The market of independents is representing a $1Trillion contribution to the economy and is touching all industries. On-demand skills and expertise are growing rapidly and industries such as manufacturing have seen unprecedented highs (+367% YOY). There are lots of different offers on the market, and it can be sometimes difficult to find the right resources for the right job. We have been engaged in different capacities and very often after a project did not go well with a previous 3rd party. We came to take it over, clean it up and put the project or organization back on track to get the expected results.
When you find the right partner, there are many benefits you can get by engaging with 3rd parties:
1) Expertise: consulting can give a company access to senior or expert talents not easily available in the market. If you need an expert in AI, for example, you know they will not be easy to find. Consultants bring you the expertise you need at the time you need it. Consultants also have a broader understanding of the solutions so they can prevent you from missteps and design the right solution for now and for the future.
2) Fill in quickly a position: Some positions can require specific expertise and are very difficult to fill. With consulting, you can fill quickly a position to do the job or while you find the full-time employee you need. A lot of executive positions can take time to be filled as you want to make sure you make the right choice. In the meantime, either you have someone internally, who can backfill, or you work with a fractional executive who will be able to fill in the gap while you continue your search. In this case, it will remove for you the pressure, you are not in the rush to find someone, and you will still have the insurance that the job will be done perfectly.
3) Adjust to specific or changing goals: organizations are moving fast and need to be extremely reactive. Maybe a new board got assigned with the goal to sell the company in a near-future or the company is facing a challenge that needs to be addressed quickly or its future is at risk. In these cases, consulting gives the solution as the consultant comes, fixes the issues or makes the necessary changes and exits. You know that you do not need somebody in the long term, but you need someone who can do it right and quickly.
4) Access to a larger team: 3rd parties have access to lots of different talents. They can tap into their team and use a designer or a developer very quickly while an employee will not be able to. On a project, they will not get stuck or have to wait until this or this other expert gets hired. If they have to pull a new resource unexpectedly, they have the structure to do it and to do it quickly so nothing will get delayed and very often it is transparent to the client.
5) Rapid results: senior consultants are used to stepping in and make quick impacts. They have seen and worked on many projects and faced a lot of different situations, enabling them to grasp very quickly the problem and act on it. Versatility, efficiency, and experience are assets that cannot be found with someone who has only experienced very few companies and business models.
6) Fresh perspective: when we are so much into the weeds it can be hard to step back and take a different perspective to analyze a situation. Newcomers always provide a fresh point of view, a different way of thinking and are challenging the status quo. For an organization willing to go ahead, it needs to get this perspective, from time to time. Consultants have seen different organizations doing things differently, so they bring some of the best practices that they tested elsewhere and adjust them to the new organization.
7) Offset a knowledge that is getting quickly obsolete: Technology is moving very quickly so knowledge becomes obsolete every five to seven years. People who have been in a role for a long time might have been doing the same thing for as long as they are in the job and have maybe not tested new tactics or learned new technologies. Consultants are always learning because they have to. They need to be on top of the market. They work with lots of customers, so they constantly apply, test, and learn new techniques in a variety of ways. They bring the latest knowledge to you. Startups are erupting every day, challenging a company’s position so the organization needs to be able to face these changes to survive.
8) No commitment: very often 3rd parties remove the boundaries of entry. They do not require long commitment or sign in bonus or severance packages. The commitment is minimal, enabling an organization to take advantage quickly of what can be offered.
9) Try and buy: in some cases, not having the commitment can be an easy way to try and buy. The organization can work for a month or two with the 3rd party, see if they are getting what they need and decide to extend the engagement or terminate it. It also can be a way to test a resource before turning them into full-time employee.
Consultants are more expensive: consulting is not more expensive because you only pay for what you get. Hiring a full-time person comes with the assumption you have enough work to keep them busy for 40h/week and pay the overhead that goes with it. With 3rd party, you do not pay health insurance or any other benefit and you only pay for what you need. Small organizations can access resources they would not be otherwise able to afford. Senior consultants work way faster than some junior people or even than some internal employees and you can get results up to 1/3 faster so it ends up being much cheaper. Let’s consider that a senior resource will have a higher rate, but will work faster, it will cost you less or the same to get the same results or better. This is not even to mention when you make a wrong hire. You would have paid the person and got no results so now you have to do it again. Another case we see often is when the solution is not scalable so the current issue is resolved but as soon as things evolve, the company needs to make a new investment because the current solution cannot support it. Finally, consultants very often prevent you from missteps because they have done it already and know most of the pitfalls. In these last three cases, your benefits are way higher, and the cost is way cheaper.
Consultants do not know the company history: any smart person can pick it up quickly. Consultants know how to balance past and future and integrate quickly the positive assets of an organization. Some people stay hooked to the past because it is their way of protecting their job but there is nothing that cannot be learned and assimilated rapidly.
It is harder to maintain the culture when you work with consultants: successful consultants have high emotional intelligence and know how to blend with the culture and embrace it. Usually, they come with no politics, they are here to do the job as best as they can so will not jeopardize what is good in the culture of an organization. Look for consultants who carry the same values as you and work with them. They can embrace your culture as much as you will let them to. The more you involve them and include them, the more they will be part of the team and share the exact same as any other employee.