All business owners want to get the most out of hires, right? If you have hired remote freelancers, it is no different. You want freelancers to perform to the best of his or her capabilities. The good news is that there are many ways to lead a remote freelancer to success, and I want to share 6 of those secrets today.
Remote freelancers may not work in the cubicles outside of your office, but it is still fully capable of helping grow your business and take your profits to new levels. In fact, remote freelancers may work virtually from all over the world. You may never meet freelancers in person. You may work in different time zones and different languages. But with a few savvy strategies, you can lead a remote freelancer and motivate them to perform at their very best every single day.
Here are 6 secrets that we’ve used to lead a remote freelancer toward success. If you implement these tips, remote freelancers will show up with energy and enthusiasm and perform their tasks well.
Even if remote freelancers work across the globe, they still need to feel connected to your company on a personal level. People are inherently motivated by mission. They want to know that they are connected to their place of work. If you fail to share your visions and goals with freelancers, how will they know what they are ultimately working towards?
When freelancers meet at a shared office space, they are exposed to a company’s vision throughout the day. They become connected to it and invested in it. If you have hired a virtual freelancer, you need to recreate that experience. And you can do that easily by sharing your 1-year vision and the goals of your company. Let freelancers know what you envision for the future and why. Let them in on your mission and what inspires you to show up every day. Connect them to the outcome.
If you want to lead a remote freelancer towards success, make them part of it.
Just because freelancers don’t work together in a shared space doesn’t mean they aren’t meant to function as a whole. It is important that freelancers connect often to both you and each other. As a business owner who desires to lead a remote freelancer, consider holding weekly all hands meetings with the entire remote group. This weekly meeting doesn’t have to be complicated or take up a lot of time, but it does give you an opportunity to touch base with freelancers and get everyone on the same page.
Weekly all hands meetings serve many purposes. They build a sense of camaraderie among group members that may otherwise not feel comfortable interacting, they give all members the opportunity to ask questions and seek clarifications, and they give you an opportunity to ensure all of your projects are on track for completion.
In order to lead a remote freelancer, you must also meet individually with each remote freelancer. While group meetings are essential, individual meetings are critical as well. These meetings are the times where you will provide individualized support and feedback. This is the time to privately critique and make any changes or adjustments at the individual level. This is also the time to seek feedback and look for room for improvement. Address any concerns that arise and make sure a remote freelancer is challenged enough without feeling overwhelmed or overworked.
By taking the time to meet with freelancers individually, you are both holding them accountable and making them feel uniquely valued. You are letting them know that they are worth your time and energy and that you do notice the work that they do (and how well they do it).
Everyone likes to be challenged. Challenge encourages people to step up to the plate and perform. One effective way to lead a remote freelancer is to provide formal quarterly performance reviews. These reviews give you the chance to take a deep dive into the past performance of each member and push them to perform at a higher level as well as recognize when they have done very well.
When people know that their performance will be reviewed, they feel compelled to work harder. They feel challenged, and challenge is a good thing. This is why most corporations have quarterly performance reviews, and it should be no different for remote freelancers. Let freelancers know that you will be holding these reviews and tell them in advance what standards or metrics they will be reviewed against. The purpose of these reviews is not to surprise freelancers. In fact, you want freelancers to show up as prepared as possible to get the most value out of the meeting.
When a remote freelancer exceeds your expectations, he or she should be recognized. Recognition encourages increased performance. Recognition further connects freelancers to your mission and goals. While any and all recognition is great, bonuses are the most effective. As a business owner who wants to lead a remote freelancer to success, consider giving out bonuses quarterly or at the end of the year when freelancers have exceeded expectations.
By giving out bonuses when they are deserved, you are valuing freelancers. You are letting them know that you see how well they are doing and that it is appreciated. These feelings will drive commitment and dedication, two qualities that are essential to high performance. People like to feel appreciated. They like knowing that their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.
One of the most commonly overlooked secrets to lead a freelancer is to simply lead by example. If freelancers see that you are passionate and you deeply care about your work, they will pick up on that passion. When freelancers see how hard you work and how dedicated you are, they will work harder as well. Core values trickle down any organization, even a remote one. If you want freelancers to perform at a high level, you should perform at a high level. If you want freelancers to work with integrity, you yourself should work with integrity.
One of the easiest ways to lead a remote freelancer to success is to simply live by the same standards and values that you want to see in freelancers. If you do, freelancers will respect you, desire to please you and mimic your behavior. While it seems intuitive, this step is commonly overlooked by many managers and business owners.
Remote freelancers need to feel like they’re part of the greater whole. Even with weekly all hands meetings, they need more. They need to be able to interact with each other and build personal relationships. Give them a place to do just that. Create a common space where freelancers can interact and communicate. Technology has provided so many great options, and many are even free to use (Skype, Slack, Google Hangouts). Physical distance is no longer a reason to feel disconnected or isolated. When you lead a group of remote freelancers, one of the biggest challenges is getting freelancers to feel connected. You can help overcome this hurdle by providing a communication channel and encouraging interaction.
The secrets to lead a remote group of freelancers to success are not complex. In fact, they are not much different than leading a typical office-based group. While you may have to get a little creative across different countries and time zones, the basics are the same. Freelancers need to feel connected to you and each other, they need to be held accountable and challenged and they need to see you living and working by the values you’d like them to exhibit.
Just because remote freelancers work from a computer across the state, country or globe doesn’t mean that you aren’t the manager. You are ultimately responsible for the performance of freelancers. If they are performing poorly, you may want to look at how you manage them. With few exceptions, most people want to perform well. A few tweaks to your own behavior may be all you need to have a successful group. If you take these tips to heart and implement them in your own business, you can easily encourage higher performance and higher satisfaction for freelancers. You can lead a remote group of freelancers to success.
Melissa Ricker is a nuclear engineer and a professional freelance writer. She specializes in career growth, technical writing and online entrepreneurship. She writes a blog, Engineered Motherhood, for working mothers who need help balancing career growth and time management.
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