Even though freelance and contract roles are gaining popularity, they still only make up 13.3% of the total working population. If your employees are primarily full-time, you might not feel confident managing potential tensions between contractors and your regular staff members – and your full-time employees might not be happy collaborating with the temporary employees in order to begin integrating freelance workers.
Today we have some advice on integrating freelance workers with your full-time staff. From concerns to communication, we’ve got you covered.
With a new temporary staff member in the mix, your full-time employees might be wary of the new outsider who will only be with them for the short-term. By thinking through potential concerns ahead of time, you can address questions right from the beginning.
Your employees might think, “Will my full-time position be eliminated and outsourced? Will this temp have the same commitment to our mission? As an outside expert, will they be doing all the interesting work?”
Start with clear communication and expectations of the role and possibly include your current employees in the decision. They might have some ideas of where the contractor will fit best in the company and the necessary qualities to look for in a temporary hire. When your full-time employees have got to weigh in from the beginning, they are more likely to be comfortable with this temporary role later on.
Additionally, managers should receive training and, in turn, train their employees on how to utilize the contractor within their department. Don’t forget about the opportunity for your full-time staffers to learn new skills from the expert contractor through training events and mentoring.
While you may not have the resources or time to run contractors through a full onboarding process, don’t ignore the importance of properly acclimating your newcomers. Whether your human resources department or your hiring manager handles the process, bringing someone new to the team should involve more than just a company laptop and login.
Develop a process that can be replicated for all short-term employees including (at least):
- Clear timelines and expectations
- Details on how performance will be measured
- Introductions to the team, including who will be the point person for questions
If the contractor will be working independently, remotely, or on-site, you should clearly delineate how often they will provide updates and when you expect to receive them.
If you’re only filling a temporary position, an off-boarding process can be just as important as the onboarding. What full-time employees will take over these responsibilities, if any, when the contractor has left? What follow-up will full-time employees need to do?
To make this process easier, document the contractor’s tasks and responsibilities along the way so the team can easily take over.
During the conversation, find out how the team worked together, what opportunities there are for improved communication, and (of course) keep the door open for future work if appropriate. These temporary employees can still leave reviews on Glassdoor and similar sites, and a positively oriented conversation can help you can end the relationship on a good note as well as get a feel for the feedback he or she might provide.
Fitting in Gig Employees
By looking for a firm grasp of company culture and project deadlines during the hiring process, your contractors should work well with your current employees. Clear communication and expectations can only help grow these relationships.
If this part-time expert goes above and beyond in his or her role, he or she might be looking for the stability of a long-term position. If you want one of your contractors on the team permanently, you should be open to the freedom he or she has as a freelancer while continuing to outline the requirements of a regular employee, like negotiating in remote workdays.
Succeeding in the Gig Economy
When handled poorly, temporary employees can be perceived as an inconvenient threat by your current long-term team members. But with proper thought and planning, these temporary workers can become a valuable and welcome asset to the team.