Via a recent linkedin poll we asked you whether you include your freelancers into your companies internal strategy discussions. Here were the results.
Although in some cases it might be dependant on certain factors such as, freelancer experience, how long they have been with, or will be with, the company, or project specifics , it’s Interesting to see that these results show that most companies (55 votes) would in fact include freelancers in their internal strategies discussions.
It’s widely known that the concept of working, and the way we work, is changing, giving rise to the “gig” economy. Traditionally, companies have employed a centralised workforce to steer their strategic decisions. However with the shift towards a more temporary workforce , organisations are recognising the value of involving freelancers in strategy discussions. In this article we explore the benefits, challenges, and best practices of incorporating freelancers into strategic planning sessions.
The Freelancer Revolution
Freelancers usually come with years of experience and are experts in their field. They will often have experience not just across multiple organisations, but across a range of industries, and with that comes a fresh perspective and insights that might not exist within the internal team. The input of diverse freelancers can provide the edge needed to stay ahead in a competitive landscape.
Benefits of Freelancer Involvement
- Diverse Perspectives: Often having worked across a vast range of projects, and industries, Freelancers may have accumulated diverse knowledge that can bring a fresh viewpoint to a strategy session. This might challenge the conventional way the team usually hold their discussion and stimulate creativity.
- Expertise On-Demand: The flexibility of hiring freelancers as opposed to committing to long term employees, mean companies can hire based on specialist skillsets for specific projects or tasks, optimising their resource allocation
- Agility and Innovation: The gig economy thrives on adaptability, and freelancers are known for their ability to quickly respond to changing trends. Integrating freelancers into strategic discussions can infuse a culture of agility and innovation within the organisation.
- Reduced Bias: As external freelancers, they bring an unbiased perspective to the table. Their insights are unaffected by the internal politics of the organisation which would ultimately lead to more objective decision making.
30% of voters said no to including their freelancers into strategy discussions highlighting that there are some challenges that come with involving temporary workers in wider strategic and often confidential conversations.
- Cultural Integration: Freelancers may find it challenging to integrate into a company’s culture given the temporary nature of their work. Companies can assist with this by creating an inclusive environment and providing freelancers with appropriate resources for them to understand the company’s values and goals.
- Data Security: Making the decision to share sensitive information with a temporary employee would depend on a variety of factors, for example, security and data protection measures involved in your organisation might require more than just a generic non disclosure agreement.
- Communication Hurdles: As we know, remote working is still prevalent across many industries, and although it can be done, communication can be hindered based on factors like timezones, geographical distance and scheduling, so establishing clear communication channels is needed to bridge this gap.
- Ownership and Accountability: Determining the level of ownership and accountability that freelancers hold in strategic discussions can be complex. Clearly outlining roles, responsibilities, and expectations helps address this challenge.
Best Practices for Integrating Freelancers into Strategy Discussions.
- Strategic Alignment: Align freelancers’ expertise with the company’s strategic goals to ensure meaningful contributions. Careful selection of freelancers based on their relevant skills is vital.
- Structured Involvement: Define the scope and duration of freelancers’ involvement to avoid ambiguity. Clearly communicate project milestones, deadlines, and expected outcomes.
- Regular Check-ins: Maintain consistent communication through regular check-ins, virtual meetings, and collaboration platforms. This ensures freelancers remain engaged and have the necessary resources to contribute effectively.
- Feedback: Encourage open feedback from freelancers about their experience working with the company. Use their insights to refine the integration process.
As the freelance landscape continues to expand, companies can capitalise on the expertise and fresh perspectives of freelancers by involving them in strategy discussions. While there are pros and cons, a structured approach can help overcome some of these concerns.
By embracing the freelancer revolution, organisations can enhance their agility, innovation, and decision-making processes, ultimately driving long-term success in an ever-evolving business environment.
&FRIENDS – the future of talent agility.