LXD Central

In the first article of this series, we established why freelance talent is a necessary part of a L&D strategy. In the second article, we looked at some of the challenges to using freelance L&D talent. In this third and final article, we discover best practices for managing freelance L&D talent. 

Best Practice 1: Document Your Processes and Templates

To improve the recruitment of freelance L&D team members, start by documenting your processes, standardizing deliverables, and benchmarking your efforts. This foundational step is critical for scaling your operations efficiently. Begin with existing resources, adapt them to your organization over time, and continuously refine them.



Needs Assessment

Design Workshop

Content Workshop

Deliverable Review

Project Plans

Design Document

Scripts / Storyboards

Facilitator Guide



Best Practice 2: Onboarding is Key

While it may be tempting to view freelance relationships as transactional, they require a more comprehensive approach. As the hiring manager, treat freelancers as if they were employees. Effective onboarding is essential and should include the following:



Provide documentation and walk them through any processes you expect them to follow.


Provide examples and walk through any deliverable they will be accountable to create.

Project Plan

Tell them about all deadlines and milestones and confirm they can meet them.

Meeting Etiquette

Set expectations for meetings, including agendas, expected outcomes, decision-making processes, and follow-up procedures.

Project Change Process

Define expectations for change requests, communication, and decision-making.

Project Communication

Specify the frequency and format of updates.


Best Practice 3: Be Transparent about Budgeting Assumptions

Budgeting for a learning project need not resemble a high-stakes poker game. Instead, it should be a collaborative and transparent process. As the buyer, you have specific deliverables, quality expectations, and review standards. Freelancers need a clear understanding of these inputs to provide accurate estimates. Expect assumptions to change as you gather more information about your audience, the business problem, and the solution. To manage this, consider:

  1. Clearly communicating expectations upfront.
  2. Ask freelancers for estimates and assumptions.
  3. Allocate a budget contingency (around 20-30%) at the project’s start.
  4. Conduct formal budget reviews during the project to assess actual effort against forecasts.
  5. Learn from your findings and adjusting expectations as needed.

Best Practice #4: Details Matter in Selecting a Freelancer

When evaluating potential freelance candidates, dig into the details. Finding the right freelancer can be as challenging as hiring an employee. While many candidates may appear impressive on paper, it’s essential to separate them through a deeper understanding of their past experiences. The STAR framework is a valuable tool for this purpose. Ask candidates to describe:

  • Situation: “Describe and provide relevant details of your example, explain the context of the situation and why it connects to the question.”
  • Task: “Describe your role in the situation. This can help establish the level of responsibility you had in the previous role.”
  • Action: “Explain how you addressed the situation and what steps you took to overcome the challenge. A good answer shows how you added value to the situation and made logical decisions.”
  • Result: “At the end of your answer, explain the outcome of the situation. A quality answer includes concrete examples and quantifiable achievements, including the direct effects of your efforts in your response.”[1]

[1] https://joinhandshake.com/blog/students/interview-pro-tips-how-to-nail-a-behavioral-interview/

Best Practice 5: Use LXD Central

We’ll admit it; this is a bit of self-promotion. We established LXD Central to simplify the process of finding and hiring Learning and Development Talent. LXD Central is a dedicated freelance marketplace for L&D professionals. It streamlines the recruitment of L&D freelancers, making it easier for companies to find the right talent for their needs. www.lxdcentral.com

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