Hiring and managing remote freelancers doesn’t have to be rocket science. We have prepared this new blog series to let you in on 3 essential secrets to building a great group of online freelancers and managing them for effective performance. Last week we discussed how to master the interview to ensure you are hiring the best freelancers. This week we will cover how to make sure that new hires integrate flawlessly in order to make them productive and successful right from the beginning.
Onboarding is a Must
It doesn’t matter if freelancers are across the hall or across the world; proper onboarding is essential to creating an effective freelancer that can integrate flawlessly. The difference with remote freelancers is that you can’t jump up and run to their cubicle to show them how to do something whenever they need help. Because you aren’t able to communicate face to face, onboarding online freelancers looks a little different, but it is equally (if not more) important.
Take advantage of technology when onboarding remote freelancers to integrate flawlessly. In today’s world, you are able to capture your screen or upload videos and PowerPoint presentations for remote freelancers to access. You can get creative and build set up packages and new-hire onboarding programs. You can chat online or set up onboarding conference calls. The options are endless. However you choose to onboard new hries, always check for understanding following the onboarding. If a new freelancer is still unclear, continue providing onboarding until he is confident in his abilities to perform the task.
When remote freelancers are in different countries and time zones, getting on the phone can be tricky. However, being able to communicate is key when you hire virtual freelancers. Without consistent feedback and communication, remote freelancers may get off track or become unmotivated.
Luckily, there are multiple different ways to communicate no matter where in the world you sit. Email is great because you can send an email any time of the day, and it will be waiting in a freelancer’s inbox the next time they log in. While email is effective, it is also important to regularly touch base over the phone and with video conferencing. It adds a personal touch and allows remote freelancers to feel connected. Set up recurring phone calls and video chats on a regular basis in addition to consistent emails. Use a variety of communication techniques for the best results.
Create a Collaborative Vibe
The online freelancer is just as much part of the company as anyone else, so do not forget to include them as often as possible. To integrate flawlessly, people need to connect on a personal level. This also increases both productivity and work satisfaction. When you hire remote freelancers, create a collaborative vibe from the start. Introduce a new hire to everyone through email and video if possible. Encourage them all to communicate and build personal relationships. Conduct annual meetings where all of the freelancers can get together. If that isn’t possible to do in person, create a virtual event where freelancers can kick back, relax and get to know one another.
Show the Value
One of the challenges of hiring remote freelancers is keeping them motivated from afar. It is easy to appreciate and include freelancers that work in the office with you. In-office freelancers can see with their own eyes how they contribute to the company’s bottom line. But remote freelancers need to feel valued too. Online freelancers are a part of the company, and their work directly relates to the success of your business … so make sure they know it. Making them feel valued is critical.
Ask for freelancers’ opinions, include them in all of your company communications, and show interest in their personal lives outside of work. Tell them directly how their role and the work they do contributes to the growth of the company. Remind them frequently how much you value their quality of work. Recognize them when they do well. When freelancers feel valued, they will work harder because they will be dedicated to your success.
Integrate Flawlessly for Success
Integrating remote freelancers is essential to the success of both you and the new hire. If you fail to integrate properly, the new hire will quickly lose motivation, be unsure how to perform his tasks effectively, and have poor work satisfaction. This means that your investment will not result in the value you had hoped for. With the right techniques, a freelancer will be able to integrate flawlessly and you will have them up and running in no time. They will feel valued, understand how their role impacts the success of your company, and feel like a part of the company. Not only will they flourish as a freelancer, but your business’s bottom line will thank you.
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.