how do freelancers and principals view one another?

The relationship between principal and contractor? “This can be much richer than that between employer and employee,” says Dutch organisational psychologist Aukje Nauta. At least as long as it is an equal relationship and if both parties put all their expectations plainly out in the open.

“be a little more generous than they expect”

The relationship between principal and contractor? “This can be much richer than that between employer and employee,” says Dutch organisational psychologist Aukje Nauta. At least as long as it is an equal relationship and if both parties put all their expectations plainly out in the open.

“It’s important to make a distinction between contractors who are in a strong position as opposed to contractors who accept jobs because they have no other options. Contractors like this are often not even seen as real people,” says Aukje Nauta.

enrichment

Both principal and contractor must realise that each contract has a psychological component. This contract can take on various forms: strictly transactional, or relational, such as the relationship between employer and employee. The first case lacks long-term perspective, while the second entails a risk that the relationship will show signs of wear and tear, with those involved going on as they have been because there isn’t another alternative. “In the case of principal/contractor, I would call this more of a balanced psychological contract,” says Aukje Nauta. “Well, in an ideal situation at least. Because you often renegotiate, the expectations are more explicit and the relationship stays dynamic.”

There are also fundamental differences between the two types of relationships. “The payment method, for instance, is fundamentally different: a contractor is paid at current face value, while the employee’s salary also factors in loyalty and job security.”

 

generous, human relationship

Aukje Nauta continues: “The relationship between a principal and a contractor is a relationship between two human beings.” People need autonomy, growth and connection. A sustainable, enriching relationship between principal and contractor must take these needs into account.

Aukje Nauta’s top tip? “Be generous! Whether you’re the principal or the contractor, be a little more generous than they expect you to be. You’ll always benefit from this attitude in the long term.”

“The content of the projects, the accessibility, the flexibility, and the financial aspect determines the principal’s employer brand” Isabelle Callebaut, Director Randstad Professionals


freelancers want to be paid on time

As a Director at Randstad Professionals, Isabelle Callebaut has a good perspective of the relationship between principal and contractor. “As the expert for experts, we employ specialists with our clients for both the short and long term. 200 of the 1,000 professionals are freelancers - and this number is increasing all the time.”

“You attract freelancers,” remarks Isabelle Callebaut, “by offering interesting, challenging projects, especially if it concerns a well-known company that will look good on a CV. Other criteria that determines the principal’s employer brand are accessibility, flexibility, and of course the financial aspect.” It is really important to freelancers that administration and payments are timely and correct.

Isabelle Callebaut sees two important distinctions between this and an employment relationship. Firstly, freelancers are responsible for their own continued education, while employees receive a lot more guidance. “They are also much stricter concerning the way they spend their time and opt to work really hard at certain moments, so that they can be completely free at other times.”