OKRs: The New Solution to Managing Your Freelancers

CEOs are well-aware of the benefits of hiring freelancers: you get high-quality work on an as-needed basis without having to spend the money and time of hiring and training additional full-time employees. And the influx of independent contractors is only beginning. Currently, more than one-third of the U.S. workforce (34%) is made up of freelancers. That’s 53 million workers (source: Freelancers’ Union)! By 2020, it’s estimated that the figure will jump to 40% – or possibly even 50%, according to Forbes. The trend is especially significant for small business owners and CEOs of startups: 20% say that they are more likely to hire independent contractors versus full-time employees (source: SurePayroll).

But freelance work does have some complications: how do you keep everyone – including both your full-time employees and your freelancers – on track and aligned towards meeting your company priorities?

The solution is to use employee feedback software combined with OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) goals management. Here are some ways in which this ongoing performance management approach works to effectively manage freelancers:

Align Freelancers with Company Goals

When you use OKRs, every employee and freelancer has his or her own individual Objectives that must be completed by the end of the quarter (or whichever time frame suits your company). When you use an OKR goals software system to keep track of each person’s Objectives, everyone can see how each individual’s priorities fit in and contribute to company goals. You’ll also ensure that the top-level priorities of your company are cascading down to the individual contributor level, including freelancers.

Improve Freelancers Management using Feedback

Even though your freelancer workers aren’t full-time employees, they still need to be kept engaged in their work so that they can continue to perform well and deliver strong results. The easiest way to keep them engaged while managing them remotely is to use employee feedback software. An automated weekly report can be used for freelancers and full-time employees alike, and it allows every contributor to share his or her insights on progress, obstacles, and morale. When you respond, you can give feedback, too, including praise for small wins, course-correcting guidance, and strengths-based feedback.

Use OKR Software to Achieve Clarity among Freelancers

Clarity becomes especially hard to achieve with freelancers. While some execs and managers may be able to have weekly one-on-one meetings with freelancers as they would regular employees, for most, that becomes impossible due to time and/or location constraints. As such, you need to find a way to achieve clarity even without those face-to-face interactions. One easy way of doing so is by using OKR software. When you spell out goals with precise language at the beginning of the quarter, you ensure that freelancers are 100% clear on your expectations. And, even if questions or concerns do arise down the road, OKR software makes it easy to proactively address roadblocks and course-correct to stay on track with goal progress.

Employee Feedback Apps Improve Visibility

When it comes to hiring independent contractors, it’s important to ensure that both parties have visibility to company goals, priorities, and expectations. Complementing your OKRs with an employee feedback app keeps a continuous, closed loop of communication in place. Even though you aren’t physically meeting with one another, you’ll still manage freelancers effectively by checking in often enough via your employee feedback app to ensure that your expectations (and their ongoing progress) are made visible.

Manage Freelancers in Real Time

Sometimes, the time and location constraints of freelance work can make it difficult to manage in real time. When you actually do have the opportunity to check in with your freelancers, you may find yourself spending a lot of time just catching up. With OKRs and an employee feedback app, the need to play catch up is eliminated, because using these management approaches inherently keeps both parties caught up in real time. OKRs enforce regular updates and measurement of progress, so you can know exactly what’s being accomplished and when.

Do you manage a company or teams (either as a CEO, a senior executive, a middle manager or even a front-line manager)? Do you set and track objectives? Does aligning employee performance to business goals matter, and are you responsible for driving results? If so, please check out a live demo of Atiim OKR & Goals Management Software and we’d love to hear what you think about it. Thank you!

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