Attract and Retain Freelance Workers

Author: Eugenija Steponkute
Published: 02/09/2019
attract and retain freelancers

The recent growth of demand for contracted workers has also generated a surplus of outsourced workforce recruitment agencies. Client Relationship Managers and MDs working at such are whom we are addressing in this article. We want to talk to you about a digital solution designed to improve contractor management processes. And how it can help you attract and retain freelance workers.

Employment trends are changing all the time. At the moment, it seems that an increasing number of UK employees are considering moving into contracted roles.

The permanent role and freelance recruitment are two different realms. Therefore they don’t share the same sets of challenges. In this article, we will talk about contractor recruitment specifically and how the adoption of digital tools can support it. 

Talent Attraction vs Talent Retention 

Which is more important for a contractor recruiter - attracting new freelancers or retaining the existing ones? The answer is both. 

There is a huge demand for contracted workers. And it shows no signs of slowing down. It is therefore important to keep a constant stream of new freelancers incoming to match them with your clients. 

On the other hand, you shouldn’t neglect the contractors you already work with either. Maintaining a relationship with them deepens your understanding of one another. This, in turn, makes it easier for you to create great matches again and again.

Contractor Vacancies on the Rise

The recent research carried out by Walters People, cited by Global Recruiter, found that four in ten UK employees would consider working in a temporary, interim or contract position. There are many reasons for this, the study notes. Top of the list is a better lifestyle (47%), followed by higher hourly pay (29%). Then come greater flexibility (26%) and exposure to new skills (19%)

While freelancing was becoming increasingly popular prior to COVID-19, especially across IT and creative industries, the numbers have now grown exponentially. The reason is the pandemic which caused mass work redundancies and the implementation of the furlough schemes.

Even as the job market has been on a steep curve of recovery, many professionals that adopted the lifestyle of a freelance worker chose to keep it. Even when presented with regular salaried job opportunities, they would give preference to freelancing.

Naturally, this has generated a lot of new demand for contractor recruiters. Which, in turn, has resulted in harsher competition. So, how do you get an upper hand?

Streamlined Approach to Attracting New Talents

Scouting and hand-picking freelance workers that are a good fit for your agency is a tedious task if done manually. Not only that - it’s terribly time-consuming and inefficient. Plus, it sets you up for failure in a market as competitive. While the companies that rely on manual labour usually pay their recruiters on a commission model to avoid financial losses caused by underperformance, it’s still a losing game.

Simply put, in an industry as competitive as recruitment, every moment counts. Agencies that employ Client Relationship Management (CRM) systems hand the scouting over to business intelligence to secure more candidates into placements faster. And are therefore scaling at rapid speeds.

As an example, let’s look at what Firefish could do for you. It enables you to build segmented lists of potential candidates and then nurture them via personalised bulk emails, two-way SMS messaging and job alerts. In other words, you save a lot of time by not contacting each candidate manually. Yet you create an individualised experience for each through automation. 

Treat the Contractor with Empathy

Entrusting the majority of the processes to automation doesn’t mean you get to skimp on communication with potential freelancers. Quite the opposite. One of the key reasons behind the automation is to give you extra time to establish a human relationship with the contractors.

Your candidates are human, and therefore they need human contact. To build that rapport, you need to get to know them personally and learn what motivates them, as well as what their limitations are. In fact, the software can help you build that relationship. It will offer insights into how they respond to your automated messages. It can be a massive help in providing timely feedback during and after the placement.

Retention of Freelance Workers

Attracting the contractors to work with your agency is but half of the job. The second part, freelancer retention, is more complicated. The experience and smoothness of processes, powered by a personalised approach, are two pillars on which the longevity of the contractors’ agreement rests.

Let’s discuss them in further detail.

Relationship Management 

The instruction for building a relationship is usually very vague as it’s not backed up by either context or an actual step-by-step. And it’s because the topic itself is pretty subjective, ranging from person to person. However, if we look at relationship management specifically in the recruitment industry, it has a well-defined foundation.

Whether you want to attract or retain contractors, speed and efficiency are two key factors that will help to foster a strong, professional relationship. Ultimately, no contractor wants to be held back by a sluggish agency. So, you need to make sure that the processes and systems you put in place when dealing with contractors are strongly personalised to their specific needs. This breeds a healthy, trust-driven relationship that leads to effective long-term collaborations and contract renewals. 

Automate for Smoothness

The best way of achieving relevant and timely communication is by automating the process. Although some may argue that a personalised approach can only be tailored to human-to-human communication, science proves otherwise. Simply put, especially in bigger companies, a recruiter has no time to give to each individual contractor. And if they try to, it’s bound to be rushed and, possibly, insincere.

Most importantly, it would be prone to human error that leads to irrelevance. As a solution, employing business intelligence to collect information and act in accordance with it. This approach makes it easier for the recruiter to connect to the contractor by proving to be a trustworthy advisor.

For example, a lot of mutual frustration arises from the process of invoicing. The frequent culprit is  slow processing time due to having to generate invoices. Sometimes it’s due to the simple human error of forgetting to submit them. Our Recruitment product offer features for automating invoice generation based on timesheets and expenses submitted. Additionally, we have a wide variety of email and SMS notifications/reminders for both submitters and approvers.

Digital Solutions for Recruitment Agencies

As this article proves, recruitment agencies that employ software to take away as much manual labour as possible are on the winning side. Digital tools allow the automation of otherwise time-consuming tasks, as well as ensure they’re free of human error.

However, the market is filled with different solutions your business may need. From CRMs to accounting to timesheets. And it can get rather confusing, especially in regards to how to compare data collected from different platforms. This leads us straight into the next section. 

Integrations and Scalability 

There’s a way of linking different solutions together to create a centralised data view. It’s called integration. Having 12+ years of experience in the recruitment industry, we’ve learned a lot about what kind of software the agencies rely on. We made a point to integrate our product with the most-used CRMs and accounting solutions.

That’s not the only advantage of highly integrative software. Businesses strive to scale. And, often, it means outgrowing the system you’ve started off with as its limitations hinder the growth. However, since integrations expand the said limitations and add functionality to the software, a solution that can be easily integrated with other tools holds the ability to scale together with you. 


It’s safe to say that the trend of more people swapping salary careers to the contract model isn’t going away anytime soon. In the past, despite its growing popularity, many had reservations about it.

The recent pandemic has given an opportunity for many to eventually try their hand at being independent contractors. And most don’t plan on looking back. This created a huge demand for agencies that find, supply and manage freelance workers. This has also generated big volumes of competition among these recruitment agencies.

The best way of cutting through the noise and harnessing the competition is by entrusting manual processes to an automated solution.

At Timesheet Portal, we invite you to book a demo of one such solution to see for yourself.

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