LXD Central

In the first article in this series, we explored why freelance L&D talent is critical to an L&D strategy. In this article we look at the challenges to managing freelance L&D talent. 

Now that we’ve established why a freelance workforce is vital for Learning and Development teams, let’s not sugarcoat it—hiring freelance workers can be time-consuming, frustrating, or even worse. If you’ve worked with a freelance workforce long enough, you probably have a few scars to show for it. Here are some common challenges:

Challenge 1: L&D Freelancers Have Different Ways of Working

Every organization has its unique norms, processes, and expectations, just as freelancers have developed their own working styles and deliverable formats based on their past experiences. Often, these established ways of working don’t align, leading to frustration and suboptimal outcomes for both parties.

Challenge 2: L&D Freelancers Have Competing Priorities

As a manager, you have a team to coordinate, stakeholders to manage, and deadlines to meet. Freelancers, on the other hand, juggle multiple clients, projects, and deadlines and may not be available eight hours a day, five days a week. Your priorities and theirs may diverge at times, causing tension and dissatisfaction on both sides.

Challenge 3: It’s Hard to Budget for L&D Freelancers

Working with freelancers often involves choosing between fixed project budgets or time & materials contracts. Both approaches have their challenges. Fixed budgets often require change requests, while time & materials contracts can create ambiguity about final costs. 

Challenge 4: It’s Hard to Assess a L&D Freelancer’s Capabilities

Evaluating freelancers can be as challenging as assessing prospective employees. Many candidates look impressive on paper, but it’s challenging to discern their true capabilities in a limited time frame. This challenge is compounded by the compressed timelines common in freelance arrangements.

Challenge 5: It’s Hard to Find L&D Freelancers

Finding freelance talent can be a daunting task. Job sites like LinkedIn and Indeed are geared towards full-time roles, while platforms like Upwork, while focused on freelancers, are massive and not specifically tailored to L&D. Relying on your network can also be tricky, as recommended freelancers are often in high demand and have limited or no availability.

So like most good things, there are some challenges to working with L&D freelancers. Read the third article in this series to learn best practices for navigating these challenges. 

Need to boost L&D team capacity? Need a specialized skill not currently on your team? Need to cover a full-time employee’s absence? Go to www.lxdcentral.com to find the freelance L&D talent you need. 

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