Onboarding, a freelance expert, goes above and beyond merely hiring them and getting them to start working on a given project. Onboarding is more of devising an effective method of improving the expert’s general enthusiasm, effectiveness and loyalty to your company.
To understand why it is essential to take the time and effort to onboard a freelance expert in the right way, let’s first take a step back and approach the issue from the perspective of hiring a full-time employee, because regardless of whether someone is a full-time, part-time or freelance worker the same principals apply in order to achieve the best results for the company.
Numerous surveys state that companies with an influential onboarding culture often retain more than ninety percent of their new employees and on the other side employees who have positive onboarding regimen are more than seventy percent likely to continue working with the employer for at least three years.
Unlike your full-time permanent employees, freelancers who are working remotely cannot just pop into your office and seek clarification or address any concerns they might have. There is zero room for errors in such a setting, so a robust onboarding process for freelance experts will go a long way in aligning them in the right direction from day one.
We have outlined below six steps you can implement when onboarding a freelance expert into your company.
- Communicate with the team about the incoming freelance expert
A common mistake that most employers make is that they quickly introduce a freelancer to an existing team without taking the time to conduct an induction before their arrival.
Before a new freelance expert joins your company, it is important to notify all the relevant people with whom they will be working with as well as senior management. Ideally, the notification ought to be both in person and in writing to eliminate misunderstandings, as a recent survey revealed that more than a third of freshly recruited freelance workers often end up leaving a company because there was a lack of communication within the ranks of a company.
It is also important that you communicate clearly to the team the reasons why your company needs the incoming freelancer, how the team will benefit, the expected outcome at the end of the project, and what tasks they will be working on.
Planning is critical in ensuring your freelancer is on-boarded as smoothly as possible. Create a short checklist about what your freelance expert will need as soon they begin work, which includes resources such as the type of information they will require access to, the systems they will need to work, with and details about the people they will be working with. Preparing this checklist beforehand will dramatically reduce time wasted when the freelancer starts on day one.
- Centralise all documents
One of the easiest ways of getting a freelance expert inducted into your company is by having all the relevant details and documents regarding the project stored in one central place. Apart from enlightening the expert, it also assists in aligning them to your company’s goals, allows them to come up to speed quickly and does not make them feel isolated or kept in the dark.
- Install the Right Technology
You will need to work with your IT team to get this up to speed, as well as ensuring you have the right security in place, so make sure you get this started early on in the process, as some types of access may take longer to grant than others.
Plan accordingly to maximise input from day one and reduce delays that would otherwise be spent waiting for access to systems. It is also essential to set some time aside to show the expert how to access and use the systems your company has in place despite how well known a product might be in the market.
- Schedule an Introduction Meeting
Onboarding, a freelancer, is not as straightforward as we would like to believe. Sending a couple of emails is not enough; neither is a few casual introductions here and there.
Schedule an initial in-depth meeting that is explicitly dedicated to the establishment of logistical preferences, communication channels, expectations, KPI’s and targets. This will demonstrate to the team that you value communication, while at the same time allowing everyone in the group to speak up and be heard. If possible, it is advisable to schedule this meeting separately from the ‘operations & strategy’ session to allow ample time for introductions.
The more your pool of freelance experts feel valued and connected with your company, the easier it will be for them to communicate and cooperate openly across all levels of the business. If the freelancer is working remotely or from an offsite location, then a video conference ought to suffice here.
- Explain the Company’s Culture, Mission, Vision, and Goals
Help your new expert understand your company’s brand in detail by defining the company’s mission, core values, vision and expectations of each employee. You might want to go the extra length of elaborating the benefits that you prioritise in your company including the role that the freelance expert will play towards achieving the company’s goals.
It is also important to explain any unspoken rules that contribute to the culture and vibe of the office, which could include how employees communicate with each other daily or how requests for information are made.
Additionally, get into the habit of conducting your team meetings via video call or in person rather than texting or over the phone.
- Consistently Provide Feedback
Permanent employees often receive constant feedback from employers and in the same light, freelance experts deserve the same level of responsive feedback from whom they report to within the company regardless of whether they have been recruited to work on a short-term project or task. Freelance experts are still a valuable member of the company and are in an excellent position to assist in the growth and expansion of the company.
- Encourage Questions
It is your responsibility to promote a culture of asking questions or risk the project veering off course and a lot of confusion in the process. Encourage the expert to reach out and seek clarification from the beginning, will save both you and the expert a lot of time that would be spent revising and correcting errors.
A practical and robust onboarding experience is critical to ensuring the success of the project and the results you are wanting. In addition, it also boosts the expert’s involvement during the project as well as providing you with their loyalty to future projects.