A recent survey noted that 75% of companies are reporting talent shortages and difficulty hiring, and these numbers are projected to grow in the coming years. With roughly 1.57 billion freelancers worldwide, the solution to this problem seems obvious.
However, many U.S. businesses need help attracting top talent, even in the freelance market. If your company is struggling, here are five major issues that could make independent contractors hesitant to join your team.
Getting Paid on Time is a Hassle
A recent report found that 74% of freelancers get paid late, and 59% are owed upwards of $50,000 for completed work. Overall, the issue of timely, simple payment is probably the top pain point of freelance workers.
In addition, freelancers always have the looming threat of a client possibly disappearing and not paying them for finished work.
Unfortunately, there’s yet to be a perfect solution for this. However, companies can introduce automated payment processors to eliminate the human factor and make payment schedules more reliable.
Alternatively, working with a service like Solar Staff can offer peace of mind for both sides because a mediator can handle all payment issues and smooth the process for each party. Involving a mediator implies “freezing” money on their account so that the freelancer is sure they will be paid for the job and is not left without the deserved money.
They Don’t Feel Like They Can Set Boundaries
There’s an all-too-accurate joke that reflects how many contract workers feel: “I didn’t want to work a 9-5, so I started freelancing, and now I work 24/7.”
Freelancers often feel insecure and unable to say no to a client when asked to work overtime or go above and beyond the agreed-upon tasks because the client has their money. This leads to a terrible work-life balance, extra stress and unbilled work hours.
The solution here is twofold. First, companies should set up clear, transparent billing systems that include contract clauses for overtime. Second, escrow services can also help freelancers feel like their money isn’t “held hostage” unless they complete hours of unplanned work.
Companies can also utilize time management services to correctly budget working hours, eliminating confusion or miscommunication.
Admin Tasks Are a Burden
According to in-house data, 58% of contractors say administrative tasks take too much time. The same pool of contractors cited proper documentation as the number-one most annoying activity related to their work.
Without access to professional assistance via software or accounting departments, freelancers are left to create and manage invoices, perform all reporting tasks, accurately record taxes and manage other documentation manually.
Only 40% of contract workers use dedicated invoicing software, while the rest create their invoices by hand, and 73% have to pay at least $20 for a tool to assist them with invoicing and documentation.
Offering an easy, user-friendly service or app that removes the burden of paperwork would go a long way toward attracting top freelancers. In fact, 67% of freelancers would readily pay for a tool that eliminates administrative obligations, so any company that solves this issue will have a competitive advantage.
Inflexible Deadlines and Unclear Expectations
Companies and contractors may have differing views on a reasonable deadline. If neither party is willing to compromise, this can cause significant problems.
Often, the root of the issue is that each side has different expectations for the outcome, and there needs to be more clear understanding. Additionally, deadlines may shift if the project has complex goals, making it hard for both sides to keep track.
Solving this problem is relatively easy. First, companies should set clear deadlines and expectations immediately so the contractor knows if they can provide what you need within that time frame. Second, there should be a list of acceptable reasons to extend a deadline, and both sides should agree. Using a freelancer-specific tool puts all this communication in a single, accessible place.
Communication Barriers Make the Work Complicated
Differing time zones and languages can often cause freelancers only to accept local work. For instance, 42% of freelancers in Indonesia say language barriers are the problem they face most often.
In addition, different cultural backgrounds can sometimes lead to complications. Some cultures expect working past a deadline; others may prefer tight, consistent communication and some may need more emotional motivation to complete a project.
This is why it’s essential to have written agreements that clearly state a project’s goals, deadlines and expectations. It’s also critical to have a staff member with good emotional intelligence and a similar cultural background to most of your contractors to help smooth communications.
Shore Up Your Weaknesses to Attract Top Freelancers
According to Upwork, the U.S. freelance market earned $1.3 trillion from 2020-2021, and the number of skilled workers continues to climb. Independent contractors are highly educated, motivated and optimistic about their career prospects, so the companies that address freelancers’ concerns will be able to attract top talent and close the talent gap sooner.
Pavel is an experienced entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in financial and legal technologies, business development and client-contractor relationship automation. He founded Solar Staff in 2014 to enable businesses from advanced economies interact with freelancers from emerging ones barrier-free. Solar Staff works with over 1,750 clients and more than 750,000 freelancers and offers talent onboarding, task management, security checks, payments made to 190+ countries and territories, copyright rights transactions and tax payments for freelancers from different jurisdictions.
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