Organizational practices strongly correlate with workforce engagement – this means that it is up to the company itself to ensure the well-being of workers and thereby secure proper work morale and good practice amongst workers. But how do organizations implement this when working with external consultants and freelancers?
To optimize performance amongst workers, it is necessary to have common ground. There is a need for everybody, permanent workers and temporary workers alike, to understand company culture and values. In this article we give you the reasons why you should invest in good practices when hiring external consultants: from on-boarding to off-boarding, you must be a valuable partner in order to achieve a profitable working relationship with your freelancers and consultants. In this article, Flextribe provides you with the necessary knowledge needed in order to create an empowered, passionate workforce.
During the pandemic, large companies found that it was necessary to establish a new work culture. For instance, IBM introduced guidelines and policies on how to work with remote workers, including supporting “not camera-ready” times and the freedom to work when feeling productive. Many of these new work culture initiatives became permanent – why, you might ask? Because companies found that allowing workers to feel seen and heard, even at home, and to be able to see themselves represented in the company’s values, made them work better. This applies to your external workforce as well.
When addressing flexible workers, there is often a pattern of treating them as dispensable and easily replaceable. This is wrong. A great leader knows that a relationship with an external consultant is more than just transactional. Therefore, you should treat a freelancer just as you would treat any other employee. Freelancers often have a broader set of skills and more diverse experiences than permanent workers. For that reason, you should be open to new ideas and suggestions. Especially, because flexible workers often are the true experts within their field.
The passion economy
Essentially, we should always believe the numbers – and the numbers indicate that there is a shift happening amongst workers. People now seek to monetize their passion and build a career based on their personal interests and skills. The era of the passion economy has come to stay, and the growing numbers of freelancers, creatives and consultants are an indication of that.
In LinkedIn’s latest Global Talent Trends report, it is clear that people are no longer prioritizing money as their sole driver for job opportunities – maintaining a work-life balance and having professional development opportunities are more important to the modern worker than earning a high hourly rate. In fact, LinkedIn found that there was a significant increase in posts mentioning the term “flexible work” – a 362% increase to be exact!
“Flex to the max: The old way of working is
history as flex culture takes hold.”
LinkedIn Global Talent Trends 2022
Ensuring quality work
Studies have repeatedly shown that the more specialized a worker is, the more passionate they are about their quality of work. Though freelancers embody this trait, there is a gap between the individual freelancer and the company that is hiring. You expect quality work, but you’re not willing to pay the price - not just in monetary terms. Sound familiar? Think about it this way: to acquire the best talent, you should make the best offer. And how might you do this?
A good offer includes a brief of the project or task, a realistic time frame and a fair estimate of pricing. The best offer, on the other hand, includes clear and detailed information, benefits and flexibility. As a business owner, it can seem difficult to accommodate this, but the quality of the brief you make is what attracts the right talent to your organization. Another way, and arguably a rather humane way, to become an attractive place to work, is to empower your future workers. Empower them with the possibilities they may have from working with you! How can your organization make them better workers?
Freedom to work
The main takeaway from the recent pandemic is that workers now want to do what they like when they like it and still have the freedom to pursue other passions. Let’s take a look at a case study:
Unilever has launched a pilot program that accommodates all of this: U-work. U-work is a hybrid of the traditional workplace: workers are contract workers that choose their own assignments with no fixed role set in place. They are paid per assignment, but they also receive a monthly stipend as well as benefits. The program is live in eight countries – and in the U.K., it has already grown to 57 employees!
What we can learn from this as employers, is that we need to be cooperative. Who says you must work from 9 to 5 if you work better from 11 to 7? The amount of hours is the same. The end result may be the same. We, as employers, must give our employees the freedom to work. By empowering employees with flexibility, positive reinforcement and a focus on well-being, companies invest in people who will yield better results.
How to invest in your external workforce
Don’t let your selection criteria be the lowest price possible. While freelance work is a great way to free up resources, good work costs money. It’s as simple as that. Consider a freelancer’s skill set, experience, availability and ratings before you look at the price.
When you send your brief, it is important that you are clear in your expectations, wants and needs, as well as clarify when you have a need for check-ins and deadlines. Remember to consider scheduling time for possible inquiries as well – the freelancer may have questions. The clearer the brief, the easier it will be for the consultant to do the work.
You may already have a strong feedback culture in your organization, but 360º feedback means allowing external consultants and freelancers to have a say in your work practices. It’s the two-way performance review: expectations meet reality, critiques meet developments and so on. Someone outside your company may see things differently than you do – and by allowing them to have an impact, you empower their sense of inclusion.
Empower your future workforce
You want to hold onto great talent, which is difficult to do. After the pandemic came “The Great Reshuffle”. An astonishing 4.3 million workers quit their jobs in August 2021 alone – and that was just in the U.S.! In addition, job seekers appeared to view twice as many job applications before applying in 2021. People want better options. People want to be appreciated. People want to be empowered, and one way to do that is to use culture, purpose and empathy in order to attract talent.
What you need to do is ensure good, a continuous collaboration by empowering your flexible workers. The way you need to do it is simple.
Build people-centric feedback. Feedback isn’t just “you did well” or “the job met our expectations” – feedback is detailed, highlights the positive aspects of the collaboration, includes tasteful critiques (if necessary), and most importantly, empowers the consultant. You may provide helpful tips on how to improve the collaboration or express your satisfaction. With feedback loops, all of this becomes possible, without you having to spend many resources on manually going through the data. With Flextribe’s feedback options, your feedback data is not just numbers: your feedback results become valuable information and powerful knowledge that can help you towards cultivating success.