Nine tips for managing freelancers

Companies are increasingly using freelance workers, including for long assignments, as they are integrated into teams. How do you manage relationships better?

If the independent employees are not as “managed” as the employees, since there is no hierarchical link and they do not belong to the company, they still have to be motivated. Please note that the self-employed are not associated with an outside company. They mostly have a file True independence towards the client company : A working relationship should not be disguised.

Select the task very precisely

The first key point is to “define the mission as precisely as possible,” emphasizes Catherine Brennan, Director of Operations for People4Impact, a company that connects freelancers in sustainable development, with a business plan, and attention to the bottom line, intermediate stages and outputs, to be clear in the calendar, The periods during which he works on the project.

Gaëlle Fréchant, Director of Display and Education for the Unow Training Platform, which manages 150 mostly independent experts, who are responsible for developing and conducting the training, adds that it is necessary to “clarify what their work will be evaluated against, and what they can gain from working with us: the impact of their activity, winning contracts Other, vocational training.

Take care of integration

Basic integration makes it possible The present of the company in addition to its mission, culture, values ​​and activity. “A person understands expectations better if the situation in the market is explained to him,” emphasizes Gail Frischant, who advises showing business methods. She explains that Unow offers its freelance clients “Everyone can ask for help, Project references and support people. “It is also important Details of the production chain and indicate the level of its location, What prevents him if they are late,” she confirms.

should also Make sure they have the necessary equipment, That they have access to the tools, to their email address. For Katherine Brennan, “Whenever possible, it’s a good idea to come to them at the beginning of the mission, meet the teams. And bring them back in the middle and at the end of the mission.”

Balancing autonomy and communication

is important Relationships with employees are going well. For speakers, it is rarely a topic, as long as a file Employees are made aware of the mission and experience of freelance translatorsbut also Interactions They may have. However, you must react quickly if there is a problem.

if it wasFreelance workers need independence, and communication is essential. Gaëlle Fréchant explains that on Unow, the Slack channel allows freelancers to “connect to the person they need very quickly.” Catherine Brennan insists: “Give your feedback: see how the job is going, if it’s going in the right direction through fairly rich dialogue.” Thus, she spends a quarter of an hour each week with her freelancer managing sales.

Unow Project Teams hold weekly meetings in which everyone, on an equal footing, as well as individual points is involved with team leaders, freelance workers as well as their own employees. “There is a system of trust and control in all outputs.” But “there is also a need to listen to their limitations, their desires, and their ideas as well, even if you decide to.”

Catherine Brennan believes that it is necessary “to tell yourself that the independent worker is a complete collaborator, and the better one integrates it, the greater the success.” She says that a freelancer for her company is invited to company events.

For Gaëlle Fréchant, “You need a respectful relationship on both sides. If you give a freelancer a very specific schedule, they ask for quick approval and the company takes three weeks, it doesn’t respect their work.”

Anticipate difficulties

A problem can arise if major internal changes occur during the mission: strategy, governance, teams… “You have to consider informing the freelancers. And if the responsible manager has to leave, that’s something to be prepared for,” according to Catherine Brennan.

Carol Porsche, general manager of Majorian, which provides services to hotel and hospitality entrepreneurs, identifies some of the difficulties: “Knowing how to express a need, allowing time to get work done, and not putting too much pressure on deadlines.” For Gaëlle Fréchant, the greatest is “the assertion of its legitimacy without hierarchical influence. We are not buying a product but building a relationship.”

Adaptation to the type of relationship

surely, The relationship varies according to the type of task. Caroline Pourchet employs part-time freelance employees in Italy to develop and manage the commercial network: “We consider them our own team, they are integrated into the life of the company, into the festivities. The budget is created together, there is an almost salary-management relationship.” Conversely, other, more punctual freelancers are treated as “more distance” service providers.

This is confirmed by Jean-Yves Ottmann, a researcher in the sociology of organizations For short-term or very private relationships, management should be as limited as possible, with a very strong framework upstream. Unlike longer or more intense relationships, where you have to do it Building confidence. “It can be paradoxical to go through procedures, where everyone knows what is going to happen. Building a strong personal relationship is also a way to create trust. And there are many other devices between these two extremes.

Relationship with a self-employed person is not the case It is not a simple relationship between the customer and the provider, According to the researcher, it is appropriate Take into account the professional and personal limitations of the self-employed. However, this relationship can Approaching customer/supplier partnerships. “For example, it will be very transparent discussions about the distribution of value,” whether it is a result of inflation among stakeholders, or, conversely, stronger than expected earnings.

Freelance move

At Unow, someone leads the community of experts “to embark on a business. She is an education professional who is able to talk to them about their job, and it is important to build that legitimacy.” and the company Organizes events, including webinars, between independents and company directors. At So Local, a digital marketing firm, team managers, trained throughout the project, lead the self-employed, who are integrated into teams in the same way as employees.

In a report to be published for Anact, the National Association for the Improvement of Working Conditions, on the use of the self-employed in VSE and SMEs, Jean-Yves Ottmann identified two types of management that work well: written management, On the contrary, official procedures Management through qualification and independence, with accountability mechanisms.

Involve the human resources department

For Jean-Yves Ottmann, Human resource management is still very little. “It creates a deficit. A freelance employee who does very well in one area of ​​the business can be a valuable resource in another. If human resources are not involved, they may allocate time and resources to hire someone else.” Hence, he was keen to review the internal procedures and Involve the human resources department Hiring and managing self-employed workers.

build loyalty…

Loyalty of freelancers is an issue and can go through training and telecommuting… Stephanie Zappa, Technical Director (CTO), stresses that the idea at So Local “is to register for the duration of the project, and to bring diversity to the enjoyment of good working conditions”. Thus, the company offers an “internal marketplace for profiles”, to transfer a person from one team to another, as well as training and participation in “improving skills with all employees, through thematic breakfasts that freelancers can participate in”.

According to Jean-Yves Ottmann, one of the mechanisms that causes freelancers to stay or leave is also the “reward/problem ratio: if you are not able to manage it properly, you have to pay them much higher than the market”.

…but knowing how to reframe

In some cases, you have to know how to paraphrase “Speak frankly, remember what is expected, ask why you don’t work,” assures Gael Fréchant. Stephanie Zappa thinks this “requires Lots of diplomacy. You have to stay motivated, communicate a lot, be attentive, and put purpose back in the heart Sometimes I say stop‘, she explains. And so the coach notes that ‘some freelancers don’t want to go back to the office,’ which can be embarrassing for teams to be grouped in the same place. ‘It doesn’t happen,’ she said.

In some extreme cases, “If it is a transmission error, It is better to stop cooperation when it is going very badly and seek an amicable settlement because it will only get worse,” said Gail Fritchant.

give feedback Very important for all parties, to improve relationships, and to organize in the future, to explain what is good and how to improve what is not. “In the end, The company must feel it has got what it needs. And the Freelancer must be satisfied what he brought,” concludes Catherine Brennan.

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