Insights & Ideas

Role reversal: Challenging the roles of consultants and employees

Let consultants take care of day-to-day tasks, so employees can grow.

Conventional wisdom says you should bring in consultants to help with special projects—such as acquisitions, business integrations, new system implementations. That way, employees can stay focused on their current job responsibilities while experts get the special project done.

However, as companies look for ways to keep employees engaged, a growing number of organizations are turning the consultant-employee model upside-down. They’re hiring consultants to do employees’ regular jobs, while employees take on challenging special projects. It’s an effective strategy that these organizations are finding especially beneficial in today’s uncertain environment.

Reversing consultant/employee roles provides unique opportunities for:

    • Employee development. Employees crave new experiences, exposure to new skills, and opportunities to contribute. With a consultant performing the employee’s regular job, the employee has the freedom to focus on new challenges, which are many right now.
    • Increased employee confidence. To onboard the consultant, employees need to document their work and share their know-how. Training another person helps increase employee confidence and pride in their job.
    • Knowledge retention. When a consultant finishes a project, some of the insights they learn leave with them. If employees work on a special project, that knowledge stays in your organization for future initiatives.
    • Evaluating employee performance. Rotating job responsibilities can help eliminate “job squatting” and gives you a chance to evaluate an employee’s performance in a different role with different team members.
    • New ideas around established processes. Consultants come with knowledge of best practices and deep expertise in their field. They can offer suggestions for improvement in day-to-day processes that a long-time employee may not see—creating extra value for your organization.

When consultants are hired for a defined period of time, employees don’t see consultants as a threat or competition. It becomes an opportunity for everyone—the employee, the consultant, and the organization—to grow and develop.

About Salo

Looking for help with your next accounting, finance, and HR project? At Salo, we can help you find the right consultant—whether you want an expert to complete a special project or provide cover for employees who have an opportunity to grow. Connect with us today!

John Bankhurst

Business Development Director, Finance

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Salo connects senior finance, accounting, and HR professionals with organizations that need their expertise. Joining Korn Ferry’s Interim Executive & Professional practice enables us to continue our twofold, people-focused approach: connecting people with meaningful careers where they can make a positive impact and offering innovative and customized business solutions for clients looking to tackle big challenges. Together with Korn Ferry, we are committed to putting people first, to build a world that works better together.

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