When you hire consultants for your company, they typically work remotely and set their own schedules. Therefore, consultants don’t have the same types of interactions that your on-site employees do. However, consultants remain an important part of your team and need to be treated accordingly.
Here are a few ways you can make consultants feel like part of your team.
Set clear expectations so consultants know exactly what you want and can continue meeting or exceeding your standards. This includes outlining what work needs to be completed, showing how it fits in with the big picture, and setting reasonable deadlines for finishing tasks. If consultants end up needing some extra time to achieve the results they want, consider extending the deadline. Make sure you set aside time to give feedback throughout the project so the end result fits your vision.
Verbal and written communication plays a large part in helping consultants learn more about your business. Since consultants may not work in your office and have access to the on-hand resources that employees do, consultants typically have more questions than employees have. Therefore, you should be as open and honest as possible.
Also, listen to consultants’ advice. They’ve been working in their fields a long time and have much to say about various topics and situations. If you don’t agree with what’s being suggested, talk about it until you reach a compromise that suits all parties.
Trust consultants to independently do their work. Consultants typically perform on their own schedule. They are self-motivated, value their autonomy, know how to organize projects, invest their time wisely, and finish their work on time. Therefore, it’s important you give consultants the freedom to set their own schedule and work remotely.
Show sincere appreciation for consultants in your words and actions. You may decide to send them a hand-written thank-you note and a book, gift card, or other small items they’ll enjoy. Taking this extra step shows your consultants are valuable team members and encourages them to continue working hard for your organization.
Always pay your consultants on time and at market rate or above. If you’re offering incentives for employees completing their work on time with successful results, let consultants earn those incentives as well. Because consultants are experts providing their knowledge and years of experience to help your company grow, paying consultants well keeps them engaged in providing top-quality results for your company. Also, when consultants talk to others in their profession, they’ll spread the word about your generosity and increase the number of consultants willing to work with you. This gives you greater access to a variety of skill sets that you currently may not have.
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Because consultants help your company move forward, it’s important you make them feel like valued members of your organization.