The gig economy is the future, we’re told. I’ve been an active part of this economy for just over two decades, and there are two major skills required to make this work. The first is being able to give a clear brief, and the second is the ability to give feedback.
Part of the reason many clients don’t give good feedback, is that they don’t have a clear enough idea of what they want. They know when they don’t like something, but they can’t say why, or outline what they do want. So here are some pointers if you’re working with someone who’s outsourced or working remotely.
Acknowledge receipt of the work
This stops the service provider from chewing their fingernails to the quick wondering whether the work was received. It takes less than two seconds to type, “Thanks!” in reponse to their email.
Indicate how long feedback might take
Remote workers are not privy to the inner workings of your organisation. They have no idea how long it might take for various parties to view and approve the work. So while the gears grind on, they are sitting at a distance, pondering the extended silence and wondering whether they have completely missed the mark, and are now on the blacklist of all blacklists. We’re a sensitive bunch…
More seriously, it’s about managing expectations, and providing a bit of reassurance that something is happening on the other end.
If the work is not quite right, take some time to figure out why
Just saying you’re not happy with something isn’t helpful. If you can’t quite put it into words, perhaps find similar examples of what you want them to produce. Tell them what you like about those examples. Or, if it doesn’t quite align with one of your business values, with your key messaging, your ethos, your corporate identity, then explain how, or why.
When the work is just right, say so
This will helps with the stuff that isn’t quite right. Now they can take the things that aren’t working, and adjust them to match the things that are.
Schedule some face time
It doesn’t have to be a meeting, but a Skype or Zoom session can often clear things up. Remember that non-verbal communication clues like gestures, tone of voice and facial expression are lost in emails. Also, it’s often more helpful to hash things out in conversation than to have an endless game of email tennis.
If you no longer require their services, say so
Please don’t just stop communicating, especially if you’ve haven’t given them an indication that there was a problem with their work. Often freelancers are allocating ‘thought space’ to clients in-between jobs, so it’s just nice to know if you no longer require them.
There are many excellent reasons to outsource, but remote workers need feedback , so they can provide the best possible service to their clients. It’s an essential part of a productive working relationship.