Creative Agency Human Capital: Should I Hire a Freelancer?

Hiring a freelancer is a decision all agencies come across from time to time. Perhaps in house staff are not equipped with a certain skill, or a one time job needs to be done, or the short term investment is a better financial decision for the company rather than a long term employee.

Let’s compare the two; hiring a freelancer or a full-time employee. The pros and cons on that spectrum can have big impact on your agency, both financially and reputation wise.

Firstly, let’s discuss the return of time investment when hiring someone. Hiring a freelancer could mean an easy end to a contract without further obligations. If they weren’t a fit for the team or produced subpar work, you have the option to not reuse them again for the next project.

When hiring a full-time employee, you want to onboard them, invest time in them so they mesh well with the existing team and gear them up for the future of the company. Ending employment could prove to be difficult, navigating labour laws and potentially wasting the initial effort to make them fit in.

On the contrary, hiring a full-time employee could mean better loyalty should you want to keep this person. They are more likely to stay with your agency and build a future with it. If they are a rare talent you found, retaining them and preventing a competitor from snatching them up could be easier.

Secondly, a freelancer is a business you work with, whereas a full-time employee becomes one with your agency. In other words, work produced by a freelancer may not fully belong to you. If an employee that represents your agency produces the work, your agency has full rights to the work. This can also become tricky when dealing with digital assets. When it’s time for your client’s next project, they may go directly to the contractor and cut out the middle man; that’s you!

For my third comparison, communication. When working with a freelancer, often they run their own shop, working out of the comfort of their own environment. Communicating with your freelancer may only be through less tangible mediums, such as emails or phone calls.

With a full-time employee in your office, getting face to face attention and throwing ideas up on a whiteboard is possible and effective.

Be sure to establish what form of communication you are comfortable with and when you want them with your freelancer.

And with that, I conclude there’s no right or wrong answer but some food for thought the next time you seek addition talent.

This article was contributed by former Function Point team member, Gary Tony.

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