By Michael Solomon, 10x Management Co-Founder
Understanding how to manage freelancers (sometimes referred to as agile talent, 1099s, consultants, contractors, etc.) will not only make you a better manager, it will also maximize your productivity if your organization takes advantage of the on-demand workforce.
At 10x Management, the first tech talent agency, we have been pioneers at fitting companies with the proper tools they need to manage agile talent.
Freelancers are NOT Employees
Here are a few tips from LegalZoom regarding how to know if you are treating freelancers as freelancers:
- The worker should supply his or her own equipment, materials and tools.
- The worker can be discharged at anytime and can choose whether or not to come to work without fear of losing employment.
- The worker controls the hours of employment.
Have One Point of Contact
Good managers establish a system of reporting.
Great managers establish a single point of contact.
One of the most important anchors in your management process is making sure each freelancer reports to, and receives direction from, a single person of contact. Assign one person in the company to communicate with the freelancer.
Establish a Detailed Scope of Work
Good managers estimate the work required to achieve set goals.
Great managers provide a detailed scope of work, timeline and budget.
Providing as much specificity as possible is so important to the success of a project.
Customize Your Approach
Good managers have a set style of management that works for them.
Great managers understand that each freelancer has their own style and are willing to adapt their approach.
Some freelancers are open communicators who prefer frequent contact via discussion, feedback and direction. Others produce best in a vacuum, with only occasional check-ins.
Manage Both the Project and the Talent
Good managers oversee the project.
Great managers oversee the project and the talent.
Great managers maintain a positive and professional relationship with the freelancer. They monitor progress and find the delicate balance between oversight and micromanagement. Good freelancers are very self sufficient.
Know When to Delegate
Good managers control the project.
Great managers know when to delegate tasks to others.
There’s no need to control every aspect of a project. Trust others. Project management expertise might be necessary to help everyone work efficiently and creatively together.
Good managers review the final project and evaluate the outcome.
Great managers provide valuable feedback to the freelancer upon project completion.
There is nothing more powerful than mutual respect and admiration.
The Difference Between Good and Great
Managing freelancers is a different task than managing full-time employees. Managers must adapt their management approach based on the project and personnel. With the right set of skills and know-how, learning how to manage agile talent can drastically improve productivity at your company. We put the above tips into practice everyday, and the results are more than worth the effort.
If you like this article, you might enjoy reading The 10x Vet and Match Process