Here at Jam Pan, we truly believe that L&D freelancers are some of the most creative, innovative and hardworking people in business. They have superb project management skills, they think outside the box and they’re always willing to share and network with their peers. But there’s one huge benefit to working with freelancers that is often overlooked: how they can benefit your internal team. In this blog, we’re going to explore the ways in which L&D freelancers can boost the effectiveness of your internal learning team.
Meeting tight deadlines
Meeting a looming deadline is the most common reason to use freelancers. Even the best made learning plans can get thrown out of the window, thanks to sudden introductions of new rules, regulations and policies. So having a group of reliable experts on-hand to help you hit deadlines is always a good idea.
But it’s not as simple as hiring a freelancer and the job gets done. You – as the hiring manager – need to make sure you know how to work with freelancers in a productive, professional and efficient manner. This includes ensuring open, two-way communication, and briefing freelancers properly. When you’re briefing freelancers make sure you include:
Lots of background information. Why is this piece of learning being created? Is it one element of a wider learning strategy? Or is this the entire learning resource?
Clear objectives. Let your L&D freelancer know exactly what is expected of them, and what success looks like in your organisation.
Information on your target audience. Don’t make assumptions that the freelancer you’ve hired understands your learners. Give them lots of information up front about who your learners are and identify key characteristics.
Clear timescales. Make sure your freelancers know of any project deadlines. This includes any deadlines that might be included throughout – this will allow them to manage their time.
Clarification about any specific processes or procedures. All freelancers work in different ways, so if you have any specific procedures you want them to follow, make sure you highlight them up-front.
An introduction to the team. It’s very rare that you’d want a freelancer to work in isolation. So make sure you introduce your freelancer to the wider team – and specify who’s responsible for what.
Helping your team upskill
In fact, working closely with your team is another way in which hiring L&D freelancers can benefit your business. Throughout the pandemic many L&D teams realised they lacked digital skills, which caused many to turn to L&D freelancers for support. But instead of simply outsourcing tasks, why not get them to work alongside the freelancers and learn on-the-job?
Many L&D professionals will be familiar with the 70-20-10 model for learning and development. This model hypotheses that:
Hands-on experience is the most beneficial (the ‘70’)
People learn through others – such as through coaching, mentoring or collaborative learning (the ‘20’)
Traditional learning (training days and eLearning, for example) holds the least benefit (the ‘10’). But it’s important to note that it is still an effective method of training!
So with this in mind, it’s clear to see that by working alongside L&D freelancers, your team can learn both on-the-job and through others. This enables your internal team to upskill (and perhaps ‘reskill’) whilst not limiting the effectiveness of your L&D team – a win, win for everybody!
Bring fresh ideas
In any creative field it can be easy to get caught up in the humdrum of life – and digital learning is no different. You see a training need, you create an eLearning course, push it out to the LMS, and job done. Sound familiar? Freelancers can help break this cycle and bring fresh ideas to your organisation.
Digital learning freelancers work in a wide range of organisations, which means they are usually amongst the first to see new, innovative ways of creating digital learning – and they can bring these ideas to your organisation. But this does mean you, as a hiring organisation, need to be open to these new ideas, and welcome change in your L&D team. Remember “but that’s how we’ve always done it” is one of the most dangerous phrases in business – so make sure that’s well out of your mind.