Due to the high frequency that growth-oriented businesses need expert or niche talent, more and more businesses are turning to freelancers to help them achieve success. According to NetSuite, the majority of businesses hire on-demand workers because of the improved work quality, additional revenue they generate, work flexibility and decreased labor costs.
To benefit most from the on-demand labor model, consider how to best integrate a freelancer into your company and culture. Here are five tips for growing, expanding and developing your on-demand workforce:
1) Clearly Define Project Scope and Goals:
The first step to a successful consultant relationship is clearly scoping out a project up front – this includes:
• Defining the specific issues at hand
• Setting goals so that your team will know if the project has been successful
• Preparing a feasible budget to accomplish the work
Having a common vision of what a successful project looks like will help consultants hit the ground running, be efficient with their time and clearly understand their role within the organization.
2) Consistent Communication:
Regular, clear communication is also a key ingredient for a successful consultant-business relationship. We find that at least a Friday email summarizing what the consultant accomplished during the week and what remains outstanding for the following week keeps everyone on the same page. Even better are weekly calls or meetings where both parties seek real-time feedback on issues and questions and build a strong relationship.
3) Include Consultant in Company Culture:
On-demand workers likely don’t experience the same on-boarding as their full-time counterparts, but company culture is just as important for consultants. How can a consultant tailor his or her recommendations to your organization if they don’t know the spoken and unspoken values that drive decision making for their team and the business as whole? Also, integrating consultants into the organization’s day-to-day culture as much as possible allows them to have a better perspective of what is expected of each member of the organization.
4) Have Patience:
For every two steps a consultant climbs, they may need to take one step back, making their progress arduous. Most projects assigned to consultants take time to grow until they have blossomed into their final form. Often, stepping back truly allows a consultant to think outside the box, create a new paradigm for the business or come up with a cost cutting tactic that will transform the bottom line. But for these benefits to take place, patience is required in the growth period, where the data gathered and adjustments made will ultimately lead to the maximized efficiency of the final product.
5) Build A Long-Term Relationship:
Finally, building a strong relationship with your consultant is key. Find a consultant you love to work with and use him or her regularly to augment your team. Working with the same consultant year after year allows you to begin a new project at full speed. With a great relationship, your consultant will feel like a full-time member of your long-term team.