Surely, a freelancer DOESN’T need an onboarding program? That was maybe your first thought when you clicked on this blog post. But that’s not true: As freelancers grow to be a bigger part of the labor market, onboarding of freelancers and temporary employees is really important – both now and in the future.
As comprehensive onboarding of freelancers will benefit your company. For when freelancers are well-onboarded and know your way of doing things, they will feel more enthused and also be more loyal and effective in your working procedures.
Onboarding of freelancers is not just about giving a proper briefing to a project they have to work on, but about connecting them to your company culture.
How You Onboard Freelancers in 3 Steps:
1. Intro: Create a Visual Connection to the Team
Instead of a phone call and e-mail correspondences, it creates a better connection if the freelancer can see the people he or she is going to work with. It gives extra on the loyalty account and besides the freelancer will communicate more openly, the better he or she knows the colleagues’ physical expressions instead of just their way of communicating in writing.
2. Access to Digital Pre- and Onboarding Program
Your freelancers also need to know about your company’s history, mission, and vision. Instead of having a long oral presentation for the freelancers, which can in itself be resource-demanding, you can give them access to your digital pre-or onboarding program.
Freelancers can take the digital onboarding when it fits in their calendar, and they can easily go back during the project and follow up on information about your company if need be.
Another tip is to make the digital onboarding vivid and visual, so the freelancers more easily get the knowledge about your company they need, anchored. Besides, it is effective that the freelancers have your values and vision back in their minds during the project.
This way, freelancers can better keep everything on track and make sure that the project contributes to that you reach your goals as a company.
3. Technology, File Sharing, Internal Programs
All the technical need to be completely in order before a freelancer begins working for you. As it is frustrating, both for you and for the freelancer, if the project has been started and then it quickly drowns in administrative delays. Make sure to also give access to all your communication channels, programs, and file sharing systems before project start.
When a freelancer has access to your internal message system, it will be easier to ask questions about the project and vice versa you can also easily share updates about the project and make sure that the freelancer is up to speed.
Matching of expectations is also really important for the freelancer. It is a good idea to collect all the relevant documents about the project in your file sharing system, which the freelancer gets access to.
That makes the freelancer able to easily follow up on e.g. the timeline for the project, which partners need to be included during and which programs the freelancer can use to solve special aspects of the task.
Consequences of NOT Onboarding Freelancers
Freelancers can to a higher degree need onboarding than permanent employees, as they often don’t have the possibility of popping in at the manager with questions. If a freelancer doesn’t have proper knowledge about the project or a good grip of your values and needs a company, there will, therefore, be a bigger risk of him/her making mistakes.
Besides, freelancers can potentially create a crisis for your company, if they don’t live up to your rules when it comes to everything from complying with the GDPR regulation to your internal ethical set of rules about receiving gifts from external providers.
Remember also that freelancers who work for you will also reflect your brand publicly. If they don’t have a good grip of your values and don’t feel particularly loyal to you, there is a risk of them speaking negatively about you to potential customers or create misunderstandings that can hurt your brand.