Successfully onboarding your freelancer or consultant
1. Good practices before starting the mission
Even before the expert arrives, there are several steps to optimise their first steps within the company.
- First, it is crucial to maintain communication once the assignment is validated and the freelancer arrives. Don’t hesitate to send a quick message or short email in which you ask for news and reiterate the information to remember on the first day (arrival time, access conditions, referral person’s contact details, etc.).
- Making sure the equipment is ready at the beginning of the assignment is a must. To make a good impression on the first day, ensure that the computer, badges, or other items for the mission are ready. If you realise these elements will not be ready in time, do not hesitate to postpone the start date. This will allow the freelancer to get down to the nitty-gritty of the assignment within the first few hours.
- Similarly, the stakeholders involved in the assignment must be informed of the expert’s arrival. For the expert to feel welcome and quickly at ease, employees working on the same project as the freelancer must be aware of the freelancer’s mission, skills, and the subjects they will be working on. This will make the first day’s interactions all the more fluid.
- Finally, making time in the newcomer’s schedule for training and presentation will also be appreciated. These blocked slots ensure that your expert does not neglect the important step of getting to know the project and its background, as well as the formal presentation with the rest of the team. This is especially important when the whole team is not working from the same country; face-to-face exchanges will not be possible. Time can also be set aside to help them understand the company’s ecosystem and culture. This will help them feel part of the team.
2. What to expect on the first day
The first day is a crucial moment in onboarding. Nothing should be left to chance to make the expert feel welcome.
- For this reason, it is always best to suggest taking the expert on-site on the first day. This will allow you to ensure that their onboarding is monitored correctly and to answer any questions they may have.
- In the same sense, ensure that you and the others referred to the expert are present on their first day. An absence on your part is unthinkable for such a crucial moment in their onboarding, as it is likely to reflect poorly on the person.
- You can also give your freelancer a quick tour of the offices so that everyone has the opportunity to introduce themselves and welcome them.
- You can prepare a welcome pack for the newcomer, such as some company goodies and the usual office supplies. This gesture will not go unnoticed and show them that you consider them as part of the team just as much as the other employees. Other initiatives can reinforce this action: giving them the same benefits as internal teams, such as access to a canteen or the company car park. This will be all the more appreciated as it is still too uncommon!
- If the assignment is on-site, the office you choose for your freelancer also says a lot about their level of consideration. Don’t relegate them to the corner of open space, out of the way, but rather select a location not far from yours so that they can come to you whenever they want and feel part of the team they work with.
Successfully offboarding your freelancer or consultant
Off-boarding is as important as onboarding as it affects the expert’s company impression. Therefore, it is essential to take care of the last days just as much as the first.
1. What to expect in the final weeks
- The first thing to foresee as the last day of the contract approaches is visibility on the next assignment stage. The expert will always appreciate knowing in advance what possibilities are open to him at the end of the project. If there is no possible follow-up, this will enable him to start following up with other companies. You can also offer to reduce the notice period if they find another assignment with an early start date. It is estimated that the ideal period for giving notice of a possible follow-up assignment is roughly one month in advance.
- Make sure that documentation is established before your expert leaves, as this is the prerequisite for a good handover to a possible next freelancer. If the transfer of information is successful (especially in the tech industry), the next freelancer will start their assignment much more easily. Formalising the completed tasks is also important for the company to cope with the departure of an expert. A good track record invariably leads to greater independence for the person in charge of the matter.
2. What to expect in the final days
- To show your interest, you can plan a debrief. Although this practice is still uncommon for freelancers, it benefits both parties. It will be an opportunity to see if the deliverables have been met, to establish what has worked well and what can be improved on the expert’s side and yours.
- A few days before, do not forget to indicate the procedure for returning the equipment. In particular, the deadline and the location should be communicated.
- Don’t neglect your freelancer’s farewell party on the big day. They will undoubtedly be thankful for the opportunity to say goodbye to the people they have worked with for a few months or more. It will also be a way for you to inform the teams of the end of the assignment. Even when the assignment is over, don’t hesitate to invite the freelancer to company events, especially when they are related to the project they have been working on. It will be appreciated!
3. What to expect when preparing for the next stage
Offboarding continues even after the last day of the assignment: the smooth transition to the next freelancer depends on it!
- The freelancer can be rated on many platforms like LittleBig Connection. At the end of the assignment, take the time to give your expert a precise and qualitative evaluation. If you are satisfied, this will allow them to attract more clients and move up in the search results, which will be very valuable to the freelancer.
- For the same purpose, you can also write a recommendation for your expert, assess their skills on LinkedIn, or permit them to pass on your contacts if an employer wants to know more about their work.
If onboarding and offboarding are not to be neglected, it is also because your company’s good reputation depends on them. Always remember that freelancers form a network that advises and recommends clients to each other based on their experience. If an assignment is started poorly and the end leaves a bitter memory with the expert, he will point this out even if the project was satisfactory. LittleBig Connection can help you in these crucial moments by following up and acting as an intermediary, taking care of each step.