There is a growing pressure of constant and accelerated change, combined with a dynamic of talent migration like we have never seen before, and this has created an awareness as companies need to reconsider the way work is done. to compete for the best and brightest talent.
Freelancers have long been a stabilizing force in the advertising industry, and with more than half of American workers expected to be freelancers by 2023, their importance to the new talent equation is indisputable.
Once a tactic for filling a gap or escaping a dead end, bringing in freelancers to provide bench depth, introducing new skill sets, and injecting diverse experiences and perspectives into a business, all while tackling project work , has quickly become the new normal for the most forward-thinking and innovative teams.
The next step is to carefully consider how they are treated by their temporary employers and teams. And since money is often where the rubber meets the road, freelance talent payment terms should be high on every employer’s list of things to rethink right now.
Abuse of the self-employed
For decades, long payout times have been a thorn in the side of freelance talent. Historically, brands and agencies have wielded outsized power that has resulted in the wrong partnership with the very people needed to keep their businesses competitive.
But times are changing rapidly and power dynamics are rapidly shifting in favor of talent. This means paying your freelance talent in a timely and dignified manner isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s a necessity if you want your job done.
Delaying payment is solely in the interest of the employer, and payment delays of 30, 60, 90, and even 120 days are a gross and common mistreatment of freelance talent. I have often referred to these payment terms as wage theft. Simply put, long payment terms for freelancers are a way for companies to get an interest-free loan from their talent. And that is completely unacceptable.
No one should have to wait 120 days to receive a paycheck for work done. We shouldn’t set the same payment terms for freelance talent as you would for your software vendors. They are real humans who rely on this money to take care of the things that are important in their lives.
Getting paid on time can mean the difference between a freelancer covering their monthly bills and financial disaster. Again, this is while a company reaps the benefits of an essentially interest-free loan from the freelancer’s salary and effort. More than ever, freelance talent has options and plenty of options. They no longer have to accept disrespectful terms from their partners.
Align business goals with time
As with many mind-boggling practices within large organizations, these long payment terms represent incongruous goals within a company’s management.
For procurement and legal teams, who want lower costs, a longer payment trail, and low liability, the longer the payment terms, the better. For marketers who leverage the skills of the freelance community to create brilliant work, payment terms are another lever they can use to attract the brightest talent to do amazing work.
As more and more workforces (and brands) turn to freelancers, companies need to look at how they treat and compensate this growing cohort of their workers, which will take serious, high-level conversations. level on alignment of procurement, finance, legal affairs objectives. , talent acquisition and marketing actors within the company.
Employer branding has never been more important than it is today, and the poor treatment of freelancers diminishes a brand’s ability to associate with a world-class team, even causing hard damage. to repair a brand’s reputation as a fair and thoughtful employer in the talent market.
As freelancers become an integral part of every organization in marketing, paying them less frequently than every other week (as often as we typically pay full-time employees) is going to seem completely absurd. We will come back to this practice one day with disbelief that we have left it for so long.
Freelance talent is part of your inclusion and innovation strategy, which means how you compensate them should be as important to you as those business goals. It’s time to make some noise and use the current talent shortage to create meaningful changes in processes and formalities that will allow businesses to move forward with a respected, caring and totally inclusive.