Hiring consultants for short-term, special projects is a common practice in some of the most efficient and effective organizations in the country. As companies grow and evolve, they often identify special projects that can help them achieve goals or stay in compliance. These projects can involve anything from designing and implementing a new accounting system to writing new policies and procedures or developing training programs.
If you haven’t worked with a consultant in the past, you may wonder why companies don’t leverage their existing team to handle these projects on their own. But there are many reasons companies turn to consultants. Consultants are unbiased third parties who have no vested interest in existing processes or “the way we’ve always done things.” They are problem solvers who can bring new ideas and expertise to an organization on an as-needed basis.
Here are three ways hiring a consultant can benefit your organization.
Subject matter expertise
Consultants typically focus on a particular area or skill set. The nature of their contract work allows them to specialize in a way many permanent employees can’t. Because consultants perform their role over and over again for many different clients – sometimes in different industries – they spend a great deal of time refining their skills in that area.
That specialization means they bring a vast amount of knowledge and experience to the table that internal employees may lack. They are a source of expertise to guide companies toward developing practical solutions to problems that management may have struggled with in the past or simply lack the capacity to deal with.
Rather than cobbling together a team of employees who may or may not have the necessary capabilities, working with a consultant connects an organization with new or innovative ideas and provide a unique perspective based on what the consultant has seen work (or not work) for other organizations in the past.
Your company may have smart, responsible employees with great ideas. But the reality is, your full-time or permanent staff members have other priorities. When in-house employees are tasked with managing crucial projects in addition to their regular roles, these projects may not get done as well or as quickly as you’d like.
It can be challenging to keep an eye on the progress of a project outside of your day-to-day responsibilities. Your team may forget a deliverable or incur unnecessary expenditures in a rush to meet deadlines. That’s when you can benefit from hiring a consultant for project management.
Consultants typically possess a formal project management process. They provide encouragement and accountability, keep an eye on the budget, manage tasks and deadlines, and ensure all team members are doing their part. In most cases, proper project management can reduce implementation costs far more than the cost of bringing in the consultant.
Organizations often experience highs and lows. During busy periods, employees scramble to complete tasks. Their workloads may become unmanageable, resulting in shortcuts, errors, and even ignoring other responsibilities. This situation is only sustainable for so long. Eventually, it can damage your business and lead to quality and compliance issues, unhappy clients and lost business.
In times like these, consultants can be a set of hands ready and able to tackle essential projects that your permanent staff simply doesn’t have the time for. Staffing special projects with consultants keeps your full-time staff focused on their core competencies instead of splitting their attention between a conflicting set of priorities. This ensures your business continues to run smoothly while setting the project up for success.
Having a trained professional who knows your business and has the flexibility to work as little or as much as you need is invaluable. Whether your project is “nice to have” or critical to operations, it’s worth your time to consider how a consultant can help. They can shoulder the workload of your project and contribute to the bottom line at the same time.