There is nothing better than when you get approved to add temporary consulting assistance for an upcoming major project or initiative! However, many leaders overlook the importance of staff management in ensuring your internal team collaborates well with the external consultants. Not planning appropriately can result in an unexpected nightmare!
While you may be giddy about having a new extra pair of expert hands, your ability to incorporate sound staff management is critical to how efficient the full team is in getting work done. When optimizing your workforce using staff management strategies, keep in mind the following tips:
Staff Management Tip 1: Start with the end in mind.
Think about what success would look like at the end of the project and have a solid plan on how to get there. The entire team (internal and external) will want to understand the value the project adds to organizational goals, the key stakeholders involved, and the passion that senior management has about the initiative.
Staff Management Tip 2: Include your entire team in the process.
Many team leaders are skittish about sharing sensitive information regarding the project with the external consultants. Whether it is appropriate to do so is dependent on a number of variables, including the sophistication of the team. However, true expert consultants are going to need to know the full set of facts in order to fully utilize the very talents for which you hired them. Trust in your consultant is key. It’s just good business to require your external consultants to sign an iron-clad non-disclosure agreement so that you can ensure your entire team has the same facts at the same time.
Staff Management Tip 3: Secure the right advisors early.
Many team leaders talk to advisors related to the project late in the process. Create a team of advisors who are willing to collaborate and be a resource to your team during the project. Ensure they are introduced to both the internal and external members of the team. Also remember to provide a clear overview of everyone’s roles, responsibilities, and potential asks of their time.
Staff Management Tip 4: Help your staff be agile.
It is rare that a project or initiative is executed flawlessly. What you anticipated to take 6 months might end up taking a year. Life happens. A fatal flaw that will kill the morale of the team involves not preparing them for the potential ups and downs of the project. Reassure them that obstacles happen and that you are committed to working with them to overcome any that rear their ugly head.
Staff Management Tip 5: Formalize your external consultants’ exit plan.
At some point, all great consulting engagements come to an end. Realize that your internal staff have likely established friendships with your consultants and have gotten used to having them around to help with the work. Make sure that you update the team sporadically of the team’s progress against goals and whether or not the potential end date of the consultants will shift. This will allow time for your consultants to search for their next client engagement and will help prepare your employees for the consultants’ eventual departure.
You don’t have to tackle the staff management of blended workforces alone. At SDL, we have a crackerjack team whose passion is centered in helping organizations lead the people-related work streams of projects and change initiatives. Because we have been involved with so many transformation efforts, our value lies in reducing your time to execute while ensuring you take advantage of best practices which will take care of both your company and its people.
Have an upcoming initiative where you could use a thought partner or consulting expertise? Need a few extra hands to get a project done? We can help.
I invite you to set up a good time for us to chat about the scope and potential needs of your effort.