Why use consultants?

“6 reasons why you should consider using consultant”

1. Plugging staffing gaps – Companies often have short to medium-term staffing needs due to a variety of factors such as downsizing and retrenchment, rapid company growth, sudden departure of key staff to name a few.  Consultants can “fill a gap” in the company by fulfilling the role of full-time employees. While it may not be cost-effective long term, using a consultant in this capacity means you get someone who starts quickly and can hit the ground running as well as handing over once you engage new staff in the long term.

2. Best practice – Consultants often seen how many companies do things in the same sector.  Therefore they are able to recognize common flaws and common solutions to create effective plans and apply the learnings of previous lessons without incurring the cost of failures en-route.  While a lot of advice exists on the internet (everyone is an expert) a lot of useful information exists in the heads of the senior consultants to which they put their reputations on the line by providing sound advice and guidance.

3. Time & expertise – companies need help resolving issues where their skills or experience are lacking or don’t have the time to find the right staff with the right experience. Consultants can add value quickly through training, mentoring and simply application of their speclialised capabilities.

4. External validation – Sometimes companies struggle to do the right thing, even if they know its the right thing.  This can be due to political forces, vested interests, etc., particularly if redundancies are involved or if major operational or strategic shifts need to occur.  Use of a consultant may allow a management team or a board to reach their desired conclusions by having the external validation.

5. Perspective – It never hurts to get in a fresh pair of eyes.  While some observations and insights might seem obvious with criticism levelled at consultants for “borrowing your watch to tell you the time“.  However, all too often the obvious solutions are ignored or organisational cultures can’t break out of its rut.   A consultant can help force an organisation out of their torpor.

6. Training – This is one of the most valuable elements a consultant can bring.  While consultancy may fix things over the short term, if their clients aren’t capable of implementing or maintaining the proposed solutions then the consultant may not add long term value.  If engaging consultants, you’d be wise to have consultants train your staff to ensure they have the relevant knowledge and skillset so that you have less dependency on consultants in the future.