It is becoming more apparent that the old-school notion that people have to be at their work desks from 8 to 5 to be productive is a muth. These days, companies are turning to remote talent to get work done, and get it done better.
Working remotely allows for flexibility that can benefit both freelancers and your company. However, there needs to be a certain level of accountability in place if you want to achieve consistency and quality. So how do you hire and manage remote talent effectively so they meet your standards and expectations? Here are eleven quick tips that can help you get started:
The first thing you need to know about hiring and managing remote talent is finding the right people who can help you meet your goals. The good news is there are platforms like the FreeeUp marketplace that can make the hiring process easier for you.
FreeeUp can connect you with pre-vetted freelancers with the right skillsets, great attitudes, and high-level communication. The freelance professionals found on FreeeUp can help you bridge the gaps that are hurting your business. For instance, customer service, digital marketing, advertising, Amazon, general e-Commerce, web design and development, content and copywriting.
All you need to do is to create an account, submit a request, and then you will be introduced to a pre-vetted option within one business day.
Let’s face it, remote work isn’t for everyone. It takes a special combination of skills and values to be able to keep working remotely. When looking for freelancers with whom you can work, it’s important to remember that you are looking for a different kind of profile than if you’re hiring someone who can work with you side by side. Before hiring a freelancer, check to see if he or she has the following skills and personality traits:
On top of these, the ideal remote worker must also have interests outside of work. This may sound counterintuitive, but remote freelancers are more likely to experience the feelings of isolation and loneliness commonly associated with working independently. They counteract these through hobbies and special interests unrelated to work.
It can be tempting to conduct interviews over the phone or over Skype chat. However, you can build a more personal connection with the remote freelancer you’re considering through video calls.
As in a person-to-person interview, a video call allows you to see a candidate's face and see whether or not they carry themselves well. It's also great to be able to put a face to a name when you won't be seeing the remote talent in person at all.
The same can be said for onboarding once you've found the freelancer who fits the bill for you. Instead of stopping at sending the onboarding documents via email or instant messaging, go on a video call the following day to make the onboarding process smoother and more impactful.
When working with a remote professional, it’s important to be upfront about any logistics requirements you may need from them. This is particularly true if the person is in a different time zone.
You can, of course, find freelancers who are flexible enough to adjust their working hours to your time zone. However, you can also come up with a compromise if there are time overlaps between you and the freelancer's working hours. For example, you can set daily check-ins at a time that both of you are available.
They should also be equipped with the necessary communication platforms (instant messaging apps, messaging boards, and/or email) so you can reach them easily. You should also let them know if they need to use certain pieces of software and hardware to ensure that their output is at par with your expectations.
Let’s be clear on one thing about hiring and managing remote talent: while not every task is applicable for remote work, there are certain aspects of your company’s workflow that can be handled just as effectively by someone who is working from home, from a café, or even from an island somewhere in the Pacific.
That being said, it’s important to let freelance professionals you’re looking to hire know why certain parts of your business are open for remote work while others are not.
In any setting, you need constant and clear communication at all times. You won't be working in the same room together when you hire remote talent, however. Using various communication tools is important but may not be enough, especially if you want everyone to be on the same page at all times. From the get-go, introduce freelancers to the type of communication culture you want to foster while running your business. When working with someone from across the world, it's best to be hyper-communicative or at least to have communications channels open the majority of the time.
A trial run is very helpful when hiring and managing remote talent. Just because a candidate has an excellent portfolio and work experience and has done well in an interview, it doesn’t mean he or she will be up for the task once the real work begins.
Before committing to hiring a freelance professional, let a candidate do a test run of the typical tasks he or she will be handling once onboarding is complete. This will allow you to judge the quality of their work without having to dive headfirst into a partnership you’re not sure will work out in the end.
Note that it isn’t typically acceptable for freelancers to do free test projects. Unlike employment, freelancing does not come with any guarantees, so asking for free work is unattractive to the best career freelancers.
Some roles in your company like customer support and project management entails working during a set time.
However, other tasks such as content writing, marketing, graphic design, and other collaborative roles benefit from more flexible working hours. Apart from the nature of the work, you must also factor in any time zone difference. For types of work like these, you only need freelancers to complete a volume of work within the day of the week.
An important aspect of hiring and managing remote talent is fostering a culture of inclusivity within your company. You can do this by regularly engaging with freelancers and establishing a more amicable relationship with them rather than a purely transactional one.
Specifically, you can invite them to actively participate during team meetings, get to know them beyond the realm of work, and/or encourage suggestions and recommendations from them should the need arise.
Don’t let the adage “out of sight, out of mind” dominate your company when working with freelancers. Don’t let their achievements go unnoticed. Whenever they hit milestones in their work, be sure to openly acknowledge them so that they feel that their efforts are paying off. Celebrate their wins and give them small incentives like having pizza delivered to their location or giving them a bonus.
You can also create fun company traditions like holding online scavenger hunts or getting everyone together to play online games. By making remote talent feel visible, you are developing a stronger bond and fostering loyalty within your company.
Just because you’re working far away from each other, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a culture of collaboration within your company. You can pair up remote freelancers for specific projects or you can set them up as accountability partners. This allows everyone to build steady working relationships that will boost mutual trust and engagement in your business.
Remote freelancers now play a major role in the growth of many companies regardless of their size, niche, and type of product or service they provide. Freelancers from across the globe can fill in skills gaps you may have just as effectively as any full-time worker in an office.
But the key to hiring and managing remote talent lies in having a rock-solid set of processes that will aid in building a mutually beneficial working relationship between you and the freelancer.
You need to know what to look for in an effective remote freelancers. Be upfront regarding any requirements, be flexible with time, and encourage regular engagement and mentorship within your organization.
If you’re ready to start working with remote talent today, check out how FreeeUp works so you can get started.
“Simplicity is the key to brilliance.” While Bruce Lee wasn’t referring to the key components of a great marketplace listing, he probably wouldn’t be able to deny the relevance.
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