Employ Freelancers, Appreciation of the freelancing world in the UAE is a force strongly felt among people who push to empower the entrepreneurs they believe they have in them. On the other hand, reluctance can be seen among employers. And business owners whenever asked if they consider employing the service of these experts.
The ever-changing landscape of trade and commerce in the country is highly-evident not only with new and innovative product-and-service offerings being introduced in the market (to keep up with the times). But also with how companies structured nowadays. The typical employer-employee relationships with all its advantages and pitfalls are still highly prevalent. But one can’t deny the growing industry for freelance professionals.
Why are the companies reluctant?
With the government easing-out procedural requirements to legally conduct business under one’s own name or as we commonly call it, freelancing, be it through a mainland work permit (through the Ministry of Labor) or permit to freelance from any one of the major free zone areas such as Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City, Dubai Design District, Abu Dhabi’s twofour54 and Fujairah Creative City; interest from people either currently employed in the public or private sector or those looking for a new challenge in their careers have grown in recent years.
Given that, why are companies in the UAE afraid to employ the service of freelance experts?
Data Protection Systems may have evolved to levels of sophistication that brought confidence to owners and users alike, but so has the threats of hacking and breach of privacy. Companies invest not only in technology but in employees’ know-how to strengthen internal control structures within organizations. This ensures that not only do they have “at par” business practices but that their interests are protected with classified information not falling into the wrong hands. This is where the apprehension of companies to hire freelance professionals comes from.
The feeling of letting your guards down and exposing as much information as is needed for the work the freelancer needs to be completed do not escape the minds of the employers and management. Yes, one can argue that the terms of the contract may include the needed clauses and provisions to limit company exposure to a certain level of risk that they can be comfortable to work with. Nevertheless, they are always daunted in answering the question – will legal claims outweigh the possible damages from a leak of information or a breach of contract?
On this, employers must realize that hiring an expert freelancer is as much of a risk as re-launching a product line, investing in employees’ continuing professional education or migrating to an ERP system. The point is, the service offered by the freelancer is expected to add value and challenge the status quo.
Moreover, an employer should only work with qualified freelancers who have demonstrated a high degree of ethics and professionalism. One soundly reliable way is to check their history, the companies they have worked for, the results they have achieved and the feedback they have received from their previous clients. To an expert freelancer, reputation is what gets him recurring work. There is no compromising on that, as much as there is no compromising on your company’s confidential information and trade secrets.
Loyal Employ Freelancers are a company’s priced possession. These people are known to have the best interest of the company at heart and are highly reliable. In return, companies highly invested in people and their well-being are believed to get the best results and outputs; one that may be considered unmatched by their peers or by industry standards.
Having this, companies don’t believe they need a freelance expert to complete a specific job. The independence (from the company to avoid biases) offered by a freelance professional may appear to be a distant-and-impersonal approach to complete the job and may not be appreciated by an employer who is used to relying on his trusted employees.
What these companies might be missing, is the fact that the freelance experts can offer a fresh perspective to what has been the standard practice the employees have gotten used to. What the employees may have been led to believe as “the effective way” to do things in sustaining company operations may be complemented. And improved by the inputs of a freelance professional factoring in his experience and industry exposure. Add to that the fact that a talented freelancer does not need to have loyalty to a company in order to produce work of a high caliber.
Accountability vs. Deliverables:
Employ Freelancers either do a “piece-of-work” or a recurring task for their clients. It expected that at the end of every task, deliverables, as clearly defined in the contract, are completely rendered. And/or delivered to the client. To that extent, the relationship of the freelance professional and the client ends- unless a new engagement or a recurring work (previously agreed upon) has been made.
Any additional work required from the freelance expert by the client. Which is not within the scope of the original engagement, must be contracted separately. This process can be quite inconvenient on the part of the client and viewed as tedious, costly and inefficient compared to reviewing. And amending an employee’s job description to cover works related to his current job responsibilities. In the end, it may extend the employee’s accountability over it.
In the long run, not hiring an expert to employ freelancers may just be delaying the inevitable. Retaining an employee for seasonal work means uninterrupted costs from time to time. But plus the cost of longevity and all the other legal benefits accruing to such an employee. Hiring a freelancer has been proven to be the more cost-effective approach, not to mention the higher credibility that the general public lends over the work of an independent expert.
Ownership of Work:
Companies take pride in breakthroughs and innovations achieved by their homegrown talents. When targets surpassed, and objectives met by the employees. The company’s reputation is elevated and an image of having the best in-house people is recognized to employ freelancers.
If an important piece of work is accomplished through an independent freelance expert. The act of outsourcing may tarnish the impression the company would like to project to the business world. The impact the engagement creates may negate the company’s efforts to establish a presence to having only the best and brightest talents. A kind of branding that can attract and pull-in even those who are currently freelancing.
Considering that, one should also look to the strengths in the association. A company can boast over a reputation of employing only the best talents. But they tend to overlook the fact that some of the best people in their industry prefer to not tie themselves up to a specific employer. They are out there, offering their services as freelancers – and associating with an expert professional with a good industry reputation. And a proven track record can be highly valuable as well as for employ freelancers.
While there are many reasons why employers are rather at odds with the decision of hiring a freelancer. And given the circumstances. It might be the best decision for them to make. It’s always hard to stray from the norm and how people usually do things. And onto unknown territory, but more often than not, it can be worth it. Hiring freelancers has proven to be cost-effective, innovative, and much more simple than hiring full-time workers. For that, it might be time for companies to take the risk. Though, of course, that’s after ensuring they have the right candidates to employ freelancers.
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Marco C. Suaze is a Certified Public Accountant and has worked in various industries in the UAE including real estate and construction, import/export and distribution, as well as security training and facilities/asset management. He also took an active role in helping the Filipino Community in the UAE being a volunteer trainer (until December 2017) for… More about Marco