When recruiting consultants, or hiring consultants to perform specific functions within a company, often a consultant who is a solo operator will be chosen. Working with consultants, and integrating them into a project team, can be tricky however!
This can offer cost benefits over hiring a team of consultants, but when the project in question is large or complex, it can mean appointing an internal team of your employees to assist with the project.
Creating and managing a project team can be a tricky proposition though, and here are a few tips that should help make the process a little easier.
The first thing you will need to define relates to your employees time. Will they be dedicated to the project for its duration, or will they only be used by the consultant you have hired when needed?
You may even want to create a fixed schedule, for example, that the consultant may utilize the employee in the mornings only, with the afternoons devoted to their regular tasks. Also remember that you may have to divide up the ordinary tasks of key employees between other staff in their department, if the project will be taking up all, or most of their time.
2. Office Politics
Even the most well thought out projects can be brought down by office politics. Disgruntled employees may view it as an opportunity to show management up, and therefore refuse to co-operate with the consultant, or they may resent the fact that a consultant has been brought in.
Whatever the reason, it’s important to make sure that office politics don’t play a role in the success of the project, so make sure that everyone is aware beforehand why the consultant has been hired, what the expectation of them is, and what their role will be.
Get everyone on board with working with the consultants you hire and you should avoid office politics problems.
3. Choosing the Team
In any office, there are employees that are merely doing time, completing their tasks satisfactorily, but never perfectly, who are there to do their job, cash their paycheck, and forget about the job on the weekend.
Those are not the kind of employees you want on your project team! If they are not concerned with excelling in their own job, there is no chance that they will become invested enough in another project to care about its success or failure, and while the consultant is geared to project success, to those types of employees, the success or failure simply does not matter.
The result will always be that the consultant either cannot deliver, or the project will run over time and cost more, or, at worst, that the project fails completely, so it’s best, if choosing a project team, to assign your best performers, rather than average, or even below average staff members.
All Things Considered
These are just a few of the issues that come up when you work with consultants – and just so you know from the outset, there will be many more unique to your company. But the rewards are more often than not well worth it.