Hiring an Associate in these challenging times
For many businesses lockdown has meant a downturn in business and/or a halt on potential growth. Growth can mean adding more products or services to your businesses to grow market reach: many of us have had to do exactly this with Covid-19 and it has probably proved to be successful. In order to do this however, inevitably consideration has been taken on how this could be achieved if they needed some specialist help. Do they consider hiring a freelancer or Associate?
Hiring an Associate or freelancer can give many opportunities to grow, however these are two different type of resources:
- A freelancer is used as a one-off resource to meet a service/project need
- An Associate is a more longer-term relationship whereby they can be used to complement the services your business already provides, fills a much needed skills gap (while also adding a cash injection into your business) and enables you to grow and collaborate, helping both your and your Associate’s business. They are not to be confused as employees – you use an Associate on a freelance basis as and when you require, but they are your preferred freelancer because you ultimately trust them with your business.
My top tips on how to make a decision on this are as follows:
- Consider your business: what do you want to achieve?
- Consider what need the Associate fill and for how long?
- Where will you get them from?
- Knowing your network is key. Just because someone is in the same business as you, it does not mean they are a competitor – they are a potential collaborator and provide unique opportunities to grow long term. Consider them as an extension of your wider team.
- Joining professional networks through Facebook and LinkedIn will give you these inroads to finding these people.
- If you do not have access to these networks, freelance websites such as people per hour can give some good resources, but reconsider whether you want them as a freelancer or Associate: if you don’t know them or their work, do you risk having them as an Associate?
- Trust is gold: do not hire an Associate/freelancer unless you know them and trust them.
- Build a relationship over time. If you cannot do this, interview them at the very least. Do they have the integrity and ethics you want to portray to your clients?
- Ensure you have a contract – be clear on brief, rates and clauses to protect you from them poaching your clients.
- Contract headings:
- Contract term: on-going or for specific project
- Charges/terms of payment
- Records and audit
- Indemnity and insurance
- Intellectual property
- Non-solicitation/conflict of interest
- Contracts can be downloaded from various websites: simply docs, Rocketlawyer, but always get them checked over by a lawyer, you do not want them to find a loophole!
My main piece of advice here is to really consider trust, integrity and ethics as your basis for hiring an Associate, they are a valuable resource to your business. Do not enter a relationship without a contract however – this is there to protect you and them in the long term.
If you require any HR advice for your business, I would be happy to help.
HR Consultant – NP Employment Solutions
07932 731 542