Just like there’s a generational shift in the workplace, there’s also a shift in the way people are working. Freelancing is the new normal. These workers are letting go of the traditional full-time job and opting for contract-to-contract or project-to-project work. A recent survey by Freelancers Union and Elance-oDesk revealed that 34% of the U.S. workforce is now working as freelancers.
And because freelancers come in and out of various workplaces, it might make it difficult to maintain your organization’s culture. So how do companies preserve and integrate these freelancers into the workplace community? Use these five techniques to keep freelancers aligned with your culture.
Lead the pack: Use your organization’s values to guide you. Make them your guideline for any decisions you make, how you behave, and the way you communicate with freelancers. If you aren’t a model for your own company’s values, how can you expect your freelancer to do the same?
Hire for fit: Don’t just grab the first freelancer that comes along (even if they have first-rate qualifications). Freelancers are still working for your company. They’re still going to interact with others. So cultural fit isn’t a factor that should be put on the back burner.
Introduce them: Whether your freelancer is there for two weeks or two months, they are still part of a team. While they’re working for you, don’t make them feel isolated. Introduce them to the team, other teams, or the whole department—make them feel appreciated for the work they’ll be putting in.
Treat them as your own: Oftentimes, freelancers feel like outsiders at the workplace. Let them know how their work impacts the company and give them feedback like you would your full-time employees. Even invite them to company events. If they’re working for you, there’s no reason why they should be pushed to the side.
Give them a voice: Sometimes it takes an outsider to point out flaws in the workplace. Freelancers are perfect for this. Let them voice their ideas by giving them access to your company’s suggestion box. You’ll be surprised at the innovative ideas they can offer.
Freelancers come and go, but organizational culture stays. And just because these workers are at your company temporarily doesn’t mean they should be treated any different. Balance your company’s culture by bringing your values to life and making freelancers feel comfortable while they’re at your workplace.