in that worker or how hiring a new one will set you back? Consider the setbacks that you are going to face if you retain this worker. Now balance these against the challenges of onboarding a new worker – but one who is more aligned with your goals and working style from the get-go. Then make your decision.
Try it Out
Whether or not you are facing a freelancer issue right now, it’s important to be prepared. Think of the most recent freelancer issue you had to deal with. Go through each step now and imagine how it would play out.
Prepare for potential road blocks, like how you should approach the parties involved, or how you would know if someone is holding back information. Consider how well you know the people you’ve hired. Think about your level of rapport and how this might be contributing to freelancer issues rather than their prevention and positive resolution.
Most freelancer issues will never happen to begin with if you maintain strong communication and build professional relationships with the workers you hire. Set expectations, work with them, and always be available.
Was this helpful? Take note of these 5 steps and have them ready whenever you face freelancer issues. Plan out when you are going to take the steps as soon as one arises. Mark the dates in your calendar with the step names so you can deal with freelancer issues efficiently and monitor them to their full resolution.
If you need to rehire or need more help, sign up with FreeeUp and submit a worker request. You’ll get introduced to a suitable candidate from the top 1% of global freelancers.
Julia Valdez is a professional teacher and decades-long lover of the art of words on paper, the stage and the big screen. She spends most of her time doing freelance content and project management, community volunteer work with the Philippine Advocates for Resilient Communities, adventuring with the Greenhouse Christian Fellowship, and sharing lots of laughs over little crazy things.