Daily Posts operates through a mix of freelancers and full-time staff. We are building ourselves as an employer of the future- today. Developing a culture that supports the ethos of the company, and activities of our workforces, is no mean feat. James Cummings, CEO, explains a bit about how we have achieved our success, and some of the challenges that we have faced along the way.
If you run a writing agency, marketing agency, or just use writers in your business, then you will probably be aware of the challenges that come when you need to get content fast, or of great quality, or both. At Daily Posts we work hard on our recruitment and have put in place policies, procedures and processes to facilitate recruitment and the management of writing professionals.
First of all, let us take a look at some of the challenges that we face on a day-to-day basis in our writing agency. We will then take a look at how our mission is tied in with overcoming the obstacles along the way.
Some freelancers just do not care
When you start talking to freelancers about their work some are full of passion for what they do. They work hard and enjoy their work.
On the other side of the freelancer coin, there are those that really don’t care. All they want is to get paid for their work and do the absolute minimum to do so. Sure, these people will spend most of their time looking for work, rather than getting repeat work, but that is what they are used to, and is how they feel this game works.
Weeding out those with passion from those that really do not care is pretty easy if you know how. The problem comes when you are in a hurry for work and need to use someone new. It can either go swimmingly well or you can end up with no communication until after the deadline, or terrible quality content that is not worth the digital space it takes up.
Things come up from time to time
Freelancers are generally in their role for one of 2 reasons. The first is that they love the flexibility of freelance work and are able to earn well. The second is that their personal life is such that they are not able to take a job that involves a commute and full-time standard hours.
There are great freelancers in both categories. But, sometimes things come up which get in the way of the work for both types; perhaps more so for the latter category.
When managing freelancers you therefore have to prepare for all eventualities. This means ensuring you have an open and transparent relationship with your freelancers, so that they can and will communicate with you when something is up. Half the battle is actually getting that communication and knowing where you stand with the work, so that you can assign it elsewhere if needs be.
You also obviously need to have a sweep up team that can deal with these fall outs. If you manage to get the work done when things go wrong, then you are on the track to success in your business.
Learning and development
It can be incredibly difficult to train remote employees on the types of content you need. The nuances of tone and style, linking and references, take some getting used to.
At Daily Posts we have a personal development plan and training system, enhanced by video tutorials and briefs, for all of our writers, full-time in-house and part-time freelancers. This enables us to ensure that they are constantly being up skilled at our expense, so that they feel they have a career route through the writing game, even if they are only doing a few hours a week.
Many people have said to me that this investment in people is a waste of time, that freelancers jump ship quicker than it takes for their money to hit their account after you have clicked send in PayPal.
The reality is that this is not the case with our teams. We have found that investment in human capital means that we get returns in terms of loyalty, performance and development. We have found a real culture of teamwork evolve through the virtual office that we have in place, and the practices that we have established.
Technology driven, staff controlled
At Daily Posts we have developed an online virtual office to drive the processes that are required in the fast-paced challenging environment in which we operate. We have done this to provide our staff with more control, rather than less.
For example, if an issue comes up with one of our writers they can request that work that they had taken be reassigned to another member of staff. A click of the button and they can get on with their life in the sure knowledge that they are not letting anyone down. If something minor comes up then they can request an extension, enabling them to keep on top of their work without their stress levels escalating.
The flow of work from clients to writers, to editors, to quality control, and onwards back to the clients is a cycle which is designed to create the best possible content within a budget.
Our use of technology makes us more effective as a team, and more happy, knowledgeable, skilled and creative as individuals.
Empowerment through creative communication
We really want to change the way that online writers see their work. Our mission is:
To empower everyone we touch through creative communication
Empowerment in terms of our staff means giving them the environment, the tools and the workflow to achieve their goals.
For some, the goal is earning $50 a week. For others, it is building an online career, working from the comfort of their home, and enjoying the stability of a monthly salary. Plenty of our employees are aiming higher, striving for a management role in Daily Posts.
The culture that we have produced in our organisation is designed to enable work from home staff to feel part of the organisation. Our recruitment policy is geared towards finding people that will assimilate swiftly and seamlessly into a culture that values respect, professionalism, fun, attention to detail, teamwork, creativity and passion. The right people grow and flourish within our company and it is this that enables us to overcome the many challenges that this writing business throws up.
Empowerment through creative communication also relates to our relationship and engagement with each and every one of our clients. But that is a message for another day.