Creative freelancers can hit the ground running on just about any project - but you can put an extra spring in their step by swiftly integrating them into the team and providing helpful information. The following eight strategies can help you achieve maximum benefit from your creative consultants.
- Secure management support. Make sure you have strong management support of the project professionals' roles.
- Notify your staff. Inform full-time employees of the nature and length of the freelancers' projects. Also explain that the consultants are being brought on board to help lighten their workload to ease any concerns your staff may have about their own job security.
- Take them on a quick tour. Help consultants acclimate by introducing them to everyone on the team, including administrative personnel. Also, explain your department's day-to-day workflow and provide a brief overview of policies and procedures.
- Create a welcoming workspace. Make sure the designated work areas are equipped with basic office supplies and computers with up-to-date software and access to relevant data. An hour spent with IT trying to get equipment running is an hour freelancers are not performing the work they were brought in to do.
- Clarify project details. On day one, schedule a one-on-one meeting with freelancers to define the scope of the project, identify objectives and expectations, establish clear deadlines, and provide specific instructions. Put these guidelines in writing, if possible, and offer to answer any lingering questions the consultants may have.
- Keep them in the loop. Let freelancers review existing advertising, marketing materials, and web and social media content to understand your company's brand image. Also include them in all relevant meetings and emails concerning their projects. Don't forget to invite consultants to team-building activities and informal events, like afternoon coffee runs, too.
- Promote open communication. Assign a point person to answer any questions that may arise. If that person is busy, be sure to appoint secondary contacts who can address issues when the primary point person is unavailable.
- Check in. Conduct an early assessment of your freelancers' performance to ensure everything is going as planned. If you're working with a staffing firm, provide updates to your staffing manager on the freelancers' progress. This will help him or her ensure the consultants are available for as long as needed.