Workflow of the week: How to Manage Freelance Employees with Workflow Automation
Tips for automating and streamlining the management of your freelance workers, contractors, and temporary employees
With a rapidly-growing freelance workforce, the current state of the job market, and generous work-from-home policies— like the one Airbnb just rolled out— your organization is likely also shifting to a mix of full-time, contract, and gig employees from around the world. And you’re not alone; 90% of companies believe that combining full-time employees with freelancers and contractors gives them a competitive advantage. As Shahar Erez, CEO of Stoke Talent, puts it, “Bringing a highly-skilled, independent contractor on board for specific projects can save organizations tens of thousands of dollars compared to a full-time team member while delivering equally high-quality results.”
So what’s the catch with freelance employment?
Save money, scale quickly, and employ the best talent— what’s the catch? Before you’re ready to embrace the gig economy, be sure you can navigate its accompanying challenges. For instance, how will you manage freelance employment contracts compared to your full-time employees? How will you facilitate collaboration and get contractors working quickly? And how will you keep sensitive information secure while giving your temp employees autonomy to excel in the role?
Workflow automation— your freelance management sidekick
While many of these answers come down to your organization’s culture and guidelines, some tools can help make executing your policies easier. By automating forms, contracts, and project processes with solutions like Mitratech’s workflow automation tool (TAP), you can enjoy the benefits of freelance work that’s painless for both you and the contractor. Because, after all, they ultimately get to decide if they want to continue working with you, so creating a defined, replicable, yet dynamic process is key to retention.
Which variables of the freelance employment process can you automate?
Managing high-volume onboarding and offboarding
Unlike your full-time employees (who remain in the tech industry for an average of ~ four years), your contract workers will likely sign 3-to-6-month contracts and may or may not agree to extend. That’s a lot of employment forms, contracts, NDAs, etc. Plus, if you’re paying for a highly-skilled worker for only six months, you want to waste as little time as possible getting them onboarded. Using workflow automation for contracts, redlining, approvals, and escalations means your new hire checklist is self-driving, and contractors can manage it themselves. It also means that the information collected can be securely stored in one place— a centralized record repository— so your HR and legal teams can oversee all contracts, retrieve prior agreements for returning contractors, and eliminate duplicate forms. By saving teams time in the onboarding and knowledge-sharing process, both organizations and contractors can see an optimized return on investment. vv
Enabling project collaboration between full-time and freelance employees
When your contractor gets started on a project, they may not have time to meet the entire team. And while they may be in Slack or Teams, they typically won’t have access to an organization’s full library of files and resources. So, how can you still keep them connected? By creating a workflow for review, approval, and real-time collaboration that is accessible to outside parties without incurring additional user licenses or data risk, your contractors can securely submit assets that will be routed to the correct internal employee for review or feedback (even if they don’t know them by name!) In addition, dynamic notifications and escalations are available to drive completion, note urgency, and tag team members for project collaboration.
Mitigating risk associated with contract employment
One of the primary, most costly challenges of contract work is the unique requirements related to employment laws and classifications. Matt Rivera details some risk and compliance factors to consider when hiring contract workers and best practices to mitigate them. Of the many tips he shares, creating specific and detailed SOWs, verifying vendor insurance and tax status, and collaborating throughout contract employment are among the most vital. Luckily, these processes can be automated through vendor management workflows with built-in collaboration, document generation, and a central record repository.
While there’s no secret formula to capturing and retaining top talent of any employment type, creating systems that allow for frictionless onboarding, streamlined process, and secure collaboration will go a long way to improve the process while driving innovation and return on investment.