Despite the popularity of freelance work, there is still a lot to be done to better understand what creates feelings of value and inclusion for freelancers.

As women represent the clear majority of full-time freelancers, how can businesses meet the needs of this vital contingent of freelance talent?

We recently conducted a survey of over 1200 women from diverse backgrounds, some currently in the workforce and others not, and asked them to rank 10 workplace factors — ranging from role clarity to leadership — in order of importance.

The predictive analysis measured how much each factor mattered to the respondents and also calculated the expected effect of a change in those scores on outcomes, such as personal investment in role and likelihood to prefer a particular workplace over another. 

So what are the most powerful freelance workplace preferences you can implement at your company in order to make your freelancers feel valued — and ultimately increase your bottom line? Here’s the top 5 ranked from greatest to lowest impact score.

1. Flexibility

Make it widely understood that your company offers flexibility in all of its various forms. Whether that flexibility is offered via working location, schedule, hours or anything else that is deemed important by your organization, make it clear that you support your talent’s need for flexibility and have a culture that truly fosters and respects this.  

2. Respect

While many look at freelancers as additional to full-time, salaried employees, it is important to make your freelance talent feel included and valued throughout the organization, from both leadership and their peers. Helping your talent know their worth in your organization and including them in the social culture of your business is an important way to keep freelancers engaged.

3. Development

Your freelance talent craves the same type of accountability and opportunities for growth as your full-time staffers. Be sure to connect with your freelancers regularly and provide them with productive feedback so they can continue to grow.  

4. Leadership

This one starts at the top. Make sure your leadership team demonstrates early and often that people — regardless of their role or working status — are the most important factor in determining your company’s success.

5. Role clarity

Make sure your freelance talent has a clear understanding of what their role is, how it connects to the larger team, and how their work is helping the company to achieve tangible success.

While some require a heavier lift to implement than others, these factors can all have an incredible impact on your company’s ability to get the best work out of freelance talent and retain them for the future. Building a culture of shared success and happiness is the best way to catapult your organization to the next level — and invite your freelance talent along for the ride.