Employee or Freelancer Which One Do I Need

You need help, but you’re trying to figure out whether it can be on a contract basis or whether you need to payroll someone. This question comes up a lot and it has important implications for working relationships. Do you need an arrangement with a contractor or do you need to hire a regular employee? With millions of freelancers in the U.S. alone, you have your pick of qualified candidates. Take a step back and do some homework to figure out whether you truly need an employee or an independent contractor.

When you have an employee on payroll, you’re in control of what the working relationship and schedule look like. As the employer, you’re most likely paying them on an hourly or salaried basis and taking out taxes. Most employers, of course, are going to offer a benefits package to their workers as well. Contractors, on the other hand, are being paid a flat fee per project or an hourly fee to work with you, but are not receiving W2s or getting benefits in the vast majority of situations. (To learn more about IRS designations and tests used to help you determine whether the working arrangement you have in mind really fits legal definitions, check out this resource page.)

Related: When Is Hiring Freelancers a Good Idea?

There are a few big benefits of hiring a freelancer:

  • Only pay for the work you actually need
  • No benefits payment unless you want to offer it
  • Can seek out competitive rates in the marketplace and match your budget and desired experience level with a like-minded freelancer
  • Access to talent all over the world (which you’ll also get if you hire a remote employee)

Here are the things to consider when deciding whether or not to outsource to a freelancer or bring on an employee.

Working arrangement

Freelancers, by law, need to maintain autonomy in how they do their work. For this working arrangement, flexibility is the key. For most contractor relationships, the freelancer will be working on their own equipment on their own schedule, meeting deadlines on projects as needed. In general, freelancers will remain available for scheduled calls but are not “on-call” during typical working hours the same way that an employee would be.

If you need someone to be available during your set hours daily, meaning that they’d have to block off their entire day to work when the rest of your team is working, this usually means an employee/employer relationship. And in the U.S., that means payroll, W2, and Social Security/Medicare taxes paid as part of their paycheck.

If you’re open to a more flexible arrangement and truly want to treat this person like an independent contractor — where they control how and when they do their work — a freelancer is the better choice.

Just don’t blur the line. Decide what best suits your needs and keep it that way. If you have to make changes, talk to your worker about the need to change status and whether they are comfortable with that.

Related: Why So Many Americans Prefer the Freelance Lifestyle


Do I have access to the kind of talent that wants an employee position? Many freelancers work remotely by choice and want to have access to more than one client at a time. This means that some of the best talent out there could be among the freelance pool. Leaving jobs is a bigger commitment, but taking on a new client is commonplace for freelancers, so there might be more people you can speak to more quickly about the opportunity if you go the freelance route.

This is not to say there aren’t great people seeking full-time positions out there. Quite the contrary, actually. But being open to freelancers who might be able to do the job more quickly when you only pay them for the work done could stretch your budget better.


Do you have enough work to keep a part-time or full-time employee busy consistently? If not, you’ll end up paying a salary or for hours in which the worker has nothing to do. That doesn’t turn out well for anyone.

Sporadic workload or short-term overload is a strong case for hiring a freelancer, whereas ongoing work — especially when you need someone available to you during specific hours — indicates you may need a permanent employee. Since both parties could potentially work remotely, thus expanding your talent pool, it becomes even more important to think about the structure of the working relationship and the overall workload.

While freelancers can stay with your company for a long time billing hourly or on retainer, plenty of them are happy to work with you for smaller projects or shorter time periods, too.

By: Laura Briggs / Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

Have you ever admired a freelancer’s working life? Here’s a difference between the both and maybe you could relate a thing or two! 🙂 REMEMBER TO LIKE SHARE AND SUBSCRIBE 🙂 SUBSCRIBE TO US! https://www.youtube.com/cjworksproduc…

Have you ever admire freelancers working life? Here’s a skit to show you the difference between the both and you might relate to a thing or two! 🙂 DIRECTED & PRODUCED BY : Jonathan Toh Clement Chen STARRING: Johnny Toh: https://www.youtube.com/johnny_toh/ Clement Chen: https://www.instagram.com/clementchen_/ LIKE US ON FACEBOOK http://www.facebook.com/CJworksProduc… FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM: CJworks Productions: http://www.instagram.com/cjworksprodu… Jonathan Toh: http://www.instagram.com/johnny_toh Clement Chen: http://www.instagram.com/clementchen_ FOLLOW US ON TWITTER Jonathan Toh: http://www.twitter.com/johnny_toh Clement Chen: http://www.twitter.com/clementchen96 WEBSITE: http://www.cjworksproductions.com

How To Empower Your Team: It’s All About Leaning In, Not Stepping Away


Many organizations have been trying to shift from a model of authoritarian leadership to a model of worker empowerment. As firms are finding out, that transition is not an easy one to make. It requires new behaviors and new ways of thinking for both executives and employees.

The expansion of remote work during the pandemic only exacerbates the problem. Managers are tasked with ensuring flawless execution but are now physically less connected to their teams – and in-person, face-to-face time matters tremendously in relationships.

What is Empowerment?  

Oftentimes, empowerment is misunderstood. It can be interpreted to mean that managers and leaders take a hands-off approach, effectively telling employees to sink or swim. That’s more like neglect. Empowerment is an active process. It involves coaching or teaching team members to self-serve, to become adaptive, to make decisions, and to use less of their managers’ time on things that really don’t require their managers’ attention.

Without training or guidance on how to empower, however, managers often simply stop providing direction and let employees figure out issues themselves. The problem: This rarely works. If employees don’t fundamentally believe that they should change and have clarity on what it is they are supposed to change, they can’t. Telling employees to figure it out on their may only slow down the learning and performance process – because employees aren’t necessarily learning.

The “neglect” approach creates a feedback loop that is very difficult to break. Employees who don’t know what to do may ask for help. But when they don’t get a clear, direct answer (like they are used to) they simply resort to past behavior. It’s a proven path that reflects a fear-based response; that is the opposite of empowerment.

Empowering employees means asking good, meaty questions that prompt them to think through the problem. For example, rather than saying: “The sales team needs to boost their numbers,” ask them and their leadership, “How can your team help increase sales by 3% in the next three-to-six months?” In this way, managers and leaders have a very different role: helping to define and shape the problem, so that a team is empowered to develop a solution. The destination is agreed upon, but the path to get there has yet to be paved. (The more tangible and measurable the goal, the more likely it will be achieved.)

Empowerment Presents a Challenge for Managers  

Becoming empowered requires a mental shift for many people – leader, manager and employee. According to an ongoing set of surveys by Gallup since 2000, only 30% of employees, on average, are considered “engaged” in their work. As Gallup defines it, “engaged” means ”highly involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace.” That number has been increasing in recent years to 35% in 2019, but the pandemic is expected to have a significant impact – and likely not for the better.

Using pre-pandemic numbers, Gallup also found that, over the same 20-year period, an average of 17% of employees are “actively disengaged,” which means they have very negative experiences at work and often spread that unhappiness and negativity to others. While that number has been dropping as well — it fell to 13% in 2019 — it still means that at least 1 in 10 of your employees is pulling down the ship. They don’t want to work, let alone be empowered and have to make decisions.


The remaining 50-60% (52% in 2019) are considered “not engaged.” These employees, according to Gallup’s definition, “are psychologically unattached to their work and company” and “put time, but not energy or passion, into their work. Not engaged employees will usually show up to work and contribute the minimum required.” That doesn’t exactly scream empowerment. They sound more like clock watchers.

Taken together, on average over the past 20 years, 70% of employees (65% in 2019), don’t want to be empowered – they barely want to work. That is a massive motivational challenge.

Engaging The Disengaged

Research has shown that motivational issues fall into one of three categories:

(1)  performance, or the ability to master one’s responsibilities,

(2)  organizational fit, or whether or not one feels accepted by their colleagues and able to contribute fully, and

(3)  self-image, or what gives us a sense of gratification and self-worth.

The two-thirds of employees who are not engaged may be struggling with one or more of these issues.

Take Lisa, an operations processor. For the most part, her role is routine. A work order comes in, then she checks to make sure everything is filled out properly and that she has clear instructions to follow. If so, she performs the routine. If not, she sends it back, noting an error. It’s a straightforward process, much of which likely could be automated. But, because it is somewhat mindless, errors are not infrequent. Many layers of processes have been added to prevent mistakes from the past from happening again, so Lisa really has nothing to be empowered to do – unless her role changes or expands. In effect, Lisa’s managers are signaling to her (and colleagues like her) that she is not worth investing in – even though that is likely not their intent.

Lisa may be bored, feeling unable to live up to her potential through her limited role and exposure. She may not feel like she belongs in the organization or has been accepted by her colleagues, so she tries to make it through the day before going home to family and friends. She could be struggling with her self-image: If the work she does isn’t challenging or important, is she?

Without asking questions of Lisa and trying to understand her motivational issues, managers and leaders are likely to write her off, not recognizing the role they play when they design the work. As executives, we make up our own stories about the people who seem to struggle. They are lazy. They don’t get it. They don’t want to work. We rarely spend the time to help them uncover what they truly are struggling with. What manager is ever given that much time to devote to individual tutoring?

Empowering the two-thirds or so of employees who don’t really want to be empowered means getting to know what motivates them, what makes them tick, and using that to turn them into engaged employees. It’s an excruciatingly tough battle every day in the trenches — until the missing pieces fall into place for that associate. Once they do, you’ve helped that employee become adaptive for life. And your job managing them just became a whole lot easier.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

As CEO of Magpie Insights, I help organizations develop strategies that are rooted in the capabilities of their people, improving the likelihood of successful change and execution. The results: higher profits, improved organizational efficiency, and greater employee engagement and retention. As a coach, I help executives become more empathetic managers and improve their adaptability and resilience as leaders. Prior to developing the Magpie approach to empathetic management, I spent nearly 20 years as a management and strategy consultant, entrepreneur, and financial services executive, while studying motivation through the lenses of psychology, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, behavioral economics, leadership and negotiations.

Source: https://www.forbes.com


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