How to Create a Culture of Recognition for Freelancers: Best Practices for Agency Owners






As an agency owner, you may find yourself recruiting new employees, if not today, soon when the potential employee asks more questions than ever before.

  • What is it like to work here?
  • What do your employees think of you as an employer?
  • Do your employees feel appreciated?
  • Is remote work available?

These questions require employers to consider workplace culture an important element of the employee package. Workplace culture is a combination of your mission, goals, and values. Today, more than ever, employees seek to work where their goals and values match those of their workplace.

Creating a Culture of Inclusivity

Creating a culture of recognition for freelancers can increase job satisfaction, higher productivity, and improve outcomes for freelancers and agency owners. Honoring employees through recognition programs has been a cornerstone of the work environment for decades. This recognition was initially focused on 5, 10, 15, 20, and 30-year anniversaries. Today, recognition has evolved to include employee milestones like pitching a story to a sought-after news outlet and exhibiting desired behaviors, such as leading a team through a crisis.

At the same time, one important employee type typically goes unrecognized. The freelancer. This employee may be a contract worker, freelance writer, or graphic designer. The year 2020 brought economic difficulties and the emergence of remote work, resulting in a significant increase in freelance workers in the United States. As a result, the freelance economy grew even faster. In particular:

2 million people joined the ranks of freelancers in 2020, resulting in 36% of American workers engaging in full-time freelancing, an 8% increase.


Often, freelancers feel social isolation. Now that families have returned to spending more time out of the house during the day, freelancers have fewer personal interactions. Add to this the record low unemployment rate where every employee, including freelancers, changes jobs more frequently. It is more important than ever to retain our workforce.

Humans are social creatures. Many thrive when they have role models and peers to share progress. Social isolation can be a dangerous place. We all experienced this during the pandemic of 2020-2022. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), social isolation is defined as a lack of social contacts and having few people with whom to interact regularly.

A recent LinkedIn article provides insight into creating a workplace culture that includes freelancers. Be specific in defining the project and the freelancer’s role and onboarding a freelancer to feel like they are an important part of your organization.

Consider including freelancers in your recognition programs. Perhaps a freelancer has jumped onto a project and taken the lead or has been consistently working with your company for an extended period. Recognition with work anniversary awards will make as much of an impact on your freelance workforce as it will on your full-time employees.

Remember that inclusiveness breeds loyalty, as LinkedIn states. Viewing freelancers not as separate from but rather as a part of your agency. Give freelancers the recognition they deserve for the valuable work they contribute.

Unique Recognition Programs

Some organizations and agencies develop unique awards beyond the work anniversary. Perhaps there is an award for the most successful media pitch, best interview, or even most valued employee during a crisis. The key is establishing an obtainable, valuable, and inclusive selection criterion. Have your employees build the criteria and set the expectations. And have fun with your awards. A recent colleague once created awards using small children’s rubber boots mounted on plagues to honor employees’ efforts following a flood.

And finally, select an award that is meaningful and attractive. Work closely with your award supplier to identify unique opportunities to present custom awards that your employees, freelancers included, will be proud to display.

Creating a recognition culture for freelancers increases job satisfaction and productivity. Non-financial recognition, such as praise and appreciation, is important. Clear criteria should be established to avoid bias or confusion. Celebrating milestones and achievements is also essential. Personalizing recognition to fit the freelancer’s preferences is effective. Communication is vital, with regular feedback and check-ins to create a supportive work environment. This benefits both freelancers and agency owners.

Share this


How to Automate Online Courses (3 Reasons to Leverage Email Automation)

If you’re not using automation, you’re behind the times. Marketers who use...

Alphabet won’t acquire HubSpot after all

Alphabet’s rumored deal to acquire HubSpot is shelved, sources told Bloomberg (subscription required). Alphabet reportedly walked away from the deal weeks ago, according...

Hidden Google tool reveals GA4 and Google Ads discrepancies

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) contains a concealed report that allows users to compare conversions exported to Google Ads and explains discrepancies between the...

Recent articles

More like this


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here