Want to create a freelance friendly workplace culture at your agency or start-up? You’ve come to the right place.
Business to business and business to consumer fill marketing pages, but what about business to freelance? The nature of work is changing. People are hired for the length of a campaign or to launch a new product. They are there because someone is on long service leave. Roles are created for a busy period when original staff levels need greater support. The overflow of project work often finds its way to the desk of an Australian freelancer when all hands-on deck still means there are not enough hands to carry the load.
Yet a lot of Australian freelancers feel underutilised, over worked and undervalued by the very organisations looking to maximise their potential.
Why is that?
The gap between organisational culture and freelance working styles
Smart organisations and startups know the value a freelancer can bring to a business. Countless government agencies, digital agencies and not for profits rely on freelancers to make the workload easier to manage. As remote workers, in house contractors, project experts or campaign-based relationships, Australian freelancers help bring the work to the fore.
Yet despite the freelancer seeming like the logical working option, many organisations and businesses have difficulty creating a solid relationship.
Is it the rub between old school working styles of the office and the freedom of the freelance culture?
Is it stigma and preconception clouding how both parties work together?
Or is it simply the urgency of establishing a relationship and the length of the project work available means rapport and structure tend to be the last considerations on a super large list?
Whatever the case, there is a gap between how Australian freelancers perceive work should be undertaken and what large scale organisations and businesses provide.
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO FIX THE SITUATION?
Chances are you’ve hired a freelancer because you need someone to do a great job. You’ve done it to save overall employee costs, to take the pressure off an overworked staff and/or to ensure the integrity of the work you are trying to produce.
When you hire a freelancer, you expect them to:
- Hit the ground running (to a large extent)
- Be skilled at the task at hand
- Be relatively autonomous
- Play well with others
- Have a hunger for the work
- Balance creativity and ability with following the brief
- Be reliable
- Have direct experience
- Can make a quick yet positive impact
To attract this to your workplace, you in turn need to provide freelancers with a culture that encourages, not squashes these qualities.
Looking at the other side of the see-saw, your organisation, startup or agency needs to:
- Value the expertise of the person in front of you and remunerate accordingly
- Engage freelancers in healthy, efficient and focused communication
- View the skill, ability and reliability with the respect it deserves
- Remove grey areas and margins for error through strong briefing processes
- Get comfortable with selecting the right people for the task at hand
- Be nimble enough to accommodate the lean working processes of the freelancers you hire
This means a shift in behaviour, attitude and potentially beliefs. It also means working with a long-term focus to relationship building with an Australian freelance community rather than hoping ‘there’s more where that came from’.
THE BENEFITS OF FREELANCE FRIENDLY WORKPLACE CULTURE
There isn’t a business, startup or organisation alive that can afford to waste time, money and effort. That’s even on a short-term basis.
Improving your approach to engaging freelancers and your business culture has a myriad of benefits including:
- Reducing the amount of time, money and effort wasted through being unable to manage a freelancer efficiently
- Decreasing the amount of time spent and legwork finding viable freelancers by fostering strong, longer term relationships
- Increasing your organisation’s overall productivity by creating a cohesive, goal orientated team
- Minimising the margin of error and communication required to get a project where it needs to be
- Instilling the principles of a mentally healthy workplace through a happier team
- Avoiding personality clashes, team politics and negative behaviours that derail focus
- Creating strong word of mouth throughout the Australian freelance community
- Tapping into a wealth of high quality talent without the recruitment agency fees or long on-boarding processes
- Opening your ability to find the right person for the job by removing locality as a constraint
- Building better, more efficient and greater quality products and services
- Making more informed decisions on who to choose without spec work or taking pot luck based on portfolios
- Receive a yes more often from the talent you approach when dealing with time sensitive projects
Here’s the funniest part of the tale- Australian freelancers want relationships with large scale organisations. They simply want those relationships to be healthy.
SO HOW DO I GET A GOOD FREELANCING CULTURE?
Being able to build a healthy freelance culture at your organisation begins with understanding you need to change your processes. So, congratulations on taking the first step.
The second step is about self reflection. It’s about looking at your organisation, agency or startup and critically examining the situation.
After identifying the current state of play, you can then look at avenues to move forward.
Here’s the beautiful thing- I can help you with stages two and three the minute you activate stage one. I have almost 8 years experience as a freelancer working on projects large and small. I also run the largest freelance community in Australia that deals with how to overcome the isolation and issues inherent with freelance life. Plus, I am an RTO trained crisis supporter, hold a current mental health first aid certificate and have extensive experience in identifying and voicing the challenges facing Australian freelancers. This includes specific challenges with work process, integration into organisations, life impacts, mental health and stress-based challenges and more.
Prior to freelancing, I worked with a leading Asian agency as an APAC business manager servicing countless fortune 500s and household names. Prior to that, I spent 7 years working for a pioneer in IVR and online dating realm managing product and feature delivery, events and internal and external customer happiness.
I’m happy to come in, observe your processes and look under the hood and see what we can do to make your workforce stronger, leaner and more efficient by better freelance management.
Curious? Most people are! Drop me an email via rebekah @ unashamedlycreative (dot) com (dot) au and tell me a bit about you and what you see is the gap.
I am available to consult in Wollongong, Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne on how you can build a healthier relationship (and better products and services) with Australian freelancers.