So you’re ready to hire a freelancer, or maybe you have been hiring freelancers but with minimal success. What gives? After all, you’ve provided them with your website link, a mission statement, and the name of your company. Along with the free rein to use their creative insight and run with it! Then your first content order or marketing campaign comes back missing the message or not being what you wanted at all. The problem? A lack of cultural onboarding.
What is Cultural Onboarding
The concept, cultural onboarding, is something you are most likely doing with employees you hire in person. You are exposing the culture of your company to them. A company has its own culture in the same way a society does. This includes areas of rules, language, uniforms, social structures, rituals, and even foods.
Think about it. What kind of culturally unique things do you offer to your employees? Free meals on Fridays? A particular brand of coffee that everyone secretly hates? In-house sports like table tennis or Dance, Dance Revolution?
This is all a small part of your company culture. For your freelancers, they aren’t interested in the watercooler chitchat but it would be good for them to better understand and connect with your brand.
When Cultural Onboarding Happens
You most often provide cultural onboarding during the job orientation process. For your in-house employees, this typically includes a manual regarding office policies and procedures. You might also have a training seminar or workshop you provide for a group of new hires at once.
This is all done to promote bonding among your office workers, but it also helps to develop a unique company culture. This culture is underpinned by rules and standards, yet will change as you bring in new personalities, work experiences, and life histories among new hires.
How to Culturally Onboard Freelancers
If you are hiring freelancers, finding a way to connect them to this company culture is key. Through cultural onboarding you can build a long-term committed relationship with a freelancer or team of said freelancers. This offers several benefits:
- Freelancers have a stable work opportunity while still remaining self-employed, which is key to keeping the gig economy afloat
- Companies can receive more authentic content or marketing services from freelancers, whether writers, marketers, or graphic designers, thanks to the more in-depth understanding of the company culture and what makes the company sparkle
- Managers spend less time and money finding and hiring new freelancers to fill the role of ones who didn’t quite fit the company expectations for style, brand, or voice
Create a Culture Calling Card
Develop a company manual that includes both written and visual aids, but make it freelancer-specific. Your freelancers don’t need to know about things not applicable to them like health insurance benefits or retirement options. However, including some of the following you can help them better understand what your company does and is all about:
- Charities and nonprofits your office actively supports
- Awards and honors your company has received
- Locations, i.e., cities or countries, where you have offices
- Updates of staff and employees they might work with
Think of this culture calling card like a brag book about your business. Here are some ways to get stared:
- Make a freelancer manual that you provide digitally along with your other marketing information, such as user personas.
- Create a series of videos depicting your company culture. Feature days-in-the-life with employees who work in-house.
- Include videos about what your company mission is all about. Showcase interviews with the business owner regarding the culture of the company.
- Consider doing live streams whenever you have office celebrations, such as for achieving major goals for your company or on major holidays.
Remember, the goal with cultural onboarding a freelancer is not to create a culture. It is to translate that culture. You want to showcase what your company is all about rather than trying to include them in the culture.
Connecting to a Freelancer
Just because you are hiring a freelancer you aren’t expecting to receive less than stellar services or products. A marketer or writer who works freelance simply wants the creative edge that a self-employed freelance lifestyle brings.
This is why 57.3 million people in 2017 were working on their own and for a wide variety of clients, rather than on a 9-to-5 in a cubicle for a single company. That’s 36 percent of the US workforce according to Forbes, which also reports freelancers will grow to account to 50 percent of the workforce by 2027.
By better connecting and understanding your company and its mission, your freelancers can work smarter and more successfully for your brand. You spend less time finding new talent—and pulling your hair out in the process—and more time getting these content or marketing services you need for your business.
“Welcome. I’m the Whispering Wordsmith of the Woods, An Old Man Willow type cunning the lit forest, Disrupting textbookish writers with grammar snaps and cracks.” As a professional web content writer for small-to-medium businesses, Miranda B understands how to effectively balance technical jargon and personal brand messaging. Her content is sticky, evergreen when expected to be, and always creative. Keep ’em coming back for more, that’s Miranda’s motto!