Trying to scale your external workforce? Freelancer survey results and how they can help your business

Freelancer survey results and what they mean for your business

August 1, 2022

These days, it’s pretty standard for HR to take employee needs and priorities into consideration. You’re competing for top talent for your organization, so it makes sense that you would take their priorities into account so that you can build a culture that will attract and retain the best talent for your business. 

But the same consideration doesn’t typically go into creating a great experience for their contingent workers. And considering a third of the US workforce is working freelance — and that number is only projected to grow — this doesn’t really make a lot of sense, does it? More and more companies will need the best freelance talent they can find, and this means building a freelance experience that focuses on attracting and retaining them. 

The tricky part is that contingent workers don’t have the same priorities or the same ideal experience as full-time employees. We partnered with Platypus to survey freelancers globally and learn more about their biggest priorities when it comes to choosing projects.

The below factors are what Platypus uses to build culture footprints for their customers, so we built one for freelancers specifically to see what their priorities would look like when it came to choosing freelance jobs. 

Here are our four biggest takeaways — and action items for each one, to ensure that you get the top talent you need, each time you need a freelancer. 

Impact matters to freelancers

There is a big misconception about freelancers when it comes to impact. People tend to assume that they only care about completing their job and moving on, not impacting the business itself. But our freelancers actually ranked impact 4th in terms of what matters most to them. And when you think about freelancers as owners of their own small businesses, this actually makes a lot of sense. 

They know that the more of an impact they’re able to have on a business — regardless of what kind of work they do — the higher the chance that they’ll be asked to take future projects with you or receive referrals from you for other clients. But they’re often given very rigid instructions on how to complete their work and not always given room to provide their own strategic input. And because they typically have many years of experience working in their field — not to mention that you’re typically hiring freelancers because you don’t have that specific talent in-house — this ends up underutilizing their talents. 

If you’re treating them as just a copywriter or a designer without any sort of strategic skills, that’s likely the type of work you’re going to receive from them. When you have a freelancer with an impressive background or many years of experience, try giving a little more insight into what you’re trying to achieve at a strategic level and give them some freedom to guide the project. Lean on their experience and knowledge and let them help guide you to get the long-term results you’re looking for. This will not only make them happier, but it can also give you much better results from your freelance projects. 

Compensation goes a long way with freelancers

To attract top freelance talent, you’ll need to be willing to pay good competitive rates. And with more and more workers going freelance, sometimes the freelancer market can be oversaturated. This means that some freelancers will offer very cheap rates as a way to stand out. But it also means you’ll get what you pay for. If you’re paying low rates, you’re probably going to land freelancers that are just starting out or are trying to do as many projects as possible so they can take a lot of clients. And it will show in the work. 

Freelancers often have trouble getting paid on time and spend a lot of their time chasing down payments from clients for work that has already been completed. Ensuring that you always pay your freelancers on time will do wonders in terms of retaining your best talent. You wouldn’t be paying your full-time employees a month or two late, consistently. Why should it be different for your freelance workers? 

If this is something your company has trouble with, automating payments can go a long way in keeping your freelancers happier and reducing work for your internal teams. And when you automate payments with Worksome we front the money immediately, so the freelancer gets paid quickly, and we bill you for it later. That way everyone is happy. 

One thing to note is that compensation doesn’t only have to do with how much you’re paying a worker. It can also include extending certain perks and benefits that you offer to your full-time employees to your freelancers as well. In the fight to remain competitive for top freelance talent, some companies even offer benefits like health insurance. This isn’t to say that you need to do this, just that there are many different options to consider when it comes to compensation and staying competitive with freelancers. 

Collaboration is more important than you might think

This one might seem a little surprising at first, but it actually makes a lot of sense. We tend to think of freelancers as wanting autonomy and in many ways, this is absolutely true. But freelancers also want to deliver great work that you’re happy with. And they want to do this with as few revisions as possible. This is pretty challenging to do without effective collaboration. 

Freelancers often need more than just an initial brief. Give them the opportunity to ask questions throughout the project and offer to give feedback before they hand you the final version if that’s something they’re open to. Better collaboration with your freelancers typically means a better experience for everyone involved and great work that doesn’t need a lot of changes throughout the process. And if you’re unsure how much collaboration a particular freelancer wants, just bring this up during your onboarding and figure out what works for both of you.

Flexibility is king

We all know that freelancers want flexibility. But what does this actually mean for your business? The most common answer is in terms of time and hours. Freelancers typically want to work on their own time and as long as they’re meeting whatever deadlines you’ve agreed on, you should give them full flexibility to do this. 

It also includes things like where they’re completing the work and how much autonomy they’re given to do so. The biggest thing here is to ensure that you have deadlines and check-ins planned in advance. This ensures that expectations are clear for everyone involved and they’re able to work whenever and however they want, to achieve whatever goals you’ve set for them. 

Create a better freelancer experience with Worksome

There’s no denying that Worksome makes managing freelancers easier for you. We automate the more manual aspects of freelance like payments, contracts, and bills to take them off your plate and eliminate a lot of the back and forth involved with freelance management by keeping everything in one place for your internal teams. With Worksome there’s more time spent aligning on anything, and it makes life easier for a lot of your different departments

But we also vastly improve the experience for your freelancers as well. You’re able to onboard them more quickly, they’re never following up wondering when they’re going to be paid, and they can focus on the work they were actually hired to do. 

Book a demo today to learn more about how Worksome can improve the experience for all of your workers, both full-time and freelance. 

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