If you are currently utilizing (or considering using) freelancers for your business, you probably want to get the most out of the freelancers who you hire. You’d like them to be efficient, error-free and timely. Freelancers are directly tied to your bottom line, and there are ways you can help ensure that your investment is worthwhile. This entire series is dedicated to helping you succeed by giving you 8 hacks to get the most out of freelancers.
Below is what we have covered so far:
- Hack #1: Consistent Motivation
- Hack #2: Game Planning
- Hack #3: Frequent Planned Meetings
- Hack #4: Proper Onboarding
- Hack #5: Set Goals and Assign Responsibility
- Hack #6: Implement and Maintain Communication Processes
Today we are discussing the importance of both giving and receiving constant feedback and the impact it can have on a freelancer’s skill set.
Your relationship with freelancers should be a constant feedback loop. You should be giving consistent comments to freelancers, and they should be giving consistent comments back to you. It is up to you to set the stage and make this loop possible and comfortable for both parties.
Why Feedback is Critical
Feedback is one of the most effective tools you have for promoting change and encouraging improvement, so it is critical that you use it for your benefit. Here is why:
Feedback will improve performance
Constructive criticism will help freelancers grow and develop, and it will help you improve your processes and onboarding for future enhancements and efficiencies. Positive feedback will also help improve performance because it lets freelancers know that you value their work and efforts, thus creating a desire to maintain high quality output.
Feedback will motivate
Asking freelancers for feedback can actually motivate them to perform. People like to feel valued and appreciated. They like to know that their opinions and feedback matter to you.
Feedback is strategic
By investing time in freelancers and accepting feedback about how their experience is working with your business, you actually can strategically advance your business. You will create strong relationships, keep everyone aligned to your goals, develop improvements, and foster continued learning within your organization.
How to Give Effective Feedback
There are many ways to start a feedback loop with a remote freelancer. While you may need to find the method that works best depending on your unique situation, here are a few ideas for you to try.
Periodic Scheduled Meetings
Set up periodic meetings to specifically review ongoing work or projects. These can be deep dive reviews where you follow a specific structure, or simply a casual conversation. The idea here is that this meeting is on the calendar so everyone comes prepared. Ask remote freelancers to come to this meeting prepared with their own feedback and suggestions for you to improve the process or resolve any potential conflicts. Don’t forget to designate a portion of this meeting to positive recognition as well.
Every time you have a conversation with freelancers, it is an opportunity to provide feedback. This can be effective whether it is a scheduled phone call or a casual Skype conversation. If you notice something has gone wrong or is beginning to stray from your requirements, the best thing to do is provide immediate feedback. You don’t want to wait for the next scheduled meeting. A quick conversation is all you probably need for things to get back on track. The same rules apply if you like something that a freelancer did. Don’t wait too long before giving him or her a virtual pat on the back for a job well done.
After Action Reviews
An effective way to find ways to improve on both sides is to schedule after action review meetings immediately following large projects. These meetings are designated to look into a specific project or product. The objective of this meeting is to elicit feedback from all freelancers while the work is fresh on everyone’s mind. Questions you should ask are the following:
- What went well?
- What didn’t go well?
- Where can we improve?
Depending on your unique situation, you may use one of these methods or a combination of methods to foster open communication. The key is to create an environment for a remote freelancer to feel comfortable both giving and receiving feedback. By doing so, you will improve the relationship and the quality of work from a remote freelancer.
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.