How To Integrate Freelance Talent Into Your Internal Team

In the dynamic landscape of today's business environment and teams, the strategic infusion of high-level freelance talent has become a pivotal driver of growth and innovation. Many organizations, as they grow and change, enthusiastically embrace the prospect of bringing in specialized expertise through platforms like Upwork to work on projects or achieve certain goals and initiatives.

Some bring in specialized talent for a period of time or for a specific purpose. Others bring in specialized talent for ongoing or long-term engagements.

Depending on the business culture and norms, there may be resistance or confusion for existing team members about the project or initiative being worked on. It is paramount that business leadership navigates these transitions with careful consideration and a united front for the success of the bigger goal.

Let’s discuss a few objectives to consider when adding high-level talent to support a project or initiative. This may help create a better experience for the high-level talent and the existing team.

Consider the following objectives when developing a plan to add high-level talent.

  • Define clear team objectives and roles
  • Address concerns and resistance
  • Provide ongoing training and development
  • Align internal leadership
  • Offer a feedback tool with follow up resources

Define clear team objectives and roles

It is imperative that management define the goals, objectives and responsibilities for team roles in their organization overall. Without a clear definition of responsibilities, confusion and misunderstanding can set in. New Team members may assume tasks or responsibilities of other existing team members or have issues understanding what work they are to complete.

Lack of role definition in a business can:

  • Lead to confusion
  • Create lack of productivity
  • Strain payroll

If people don’t clearly understand what they are engaged to do it could create unnecessary work or cause that role to overstep into another department or team members’ work. Ultimately, company objectives are not met or take longer to achieve when roles are not clearly defined.

Address concerns and resistance

It is important to structure time and meetings with an existing team to understand their struggles or concerns as they perform their duties. Regular communication in this aspect can bring to light where resources are needed, whether they be technical, team oriented or changes in operations because of capacity.

  • Discuss changes in the business that require shifts or pivots to avoid confusion or incorrect work being done
  • Foster accountability by allowing team members to ask questions or even push back on changes to address and resolve issues and prevent siloed work

Covering these topics is especially important when onboarding new team members. Make sure new members are brought up-to-date smoothly and integrate well with the existing team.  

Providing an environment of open communication within company boundaries and allowing all team members to be a part of discussions around process and business pivots builds a team environment. Team members that know their contributions are valued are more likely to participate and be proactive as new changes and implementations arise.

Provide ongoing training and development

When considering adding to the team, make an assessment of the existing team’s skill set to see where the new talent’s skill set or expertise is most needed. If a new team lead or manager is hired to work with the existing staff in a department, for example, consider:

  • What skills does the current team have?
  • What training does the team need to adjust well with the new management?

Investing in training and development with an existing team allows the team to prepare for and adjust to new team members or management. Plan to clearly communicate how work is being done and improvements that need to be made to meet expectations and achieve goals. The better prepared the team is for these changes the more likely they will occur without confusion or resistance.

Align internal leadership

It is critical that business leadership is aware and supportive of hiring decisions. Lack of alignment or understanding of the intention behind hiring can cause a breakdown in operations. Since leadership is integral to driving mission and vision, transparency and communication are required before moving forward with hiring external talent.  

Once a new team member has been hired:

  • Create a cohesive working environment by informing and preparing leadership
  • Have leadership or the management team make the announcement that new people are joining the business
  • Publically welcome the new hires to the team

In my experience, it is awkward when an organization lacks communication, does not have an onboarding protocol, or lacks transparency about new team members. The internal team is not certain why the new team member was hired. The new team member feels uncomfortable stepping into their role and is set up for failure.  

Offer a feedback tool with follow up resources

Gathering information from team members by offering a feedback tool is essential to maintain a balanced work environment. Feedback is especially important when new team members are added and there is an adjustment period. You want to make sure any questions or concerns are addressed promptly in meetings, group messages or other team communication channels.

When information is gathered:

  • Decide if the suggestions or concerns need to be responded to
  • Work with management to define how feedback is interpreted
  • Implement responses that build team trust

If the team knows their concerns are being addressed and listened to, they are more likely to be transparent and proactive. They may make adjustments or provide suggestions to meet department goals or objectives.

Integrate high-level talent for strategic results

The successful integration of high-level talent from platforms like Upwork is not just a strategic move; it's a cultural shift that demands collaboration, communication, and adaptability within a business. By addressing concerns, aligning visions, and fostering an inclusive environment, businesses can pave the way for a harmonious blend of skills that propels their team toward unparalleled success to achieve their goals and complete any projects as intended

I am a customer experience and success strategist. I help businesses streamline, transform, or improve their customer experience programs, operations, workflow systems, and customer journeys. If you’d like some help with your program, send an inquiry through my Upwork profile and we can discuss the best options for your needs.

This article was submitted by and expresses the views and opinions of the independent freelancer listed as the author. They do not constitute the views or opinions of Upwork, and Upwork does not explicitly sponsor or endorse any of the views, opinions, tools or services mentioned in this article, all of which are provided as potential options according to the view of the author. Each reader and company should take the time needed to adequately analyze and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situations.
This article was submitted by and expresses the views and opinions of the author. They do not constitute the views or opinions of Upwork, and Upwork does not explicitly sponsor or endorse any of the views, opinions, tools or services mentioned in this article, all of which are provided as potential options according to the view of the author. Each reader and company should take the time needed to adequately analyze and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situations.
Article Author
Author
Sasheen M.
Top Rated
Customer Experience and Success Consultant
Coral Gables, Florida
Customer service

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