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6 tips to find and retain freelance tech workers

Sarah K. White | Jan. 20, 2017
Once you find reliable freelancers, you won't want to stop there. Follow these five tips to help build and retain a stable of freelance workers.

Offer stability

This might seem obvious, but despite their non-traditional work style, freelancers want a regular paycheck just like any full-time worker. Since freelancers lack a centralized HR to handle their payments, they often have to juggle multiple payment systems and processes for each client they work with. The easier you can make the process, the better.

Focus first and foremost on keeping work and pay consistent, says Brandy Benefield, a senior content developer at Postali, a PR marketing firm for attorneys that relies heavily on freelance workers. "We provide steady work so that our freelancers aren't worried about where their next check is coming from. Some of our freelance writers are able to take enough assignments from us to be more or less a full-time equivalent job. That stability can result in better quality and productivity," she says.

Consider it an investment in your freelancers, she says -- offer competitive pay and interesting, consistent work, and you'll get better results.

Set expectations

One way to keep your freelancers around is to set clear expectations about what you want. This not only helps reduce the amount of back and forth between you and the freelancer, but it makes their job easier too. It's likely they work for multiple clients who all want different things, so knowing what you want, and being able to communicate that clearly can go a long way, says Benefield.

But avoid creating too much structure around your expectations of freelancers -- most of them are freelancing in order to avoid that traditional corporate structure in the first place. "For us it is providing freelancers interesting things to work on, unblocking obstacles to them doing great work, ensuring that reasonable time is scheduled for the project work, and making sure they know what they are doing will make a difference. All practical things we'd all like from our jobs," says Kall.

Provide feedback

You might be hesitant to provide feedback to a freelancer, since they aren't a traditional employee, but Benefield recommends opening the lines of communication. She always provides constructive feedback to freelancers -- it not only it helps establish expectations but it helps freelancers hone their skills for future projects and other clients.

"We treat our freelancers with respect and professionalism. If we have an issue with work, we communicate that clearly along with our expectations. Our freelancers appreciate the guidance and want to improve," she says.

She also recommends remaining available to the freelancers just as you would an in-house employee, whether it's over a messenger platform, email or by phone. Whether they have questions or concerns, Benefield says you should remain responsive and treat it as you would any request from a full-time worker.


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