22 April 2024

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Attracting and Retaining Top Freelance Talent: What Employers Need to Know

By Mike H.

category : All

ON : 22 April 2024

In recent times, the gig economy has been booming with Covid-19 being the major catalyst for the global transition to remote work. In fact, in 2022, approximately 59 million U.S. workers turned out to be independent contractors, totaling about 36% of the overall workforce. Employers are actively looking for top freelance talent to complete projects, fill skills gaps, and bring fresh perspectives to their teams.

However, attracting and retaining talented employees from the freelance workforce is quite challenging and wholly different from traditional hiring practices. In this article, we’ll discover what employers need to know to effectively attract and retain the finest freelance professionals.

Freelancers Crave Flexibility

To attract and retain freelancers, it is crucial to understand the fundamental needs of an independent contractor. Unlike traditional employees, freelancers prioritize flexibility and autonomy over everything. In 2021, Microsoft conducted a survey in which they discovered that over 70% of workers want workplace flexibility.

Talented freelancers highly appreciate gigs that allow them to choose their own hours, work remotely, and accept projects that fit their schedules and preferences. This allows them to contribute their expertise while maintaining a work-life balance.

Employers who can offer flexibility and accommodate different working styles have a high probability of not only attracting the right talent but also retaining them over the long haul.

Importance of Clear Communication and Expectations

Effective communication is essential for attracting and retaining employees. A staggering majority of employers must communicate project demands, payment terms, and deliverables to freelancers, which causes distrust in remote teams. Hence, before recruiting freelance talent, employers should craft compelling job descriptions in which they clearly elaborate on the following items:

  • The project scope
  • Required skills
  • Deliverables
  • Any specific qualifications
  • Onboarding process
  • Budget
  • Milestones and payment terms
  • Realistic project deadlines
  • Examples of similar projects

This will ensure the freelancers understand their roles and responsibilities and produce effective results using their skill sets. Transparent Communication builds trust and fosters a positive working environment which helps to retain top-tier talent in the long run.

Competitive Compensations and Bonuses

Market competitive compensation is the most important factor in attracting and retaining talented employees from the saturated gig economy. Freelancers are adept at setting their rates based on their skill set, market demand, experience, and project complexity. Hence, employers should thoroughly research industry standards, and pay rates to offer fair compensation that reflects the value of the freelancer’s contribution.

Most employers fail to retain freelancers due to late disbursement of milestones and other compensations. Research indicates that approximately 58% of freelancers have experienced some sort of late payment throughout their careers.

Employers should also offer bonuses to contractors who achieve remarkable results or complete projects on very short notice. This will build trust between freelancers and employers and foster long-term business relationships.

Opportunities for Skill Development and Growth

Top gig workers are always actively seeking opportunities to develop their skills and grow in their professional endeavors. Employers can exploit this factor to their advantage for attracting and retaining talented employees by offering challenging projects, access to new technologies or tools, and opportunities to expand their skills and knowledge base.

Smart employers use the following methods to attract and retain freelance specialists:

  • Organizing workshops and conferences
  • Offering special training and free courses
  • Providing opportunities for networking, mentorship, and collaboration

Creating and Nurturing a Positive Employee Experience

Most employers are fairly successful in attracting talented independent contractors but fail to retain them over time. Gig workers usually leave due to poor employee experience and try to find better opportunities elsewhere. To combat this issue, employers should create and nurture positive employee experiences to increase retention, and satisfaction rates among top freelance professionals.

The following strategies can be used to significantly enhance the employee experience:

  • Facilitate smoother onboarding: Appoint a competent HR manager who provides clear instructions and provides support during the onboarding process.
  • Encourage Collaborative culture: Conduct regular meetings and team-building activities to encourage freelancers to collaborate on projects, brainstorm new ideas, and find solutions to existing problems.
  • Recognize and reward excellence: Appreciate and acknowledge exceptional work, and offer bonuses for outstanding performances.
  • Prompt for feedback: Regularly seek feedback from employees to show them that their opinions and remarks are valuable. Use that feedback to address issues, and identify areas of improvement.
  • Promote Work-Life Balance: Set boundaries around work hours and respect freelancer’s schedules and personal commitments.

Respecting the needs and preferences of freelance experts will allow employers to create a positive and rewarding environment that helps attract and retain employees.


Attracting and retaining employees in the modern-day gig economy is an arduous task but employers can achieve this feat by employing a proactive approach that focuses on providing flexibility, communicating effectively, offering competitive compensation, creating a positive employee experience, and providing growth opportunities. By effectively implementing these strategies, employers can attract and retain top freelance talent and drive business success in today’s evolving freelance workforce landscape.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How to attract and retain top talent in a competitive market?

It is done by providing the talent with flexibility, competitive compensation, positive employee experience, skills and growth development, and by effectively communicating with them.

  1. How do organizations create and use employee experiences to attract and retain talent?

Organizations achieve that by strategically focusing on several key areas, such as:

  • Smooth Onboarding
  • Encouraging Collaborative Culture
  • Recognizing and Rewarding Excellence
  • Soliciting Feedback
  • Promoting Work-Life Balance
  1. What is attracting and retaining top talent?

Attracting top talent implies researching the market to find the most competent individuals and then hiring them by offering unique incentives. Retaining top talent means having them onboard for a longer period for future collaborations by encouraging them to stay with a unique value proposition.

Mike H.

Digital Marketing Head

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