Treating freelancers as a core part of the team is the secret to HudsonBec's welcoming attitude towards the self-employed.
HudsonBec Group are a collection of creative businesses including It’s Nice That, Lecture in Progress and If You Could Jobs, and a significant portion of their team is made up from freelance workers.
“It’s hard to say how many freelancers we have in at any time, as it changes depending on the need. We could be really busy and have 7 or so people in one day, other times, maybe just 1 or 2”, explains Sandip Gill - HR Manager at HudsonBec Group, “but we treat them as humans as part of our team”.
"The ethos behind how we work with freelancers very much comes from the founders and leadership of the business. I’ve been here since April, and have implemented a few additional ways of working, but it very much comes from how we want to work with others. We’re 11 years old, and have seen repeat freelancers coming back on to new projects from over five years ago”.
“We onboard freelancers the same way as full-timers when it comes to health and safety, contracts, NDAs etc, to ensure we cover the basics and to ensure if they need to work in the space then they are comfortable to do so. Not only do they learn more about our business, they experience what a good onboarding is, and what they should expect wherever they work. There are which may not be not relevant to them as freelancers, rather than employees, but we feel it’s really important to include them in these sessions”.
"We make a point of always paying the freelancers first, so there’s no 'oh sorry, we’ve reached our payment limit today, we’ll have to pay you tomorrow'"
Timely payment is important to HudsonBec too. “We have the same 30 day payment terms with all our suppliers and freelancers, but we make a point of always paying the freelancers first, so there’s no “oh sorry, we’ve reached our payment limit today, we’ll have to pay you tomorrow” excuses.”
As a business which provides a wide range of benefits and healthy working practises for its employees, such as flexi-time working, 33 days holiday as base, an employee assistance programme which includes access to counselling sessions, and enhanced parental leave - supporting freelancers is just as important.
This integrated approach seems to work well that they’ve received positive feedback from their freelancers, without asking for it - in fact, when researching for companies who treat their freelancers well, HudsonBec and It’s Nice That were mentioned multiple times - a sure sign they’re doing something right.
Becoming a Freelance Friendly Business doesn't have to be complicated, take some tips from how HudsonBec Group approach supporting their workforce.
Create a dedicated process for onboarding freelancers for when they’re working with you. Use a platform like Welcome to create effortless onboarding, or just take the time to ask your freelance what they need to know, to work well.
Provide a way for your freelancers to get to know more people in the business, so they can make positive connections with others - either other freelancers, or other members of your team. The little serendipitous conversations will uncover other ways your extended workforce will be able to help you in the future, and make the individual feel more connected to your business.
Some things you can offer to your freelancers put them at risk of seeming like an off-payroll employee, so navigate this mindfully, or get advice on what does and doesn’t put both you as an organisation and the individual in a grey area.
Keep them short, pay on time, don’t make excuses, if you’ve got questions about an invoice, ask before its due, not after. There’s no reason not to pay on time. Don’t be that company.
It’s clear that freelancers are a significant part of how HudsonBec operate, rather than just ‘overflow’. Treat your extended workforce as part of a wider group of people you can call upon, to access more diverse talent when required, not just a ‘resource’, and you’ll benefit in higher quality of work, trust and respect from your freelancers, and positive feedback which enhances your reputation, so you can continue working with high quality of talent.
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Have you worked with a business who made you feel welcome, and treated you well?