April 3, 2020
Maggie Melnick, Managing Partner
Around the world right now, companies are making daily decisions about new revenue initiatives, as well as cost reductions. Many of us are debating whether to continue to hire, freeze or even cut headcount. And some companies are seriously considering eliminating some of their consultants.
Seems like the smart thing to do, right? Cut consultants to save on expenses? You may be thinking…
But how will you survive and thrive without the right team?
Bringing in or retaining consultants is an approach many smart companies carefully consider to enable them to meet their critical talent needs, balanced with required cost control during uncertain times….and here’s why:
Why Hire (or Retain) A Consultant During Unpredictable Times - Flexibility & Control
1. Consultants Can Take on Tactical Work So Your Team Can Be Strategic – your team is likely focused on many critical projects already, in addition to added pressures of new strategic responsibilities given these unprecedented times. Consultants can offload some of those BAU and tactical responsibilities, allowing your team to be completely focused on the critical or new strategic work right now.
2. Consultants Add Value Quickly - There is a reason your company has hired consultants in the past and you may need them now more than ever – consultants come in with a skill and background your team may not have today. Consultants are trained to have an immediate impact on critical, revenue impacting initiatives from day one – not six months from now.
3. Consultant Engagements Have Less Financial Risk – you need to get important work done now, but you may be facing uncertainty in your budget. Hiring a permanent employee carries risk in times of uncertainty. There may be more cuts coming down the road – and no one wants to be in the position of letting new employees go, but it’s hard to predict what will happen 6 months from now. Letting an employee go may also require a separation package - thus costing your company more money and HR management focus. On the other hand, consultant engagements can be much more flexible financially – with customized terms and conditions.
4. Consultants Work Independently – if your team is now working 100% remote, training a new employee may not be feasible and the learning curve will likely be much longer than normal. Consultants are experienced, oftentimes in your industry, and trained to work independently. They adapt quickly and can work with very little direction from your team, reducing the stress of managing or supervising a new employee in these work-from-home environments. Additionally, consulting firms often provide leadership oversight, guidance and direction to consultants during a project, thereby taking the strain off of your team.
5. Consultants Don’t Have to Work Full-time – some projects may not need full-time, 40-hour per week resources or you may have several related, but smaller projects across or within an organization that all need support now. Hiring a consultant, or a consultant team, with flexible hours and diverse skills enables your company to focus resources where and when you need them most.
6. Consultants Are Ideal for Both Short-term or Long-term Projects – Whether you have a 12-week project or a 12-month project, hiring a consultant gives your company more flexibility than a permanent hire during uncertain times. And if the duration of the work is simply unknown at this point, start small and a consultant engagement can be extended when you’re able to move forward.
7. Consult-to-Hire Models Are Flexible – if budgets or long-term hiring needs are uncertain, using a consultant for critical work now, with the option to hire them as an employee later, gives you more flexibility in the future. It also gives you time to “test” their skills and culture fit while getting important work done.
8. Consultants Do Important Work Outside of Your Core Scope – If your project requires specialized skills and experience that are only needed for a set time period, or won’t be relevant outside of this project, leveraging a consultant can be the best option. Hiring a full-time employee into a dead-end career path has risks for them, which then creates risk for you and your company.
Even if your long term strategy is to hire additional permanent employees, your HR team is likely focused on more pressing needs right now, and may not have the ability to allocate a lot of time and effort to recruiting, onboarding and training new employees in the short term. Leveraging consultants is an alternative that enables your business to move forward now without that burden on your HR department.
Many business leaders are faced with difficult decisions on the best approach to growing their business while cutting costs in unprecedented and unpredictable times. If you have consultants on your team now, consider retaining those focused on critical projects until the dust settles. If you’re understaffed, but uncertain about future hiring budgets, a consultant can fill important gaps, while still giving you significant flexibility.
At BLEND360, our talent solutions are designed to meet the evolving needs of workplace dynamics. We know your business has been impacted in some way over the last couple of weeks, and we’d love to work with you on a flexible solution to ensure you have the right talent - when, where and how you need them.