Companies these days are increasingly opting to bring in specific expertise for certain projects on a flexible basis. In the modern workplace, you will find an increasing number of freelancers who collaborate closely with permanent employees. Are you thinking about hiring a freelancer? If so, we recommend investing in a good onboarding procedure. This will enhance your freelancers’ commitment to your company or organisation, encourage optimal cooperation and be of inestimable benefit to your projects. The editorial team of the NextConomy knowledge platform compiled a comprehensive checklist to prepare your company or organisation for engaging freelancers.
Thanks to this checklist, the talented freelancers you are hiring will be off to a good start.
Good onboarding = a successful take-off
When you engage a freelancer, there are obviously all sorts of legal and administrative aspects to take into consideration – no differently than when you are hiring a permanent employee. Draw up an agreement in which you clearly describe the content of the assignment, the fee or rates you have agreed upon, and how many days a week the freelancer will work for you, and for how long.
GIGHOUSE is one of the players on the Belgian market that acts as an intermediary in the supply and demand of freelancers. In this role, GIGHOUSE relieves both client and freelancer of the red tape associated with drawing up a contract.
Melanie Deblanc of GIGHOUSE: ‘When a client or a freelancer registers on our platform, he or she is asked to agree to our terms and conditions. These are, as it were, the “rules of the game” that each party must abide by if they wish to engage a freelancer or work for a client through our services. They include general rules regarding self-employment. This way, bogus self-employment can be avoided.
In addition, the parties are required to sign a project agreement, as an addendum. This contains all the details of the project: its content, the fee or rates agreed upon, and how many days a week the freelancer will be engaged.’
Once the signatures are on paper, it is important to give your freelancer a good idea of your company or organisation and its culture. In other words, discuss your core values, so that he or she understands and endorses your vision. If necessary, you can get an old hand to show him or her around. Don’t forget to explain your mission to your freelancer and tell him or her who your customers are, what is important to them, and more!
In short: investing sufficient time to immerse your freelancer in your company or organisation ensures that he or she will feel more secure and can contribute to the vision and mission of your organisation.
Is today your freelancer’s ‘first day on the job’? Present him or her with a ‘Welcome Aboard’ brochure that provides a good picture of what your company or organisation does. Melanie Deblanc: ‘It is a good idea to compile a separate brochure to welcome freelancers aboard, particularly if your company engages freelancers on a frequent basis. Of course, there is no reason for this brochure to contain information such as how to request holiday leave, or where and when to report if they need to be absent due to illness, and so on.’
But it obviously doesn’t stop there. There are still many things to do to deepen a freelancer’s commitment to your company:
Every company has success stories. And they are often an excellent guide when a new project starts. Particularly for freelancers who join your company as an outsider and are not aware of these previous successes. In this way, you can quickly and easily refer to projects that are similar to the one for which you hired the freelancer and that have produced good results.
Tip! Collect all kinds of information about your successful projects in a portfolio: articles, presentations, photos, videos, and similar. Use all of this to familiarise your talented freelancers with previous successful projects.
Take out some time for an intake interview with your freelancer and discuss the following with him/her:
After all: good fences – or clear agreements, in this case – make good neighbours!
TIP! Schedule a number of feedback interviews to discuss your goals and expectations. Apart from this, dedicate some time to asking how your freelancer is feeling, how things are going, if he/she needs some support, and so on.
In brief: make your freelancer feel welcome and make him/her feel as if he/she were a permanent member of your staff. This way, you will deepen his/her commitment to your company or organisation, which will only be of benefit to the project for which he/she was hired. Not only that: you will turn the freelancer into an ambassador for your company or organisation. And that is not unimportant, considering that he/she will also be working for other companies and can therefore be instrumental in expanding your network.
One of the greatest advantages of engaging freelancers is flexibility. Freelancers often work one or two days a week for a client, but can also hop on board to provide full-time support to a project if this is necessary. However, you should always take care to avoid bogus self-employment. This is a type of social security fraud that is subject to heavy fines.
Bogus self-employed persons are employees who have the status of a self-employed person, although in reality, they are performing a professional activity under the authority of an employer. Of course, the greatest risk lies in this relationship of authority: if there is such a relationship, the law states that the freelancer must be employed.
In addition, there are contractual considerations to take into account. Make sure you have everything clearly defined and correctly laid down on paper, as described above. Alternatively, you can always work with GIGHOUSE to develop a watertight agreement with your freelancer.
GIGHOUSE thoroughly screens freelancers and will match the right freelancer to your project in no time at all, in which we take into account important aspects such as competencies and a cultural fit. Interested in a smooth collaboration?
NextConomy is a new, independent knowledge platform and community in Belgium for everyone involved in the changing world of employment (freelance or otherwise) and interested in the flexible organisation of business operations.