When people work for you, you want to do right by them. But the rules and expectations are different when you’re managing a freelancer who isn’t fully employed by your company. How do you best motivate someone who you don’t have formal authority over? How do you keep them interested and excited about the work when they don’t get perks like bonuses or benefits? Should you give them performance reviews so they know where they stand?
What the Experts Say
Many managers assume that they don’t need to tend to freelancers as much as they do regular employees—and there’s some truth to that, says Dan Pink, author of Free Agent Nation and Drive. “The relationship is often less fraught, less hierarchical, and doesn’t come with the same expectations,” he explains. But that doesn’t mean that you can be completely hands off. You still need to actively and thoughtfully manage them so that you can get their best output and ensure they’ll want to work with you again. “There’s a growing war for talent for people with specialized skills,” says Steve King, a partner at Emergent Research. Freelancers are often just as valuable as full-time staffers, so employers need to treat them accordingly. Here’s how to successfully navigate your relationship with contractors.
Understand what they want
The first question you need to ask is: Why are they interested in doing this job? “It could be money, the chance to develop new skills, or the opportunity to work with great people,” says Pink. “What are you giving that person in exchange for lending his or her talent to your organization?” Because you won’t know freelancers as well as the people on your team, you may need to put this question to them directly. (“Just asking is a woefully underused technique in life,” says Pink). You might say, “Tell me what you’re hoping for from this assignment.” Then make sure you’re delivering on that.
At the same time, you need to be clear about what you want in return—whether it’s a well-designed brochure, a new website, or advice every two weeks. It’s good practice to draft a statement that details exactly what you need and when. It’s also important to provide them with context. Because freelancers aren’t around all the time, “they’re not getting the purpose of the exercise through osmosis the way your employees are,” says Pink. “You have to spend extra time talking about what the goal is, how it connects to the big picture, and why it matters.”
Build the relationship
“It’s fair to say you don’t have to invest as much in a freelancer as you do as an employee,” says King. But, “don’t fall into the trap of making it purely transactional,” warns Pink. Get to know them by asking questions about their family, what they’re interested in outside work, and the other projects they’re working on (assuming you aren’t their only client). This is especially important if you want to work with this person again in the future.
Make them feel part of the team
King’s recent (and not yet published) research on freelancers shows that they prefer to work for employers that treat them like part of the team. So try to avoid all the subtle status differentiators that can make contractors feel like second-class citizens—for example, the color of their ID badges or access to the corporate gym—and be exceedingly inclusive instead. Invite them to important meetings, bring them into water-cooler conversations, and add them to the team email list. Compliance departments in some organizations might worry that doing these things makes freelancers look too much like employees for legal and tax purposes, and managers certainly need to be careful not to overstep any employment laws or HR guidelines. But, King notes: “There’s nothing that says they can’t come to a team lunch.”
Your contractors likely got into freelancing because they wanted autonomy. King and Pink agree that it’s important to give them freedom. “To be a successful freelancer, you need to be self-motivated and able to work without someone looking over your shoulder,” says King. Be flexible with their schedules and other commitments. You’re likely not their only client. And give them space to do their work. “You shouldn’t have to manage the work product of a contractor. If you are, find another one,” he says.
There’s no need to do a formal review with freelancers (“I’m not even a big fan of giving employees performance reviews,” admits Pink) but that doesn’t mean you should skimp on the feedback. Telling them what you think of their work will improve their performance and deepen the relationship. “Besides, most freelancers are starving for that kind of input,” says Pink. It can be as simple as spending five minutes at the end of an engagement discussing what went right and what went wrong but King says continuous feedback is even better. “Regularly revisit the statement of work or contract and be clear about whether they’re hitting their targets,” he advises. “If they’re doing a good job for you, thank them, especially in front of others.” And, if they’re underperforming, don’t beat around the bush. “It’s easy to say shape up or ship out partly because you can boot them at any time and you don’t have to feel as badly about it.”
Pay them well
Don’t think just because the contractor is work-for-hire that you should take advantage. They deserve to be treated fairly. “Pay them market rate,” says Pink, “and if you value their work pay them more.” Even if you’d like to test the person out before committed to a big project with her, avoid asking for work on spec; offer to pay for the time the “tryout” takes. “People talk to one another,” Pink warns, and you don’t want to risk getting a bad reputation. Your company should “aspire to be an employer of choice—for regular and 1099 employees.”
Principles to Remember
- Ask what they are looking for from the arrangement
- Invest time in getting to know them
- Make them feel like they are part of the team and that their work is valued
- Neglect to give them feedback on how they’re performing
- Assume yours is the only project they’re working on—freelancers often have multiple commitments
- Skimp on paying them what they’re worth—you’ll get a reputation and other contractors may be unwilling to work with you
Case study #1: Be sensitive and flexible
Nick Hales, an IT manager at AOMi Ltd based in Reading, U.K., has hired freelancers—mostly software developers—for 15 years. He’s used them for both short, three-month stints when his company needed extra capacity as well as for more involved, specialized projects that have spanned years.
While he acknowledges that there are some key differences in how you manage employees and contractors (“I would never give a freelancer a formal performance review, for example,” he says), he believes they should be “treated as equals in terms of professional respect and decency.” He always provides ongoing feedback to the contractors he works with, and for those that he wants to keep around, he’s open and honest about what work might come up in the future so that they don’t get “uneasy about their position and leave.” He also makes an effort to make them feel part of the team and invites any active freelancers to the company Christmas party.
One key difference in how he interacts with freelancers is onboarding. “Contractors need to hit the ground running and so often need—and appreciate—a clear steer on what is expected,” he explains. “I’m always more firm at the start of an engagement with them than I am with new permanent employees, who you can shape and mold over time.
Still, he makes sure to ask questions and understand their goals, habits and schedules too. “I always take a collaborative approach. Contractors are human, they have lives and they have external demands. Work with people in a flexible manner and they will work with you,” he says.
Case study #2: Know what they want
Sumeet Goel first starting hiring contractors in 2002 when he founded HighPoint Associates, a firm that draws from a network of independent consultants to staff client projects. The company now has two offices—one in Los Angeles and another in New York City—and works with over 100 freelancers each year.
The key to managing such a large and diverse group of contractors, Sumeet says, is a personal approach. “We’re very high touch.,” he explains. “Individual freelancers can often feel like they’re operating in a vacuum” so you want to emphasize that they’re a valued part of a team and not alone on the project. Everyone who works for his company knows that he or one of his partners will always be available to bounce ideas off of—whether that’s in a weekly call or less frequently. The contractor determines what level of support he or she needs.
Sumeet also respects their time. “Freelance consultants typically have a lot of other things going on,” he says. So he is flexible about their schedules and makes sure they can see to their other commitments. And he’s very conscientious about paying them promptly. “Our payment structure is something our contractors value most. We pay our freelancers on a net 30 day basis, irrespective of whether the client has paid us or not,” he explains.
Another way Sumeet keeps his consultants motivated and focused is by “stressing how important their work is to us, our company and our client” and by figuring out and emphasizing the aspects of the relationship that are most important to each individual. For those who crave a sense of security, he may point out that the company has more work coming down the pipeline. For those who appreciate clear project end dates, he outlines the off ramp for the work.
72% OF GLOBAL 5G SMARTPHONE REVENUE COMES FROM CHINA
Counterpoint Research reported that in the second quarter of 2020, 5G smartphone shipments increased, accounting for 10% of global smartphone shipments.
REVENUE AND ASP OF 5G SMARTPHONE
In the second quarter of this year, 5G smartphone revenue accounted for 20% of global smartphone revenue. Among them, China is the largest contributor to 5G smartphone sales. It is reported that 72% of global 5G smartphone revenue comes from China. Most of them comes from 5G smartphones released by Huawei. In addition, the average selling price of the Chinese smartphone market also increased by 12% year-on-year.
According to the report, the Asia-Pacific region, China, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, North America and other regions contributed 10% of the overall growth rate in the average sales price in the second quarter of 2020. However, Latin America is the only country where average sales prices have fallen 5% year-on-year. Although the new coronavirus has had an impact on the entire market, the high-end segment has not fallen sharply. Compared with the overall market decline, it only faces a year-on-year decline of 8%.
The report also shows that in the second quarter of 2020, the average selling price (ASP) of the global smartphone market increased by 10% year-on-year. With the exception of Latin America, average selling prices increased in all regions. This is because many 5G phones sold well in the second quarter. The increasing demand for education, work, games, and entertainment is also a factor in users’ preference for high-end smartphones.
Overall, due to the economic impact and the closure of offline retail stores, the market’s demand for low-priced devices has decreased. Coupled with the resilience of the high-end market and the growth of 5G smartphone sales (especially in China), this quarter’s increase in the average selling price of smartphones.
THE BOTTOM LINE
At the same time, smartphone shipments fell 23% year-on-year, reaching a record high. Although most OEM’s smartphone shipments declined in the second quarter of 2020, Apple’s shipments increased by 3% year-on-year, while iPhone revenue increased by 2% year-on-year. But we should also point out that Apple still has no 5G iPhone. The first models will come to the market only this year. Once this happens, and 5G appears on lower models, it will be quite interesting to see how the proportion changes.
Former Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime announces new game company
Two years after stepping down as CEO at Blizzard, the game company he co-founded in 1991, Mike Morhaime is back with his next venture. It’s called Dreamhaven, and it’s a combination of a publisher and developer, with “a common goal to empower creators, help bring their ideas to life, and create original gaming experiences that foster meaningful connections between players.”
As part of the announcement, Dreamhaven also revealed its first two internal studios: Moonshot Games and Secret Door. Moonshot is headed by a trio of Blizzard veterans, including former Hearthstone lead Jason Chayes, StarCraft II director Dustin Browder, and Hearthstone creative director Ben Thompson. “Though it’s very early days, when we think about Moonshot, we imagine a studio that celebrates curiosity and courage,” Chayes said in a statement. “We aspire to be bold in our approach, and we think the best way to do that is to create a culture centered around trust.”
Secret Door, meanwhile, is similarly led by a team of former Blizzard developers, including Chris Sigaty (executive producer on Hearthstone), Alan Dabiri (technical director on Warcraft III and StarCraft II), and Eric Dodds (designer on World of Warcraft and Starcraft). No projects have been announced for either studio.
Morhaime stepped down as CEO of Blizzard in 2018, though he stayed on in a consultancy role until last year. In an interview with The Washington Post, he said that one of the goals of the new company was to build an environment focused on creators — something that was likely a challenge under Activision, which became Blizzard’s parent company in 2008.
“We’ve learned a ton about what goes into creating an environment that allows creators to do their best work, and we were very successful doing that for many years at Blizzard,” Morhaime told the Post. “We reached a crossroads where we reassessed what we want to do with the rest of our lives.”
Apple Loop: Shock iPhone 12 Details, Massive iOS 14 Problems, Macbook Pro Delay
Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes surprising iPhone 12 benchmarks, big problems with iOS 14, two new iPads, Apple ignores MacOS, the “good/better/best” of the Apple Watch, the controversy around Apple One, and the Macs’ never changing system System Preferences.
Apple Loop is here to remind you of a few of the very many discussions that have happened around Apple over the last seven days (and you can read my weekly digest of Android news here on Forbes).
Just How Fast Is Your Next iPhone?
We might not have seen the iPhone 12 family as part of Apple’s virtual September launch event this week, but we have seen the benchmarks pop up on the AnTuTu website. That gives us a raw comparison of the numbers from last year’s iPhone to this year’s. Philip Michaels reports some pretty shocking numbers:
“Leaked benchmarks from Antutu, purportedly showing off an iPhone 12 Pro Max’s performance, may help fill in some of the blanks. MySmartPrice spotted the leaked numbers, which claim to show off a device with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage running iOS 14.1.
“According to the leaks, the iPhone 12 Pro Max tallied a score of 572,333 on Antutu’s test, which is a 9% gain over the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s 524,436 result on the same test. MySmartPrice says the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s reported tally would be the highest score ever posted by an iPhone, which you’d hope given that it’s a new model.
The Big Problem With iOS 14
Apple may not have announced a release date for the iPhone, but it did announce the release date of iOS 14. And that has caused problems. Normally Apple will provide a week’s worth of ‘heads up’ time to Developers so they can ensure their apps are ready for the jump up to the next major version of iOS. Not this year… developers had less than a days notice, and they are not happy. Matt Binder reports:
““Gone are the hopes of being on the store by the time users install the new iOS 14 and are looking for new apps. Gone is the chance to get some last-minute fixes into your existing apps to make sure they don’t stop working outright by the time users get to upgrade their OS,” explained Steve [Troughton-Smith from High Caffeine Content.”
““There are some developers who have spent all summer working on something new, using the latest technologies, hoping to be there on day one and participate in the excitement (and press coverage) of the new iOS,” he continued. “For many of them, they’ll be incredibly upset to have it end like this instead of a triumphant launch, and it can dramatically decrease the amount of coverage or sales they receive.””
Take Two Tablets And Call Your iPhone In The Morning
Taking the flagship spot away from the ‘missing presumed having a good time’ iPhone 12 was Apple’s new iPad Air. Beating the smartphone as the first device with Apple’s new A14 ARM-based processor. Samuel Axon and Jim Salter report for Ars Technica:
“The iPad Air gets the new A14 Bionic CPU, built on 5nm process technology. It’s a six-core CPU with two high-performance cores and four lower-power, more efficient cores for simpler background tasks. The A14 Bionic offers a 30 percent GPU performance boost compared to previous generations, and Apple says it puts up double the graphics performance of typical laptops.”
As well as the increased power, 2020’s iPad Air has a new design; USB-C has been added, the bezels have been trimmed away, the home button has been removed, and TouchID has been integrated into the power button. It;s not the only new iPad, as the entry-level iPad moves up rom the A10 to the A12 Bionic processor. Benjamin Mayo reports:
“The jump from A10 to A12 means Apple’s cheapest iPad will feature the Neural Engine for the first time. Apple says the A12 chip offers more than twice the performance of the top selling Windows laptop, 6x faster than the top-selling Android tablet and 6x faster than the best-selling Chromebook.
“The 8th-generation iPad keeps the same price as the 7th-gen: that’s $329 for general sale and $299 for education.”
Will Mac Owners Be Satisfied With Safari After macOS Delay?
If you were waiting for MmcOS Big Sur to drop for your Mac or MacBook, then you are out of luck. Apple’s event saw updates to iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, and watchOS… but macOS has been delayed. The ‘Big Sur’ release is still in the future, but a small crumb (perhaps from a cookie) has been handed to Mac fans in the form of Safari 14, presumably to offer cross-OS support with other devices. Juli Clover reports:
“Safari 14 brings improved performance, customizable start pages, a Privacy Report to see which cross-site trackers are being blocked, and a new tab bar design that provides tab previews so you can see what you have open at a glance. Today’s update also removes Adobe Flash.”
The Apple Watch Strikes Three
Two new Apple Watch models were launched, and as the Apple Watch Series 3 remains, there is now a low-, a mid-, and a high-level smartwatch in the classic triplet that Apple was once famous for. Todd Haselton looks over the Series 6 Apple Watch for CNBC, including the headline ‘wellness’ features:
“The Series 6 also has Apple’s most advanced sensors. You can run the ECG app for an electrocardiogram, for example, a feature that’s not on the Apple Watch SE or Series 3. It’s also the only model with the new blood-oxygen app. I tried that and it told me my blood oxygen was 96%, which seems good.
“…Apple is careful to explain that this isn’t a medical device. You can use it if you’re curious about your blood oxygen when you’re hiking at high altitudes, but Apple isn’t making any promises about detecting low oxygen should you fall ill with coronavirus.”
Meanwhile, Apple has brought the ‘SE’ brand to the Apple Watch, again with the promise of a cheaper ‘mid-range’ slice of hardware that still delivers the core Apple experience. Chris Velazco has spent some time with the wearable to try and work out where it fits into the portfolio:
“For one, the SE uses the same S5 system-in-package (or SIP) that we got in last year’s Series 5, which in turn contains the same dual-core processor as the Series 4. Meanwhile, Apple has confirmed that the SE has the same compass and always-on altimeter as the Series 6, along with a very similar screen.
“From what I can tell, it’s the same bigger display we got in the Series 5, just without the always-on functionality enabled. And while the Series 4 was the first Apple Watch to come with heart-sensing ECG support, you simply don’t get that here. Ditto for the Series 6’s new blood oxygen measurement features.”
Bouquets and Brickbats For Apple One
Also announced alongside Apple’s hardware, and perhaps an indication of where Apple wishes to focus on the future, were new options for the various subscription services offered by Cupertino. Apple One takes the popular options and bundles them together while offering a discount. Brian Heater reports:
“It’s not quite mix and match yet, but there are three pricing tiers. Individual offers Apple Music, TV+, Arcade and iCloud for $15 a month. The Family version will get you those four services for $20 a month. For the hardcore, there’s the $30 a month Premier tier, which bundles iCloud, Music, TV+, Arcade, News+ and [the new service] Fitness+.“
“For those who have been putting off a given Apple subscription, such a bundle could certainly sweeten the pot — and make it even harder for users to escape the pull of the Apple software ecosystem.”
More at TechCrunch. Given Apple’s market position, using one service to pptentiallybolster another through a bundle has drawn the eye of the competition. Spotify – which has already filed an anti-trust complaint with the European Commission against Apple – drew attention to the issue shortly ager the end of the event.
“Once again, Apple is using its dominant position and unfair practices to disadvantage competitors and deprive consumers by favoring its own services. We call on competition authorities to act urgently to restrict Apple’s anti-competitive behavior, which if left unchecked, will cause irreparable harm to the developer community and threaten our collective freedoms to listen, learn, create, and connect.”
The look of the MacOS user interface has evolved since OSX was announced in 2000. One area has stayed relatively contestant, but the small changes highlight the thinking behind the OS over the years.
“The interface started glassy and skeuomorphic, mimicking the materials used on Macs. Over the decades, it went through significant revisions. One thing that seems to have remained relatively unchanged over the years is the System Preferences screen.
“But, at a closer glance, we’ll see that this mundane part of the operating system has changed quite a bit and hides some fun easter eggs and surprises.”
Apple Loop brings you seven days worth of highlights every weekend here on Forbes. Don’t forget to follow me so you don’t miss any coverage in the future. Last week’s Apple Loop can be read here, or this week’s edition of Loop’s sister column, Android Circuit, is also available on Forbes.
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