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Freelancer onboarding checklist

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Freelancer Onboarding Checklist
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Here’s what you should include in your checklist:

1. Outline company and project goals

To start off on the right foot, provide an engaging overview of your organization and project objectives. This sets the stage for freelancers to understand your organization's mission, values, and the reason why they’re there. You should: 

  • Be concise and engaging: Provide a brief and captivating summary of your organization and its core values. Talk about what makes your organization unique and why freelancers should be excited about working with you. Use language that captures their attention and emphasizes the value of the project.
  • Focus on objectives and impact: Communicate the objectives of the project and how it aligns with your organization's overall goals. Share the impact the freelancer's contribution will have on the project's success and the broader mission of the organization. This will help them understand the significance of their role and motivate them to deliver their best work.
  • Highlight collaboration and support: Emphasize the collaborative nature of the project and how the freelancer will be an integral part of the team. Let them know what support and resources will be available to them — perhaps they will have access to subject matter experts or a dedicated point of contact. Demonstrating a supportive and inclusive work environment is likely to foster a sense of belonging and make the freelancer feel more engaged.

2. Gather your freelancer’s contact details

This step might seem obvious, yet many organizations often forget to ask for the most basic of information — especially if they’re keen to hit the ground running as quickly as possible. To ensure seamless and direct communication throughout your project, it’s important that you have your freelancer’s up-to-date details, including their:

  • Full name;
  • Phone number; 
  • Email address; and 
  • Emergency contact details, if applicable.

3. Determine payment method and schedule

Ensure a transparent and fair payment process by discussing preferred payment methods and schedules in advance. This will give you enough time to set up a profile (and processes) with your bank or payment platform. You should also discuss payment terms, milestones, and ask for any necessary documentation such as bank account details and tax documentation (for example, US freelancers may need to submit a W8 or W9 document).

4. Send (and receive) the contract

While everyone usually hopes for things to go smoothly, having a solid contract that clarifies terms and expectations from both parties is a smart move to safeguard your business in case of any disagreements. 

A contract allows you to specify the work that the freelancer will do, how much it’s worth, and the obligations of each party. A contract also:

  • Minimizes potential disputes or misinterpretations and provides a framework for addressing such issues, should they occur;
  • Establishes mutual acknowledgement and agreement on payment, timelines, and deliverables; 
  • Legally binds all involved parties to the contractual terms. 

Make sure you promptly send the contract (and other necessary documents that require signatures such as NDAs) to your freelancer once they give their verbal agreement. If your freelancer is required to submit multiple documents, it’s a good idea to create your checklist screen using Coassemble (along with due dates) so nothing gets left behind. 

5. Set your freelancer up with the right tools

New freelancer hires often encounter friction when getting used to the tools and software they need to do their jobs. Lessen the tech burden on your freelancer by setting up user profiles in advance. This includes communication and productivity tools, learning platforms, and other necessary software. 

Once the freelancer can access all the tools, you should make sure they have access to any templates, workflows, or presets they might need to get the work done. 

6. Establish clear communication channels 

Effective communication is the lifeline of any project. When working with freelancers, various communication channels can be utilized to facilitate effective and efficient communication, such as:

  • Email: Email is a common and reliable communication channel for exchanging project details, updates, and feedback. It allows for clear documentation of conversations and can be accessed conveniently by both freelancers and team members.
  • Project management tools: Utilize project management tools such as Asana, Trello, or Monday.com to assign tasks, track progress, share files, and collaborate on projects in one centralized platform. 
  • Instant messaging: Instant messaging platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams provide real-time communication and foster quick and informal discussions. Freelancers can connect with team members, ask questions, and receive timely responses, enhancing collaboration and problem-solving.
  • Video conferencing: Video conferencing tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet enable face-to-face communication for team meetings, project briefings, or brainstorming sessions. They are particularly useful for discussing complex topics, sharing screens, and maintaining a sense of visual presence and engagement.
  • Collaboration documents: Tools like Google Docs or Microsoft Office 365 allow multiple users to work simultaneously on shared documents, making it easy to collaborate on written content, track changes, and provide real-time feedback.
  • File sharing platforms: Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive are a few examples of platforms used to exchange large files, documents, and resources securely. These solutions ensure easy access, version control, and efficient collaboration on shared files.

Once you’ve determined the appropriate channel(s) for communication, share them with the freelancer using the checklist you created on Coassemble — don’t forget to include links to these tools for easy access. It is also a good idea to add communication protocols such as check-ins and meetings to keep everyone aligned and informed. 

7. Warmly welcome your freelancer

Make your freelancer feel appreciated and motivated from the start. Craft a personalized welcome letter expressing your excitement to have them on board. Highlight their skills and contributions, and reiterate the importance of their role in the project. 

A welcome kit also helps ease the transition of starting a new project and can reduce anxiety for both the new hire and the person responsible for onboarding them. Additionally, most freelancers feel valued and appreciated when receiving a welcome package. This gesture sets a positive tone and demonstrates your commitment to creating a supportive work environment.

8. Introduce your freelancer to your team

Integration into the team is essential for freelancers to feel like they belong from the start. When introducing the freelancer to the team, consider the following ideas to foster a sense of connection and collaboration:

  • Virtual team introduction event: Organize a virtual team introduction event where all parties can meet and interact in a relaxed and informal setting. This could be a casual video call where everyone can introduce themselves, share a bit about their roles, and engage in some icebreaker activities such as trivia. Such events are designed to promote camaraderie and create a friendly atmosphere from the outset.
  • Team introduction videos: Ask each team member to record a short video introducing themselves and welcoming the freelancer to the team. In these videos, team members can share a bit about their background, areas of expertise, and excitement about working together. Upload these videos onto a YouTube or Vimeo playlist and embed them in Coassemble’s video screen add as many videos as you want before sharing them with your freelancer. This approach allows the freelancer to put faces to names, get to know team members' personalities, and feel more connected to the team before the project officially begins.

9. Share any relevant in-house guidelines 

Make it easy for your freelancer to create the content you need. Providing them with in-house guidelines allows them to produce work that aligns with your organization's voice while ensuring consistency in tone, branding, and style.

For design projects, make sure your freelancer has access to your organization’s brand guidelines. For projects involving content creation, provide style guides and any additional in-house documents you might have including brand narratives, information about your target audience, and examples of content you want them to emulate. 

10. Send comprehensive project information and guidelines

Equip freelancers with all the essential project information and guidelines they need to hit the ground running. Share project specifications, objectives, and any specific deliverables to set clear expectations. For example, content writers should be provided with an outline of desired topics, formatting preferences, SEO considerations, and any specific instructions to streamline the content creation process.

11. Establish expectations and deliverables

At Coassemble, we’re all about transparency. That’s why we’ve created editable screens where you can outline project expectations, including timelines and schedules, in an engaging manner. Make sure to use those screens to also communicate milestones, deadlines, and any dependencies to ensure smooth progress throughout the project. Remember to include expectations for response times and reporting procedures to maintain transparency and accountability. 

Use Coassemble’s authoring tool to craft an engaging freelancer onboarding checklist that not only adds a touch of excitement for your new team member but also streamlines the entire process, fosters collaboration, and sets the foundation for a successful journey ahead. 

Now, it’s your turn to create your own freelancer onboarding experience!

Freelancer onboarding checklist
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