The world has changed a lot since COVID-19, the business world especially. Two big changes have been the rise of remote work and the rise of freelancers vs. full-time employees. For entrepreneurs especially, these changes have a lot of benefits. Eliminating/reducing overhead by working from home versus renting an office space is a huge help to the bottom line, as is utilizing contract workers who tend to cost less than full-time employees in salary, benefits, and more.
Despite these big wins for entrepreneurs, remote and contract work can make building a company culture challenging. So, how can you take advantage of the new normal while still building a quality, inclusive company culture?
Master the onboarding process. Your process for onboarding contractors should be just as thorough (if not more thorough) than your onboarding process for regular employees. Contractors don’t have the daily benefit of being ingratiated in the company culture so clarity, structure, and continuity are a must!
Include them in the same meetings and conversations as full-time employees whenever possible. Not only will this add to inclusiveness, but this will also show them that you view their loyalty and buy-in to the company’s success as equal to those who work full-time.
Be clear on who your freelancers report to. With so many balls in the air, it can be easy for contractors to report to one person, while taking daily direction from another. This can easily muddy the water, so get crystal clear on the chain of command. You want higher ups to make it easier for freelancers to do their job, not harder.
Invite freelancers to company celebrations! The last couple years have been particularly isolating, especially for freelancers. If you’re celebrating a success, holiday, or just enjoying a work get together, invite your freelancers! Not only are they valuable contributors nut feeling included in company celebrations will enhance loyalty.
Provide communication tools that connect and empower rather than isolate. If your company is operating off a hybrid in-person/remote model, you’ll need to figure this out anyway, but your freelancers will especially benefit. Do your research on communication tools and figure out what will keep your freelancers connected and productive. Asana, Slack, Zoom, Google Meet, there are a lot of options!
Get clear on your values. Regardless of employment status, anyone who is working for your company, representing your company, or making a daily impact should know exactly who you are, what you do, and what you stand for. Remember, values and goals are not always the same. Goals are what you want to do, values are how you want to do it. If you’re having trouble articulating your values, take some time to clearly define them for yourself. If you want to hold employees and freelancers to the same standard, you must know precisely what that standard is.