Freelancer motivation is key to business success.
In today’s technological world, the number of remote freelancers is on the rise. Companies ranging from the very small to the very large are realizing the incredible value that these freelancers bring to the table. From having access to the highest quality freelancers to saving bucket loads of money, a remote workforce is proving to be the secret ingredient to many businesses’ success.
In order to successfully hire remote freelancers, you will have to embrace the differences of this type of business model. One of the challenges faced with virtual work is freelancer motivation — keeping them engaged when you don’t see them on a daily basis. While the approach may be slightly different, the overall message is the same. Follow these tips, and you will be able to maintain freelancer motivation to encourage them to work hard for you.
This post is the first of 8 in a series titled “8 Hacks to Get the Most Out of Remote Freelancers.” The series will cover 8 essential hacks that you can take to motivate, manage, and optimize the freelancers working for your company from outside of your office.
1. Ensure Remote Freelancers Feel Valued
Remote freelancers are directly related to the success of your business. It is critical that they are valued the same way you would value a worker who sat outside your office. Ask them for their opinions, include them in communications, and show interest in their personal lives. When freelancers feel valued, they will be dedicated to the success of your company. Their work will be higher quality, and they will go the extra mile to help you out when you need it.
2. Trust Freelancers
It can sometimes be tempting to check in on remote freelancers because you don’t physically see them working. You may wonder if the work is getting done. However, micromanaging will only send the message that you do not trust them. Nothing kills motivation as quickly as micromanaging. Unless a freelancer proves that they require a tighter leash, be confident that you chose well when you hired them. Give freelancers clear task descriptions and due dates and request updates at key project milestones. In between updates, give a freelancer the space to do the work. After all, that is what you hired them to do. The bottom line is that trust builds motivation, and a lack of trust destroys it. Trust freelancers, and they will trust you back.
3. Rewards and Recognition
Recognition is one of the best ways to motivate freelancers. All people desire recognition no matter where they do their work, and studies prove that rewarded freelancers show greater loyalty and are eager to give more. Recognition can be easily overlooked in a virtual environment, but forgetting to do so will result in low engagement and motivation. When you hire remote freelancers, it is always essential to let them know when they do a good job. It isn’t quite as easy as a pat on the back when they are miles away, but it can (and should) be done. Consider occasionally sending a physical reward or an online gift certificate when a freelancer delivers an excellent product. If you don’t have the resources to give a monetary reward, consider giving a remote freelancer a glowing recommendation or featuring them on your company blog. Your efforts will pay off big dividends when it comes to motivation.
4. Development and Promotion
Remote freelancers are often some of the smartest and most career oriented people. They are driven and constantly looking for ways to improve their skills and attract clients. If you want to motivate great freelancers to continue working for you, look for ways to develop them professionally. Offer to mentor or coach them. Invest in advanced onboarding material for them. Build and cultivate a professional relationship that will motivate them to stay with you for the long haul.
Advancement is another key motivator for remote freelancers. Most people will eventually lose motivation if there is no chance for promotion. It is important to let remote freelancers know that they do have a career path with your business. Make it clear that future promotions are available and watch their performance soar.
5. Communication is Key
Communication can be tricky with remote freelancers, especially those in a different time zone. While it is sometimes impossible to have everyone working at the same time, being able to communicate efficiently is key to helping virtual freelancers feel connected. Thanks to technology, it is easy to communicate with people around the world. It is important to communicate and keep everyone involved. Use technology to your advantage. While email and chat are great ways to communicate, regularly touch base via phone or video chat. Not only does this add in a more personal touch, remote freelancers will feel more connected when they see your face and hear your voice. Connected freelancers will be more motivated because they feel the “human side” of you and everyone else involved in your business.
The freelancer motivation is directly tied to your business’s bottom line. If freelancers are not dedicated and engaged, it could mean the difference between success and failure. While the approach is slightly different with remote freelancers than in-house hires, there are many ways to motivate freelancers who aren’t sitting at the desk next to yours. If you take the time to engage freelancers and keep them motivated, your business as a whole will thrive.
Melissa Ricker is a nuclear engineer and a professional freelance writer specializing in career growth, technical writing and online entrepreneurship. She writes a blog, Engineered Motherhood, for working mothers who need help balancing career growth and time management.