If you’re a CIO or CEO, you’re likely looking at the body of work for 2022 and realizing you’ll need some additional manpower. Your team is stretched as far (or further) than is sustainable, but the labor market is just as tight. You’re probably wondering where to start; is it best to seek out full-time employees? Should you pursue contractors or consultants to fill the gaps? In the end, the solution is probably a mix of all three, but it’s key to get clear on your needs.
Strategy is important here. I have clients who’ve been looking to fill full-time positions for up to nine months. Now is the time for precision; what type of professional should you be looking for? A full-time employee offers longevity, but in this new, more volatile labor market, you should understand the roles and benefits of contractors and consultants as well. Consultants, in particular, can be very effective in project completion, while offering high level benefits to your organization at the same time.
What is a Contractor?
A contractor is an independent professional worker. Contractors are able to offer their services to the public at their discretion and are paid per client for services rendered. They’re responsible for handling their own taxes; they’re not withheld by the hiring entity. Contractors are hired to execute a particular task. They’re not always able to offer strategy and guidance.
What is a Consultant?
A consultant works within the structure of an existing company, but they’re still an independent entity. Consultants help clients understand what’s working and what isn’t in their business, and they make recommendations for what should be refined, changed, or eliminated. This can extend to processes, procedures, or personnel. Consultants are high level thinkers. They provide a large scope, a plan of action, and direction on execution. They work from a wealth of experience, since they’re used to working with many different organizations.
Why Hire a Contractor or Consultant Rather Than a Full-Time Employee?
Simply put, hiring a contractor or consultant places a focus on outcomes. Some outcomes do require the long term nature of an employee, but others can easily be fulfilled by an independent professional. In this market, many workers want flexibility and freedom to connect with multiple clients on their own time and on their own terms. As an employer, once you align with these values, you’ve got a highly skilled worker who has signed on to ensure the outcomes are met. Because they move between clients, contractors and consultants have increased availability. When you’re looking at a daunting body of work for the next year, this is valuable.
Do You Need a Contractor or a Consultant?
So, which type of independent professional should you pursue? A consultant provides recommendations for what work should be done, and a contractor performs a task. Some contractors do provide guidance on strategy, but in general, they’re more focused on execution.
If you’re not sure which direction to go, you’re likely in search of a consultant. If you’re clear on the job and just need it completed, you’re likely in need of a contractor.
How Can A Consultant Help Your Business?
Contractors generally work within a more limited scope, while consultants tackle the big picture. Consultants are experts, with diverse experience in their field. They can develop plans for design and implementation of new techniques to improve large and small aspects of a business. Consultants tackle operations in order to improve efficiency and profitability. They can be a powerful asset as your company looks to grow or pivot.
Consultants Can Be A Powerful Tool in This Labor Market
The hiring challenges that we’re currently seeing in the marketplace really support a move toward hiring consultants. They’re often quicker to find and book than full-time employees, and they can bring long-term benefits to your organization by optimizing your current processes. For example, our consultation services at TGR Management create a success plan for companies as they’re pivoting. We help clients improve operational efficiency, technology strategy, and strategic planning processes. This is the type of comprehensive work that consultants can provide. If you’ve been looking for this type of powerful service, let’s set up a complimentary consultation.