How to accelerate the collaboration with a consultant

20% of the Swedish labor market today consists of consultants and within a few years the figure is said to be up to 40% according to a survey conducted by McKinsey. More companies need to understand the value of consultants - and also how they get the most out of the collaboration.

Due to the growth of digitalisation, there has been a shortage of skills among key people. Today, there are more IT jobs than IT specialists, and the IT specialists in the labor market prioritize freedom, flexibility but above all the desire to learn and gain knowledge from different industries.

Consultant or employees?
The gig economy, where permanent jobs are replaced by consultants, accounted for 20% of the Swedish workforce in Sweden in 2016. According to a survey conducted by McKinsey*, it is between 20–30% in the US and Europe with steady growth. This means that people have made a shift in what we value - and one of the things we prioritize most is flexibility and freedom in our employment. The result is a clash between what the employee values ​​and the companies that hold on to old ways of working. For many years now, we have seen that the average time as an employee in a company is shortened. From being a lifetime with a gold watch at the end to a few single years per employment. The advancement of digitalisation has a lot to do with this as it enables greater flexibility. Many people believe that digitalisation can be a threat that will mean fewer jobs, but it rather means that the jobs that arise change character and contribute to more jobs for you as a consultant.
More and more people today choose to work as a consultant - and are happy to work in different industries and companies rather than being permanently employed at the same workplace.

Ordinary consulting industries and why hire a consultant?
From a recruitment perspective, this means that companies in industries where the gig economy is significant, for example in IT and operations, choose to bring in consultants with cutting-edge expertise instead of hiring. The challenge with this is to dare to invest in hiring a consultant for a key position, but also to find the right competence in the recruitment work. We believe that specialist competence with other perspectives and experience is necessary to be competitive in the labor market as an employer. Digitization never stands still and forces us to develop in AI and automation.

Due to the growth of digitalisation, there has been a shortage of skills among key people such as Enterprise Architects, Business Analysts and Product Owners. Today, there are more IT jobs than IT specialists, and the IT specialists in the labor market prioritize differently with freedom and flexibility but above all desire to learn and gain knowledge from different industries. These factors often have a greater value than higher pay and security of permanent employment. This results in HR’s challenge being to represent the company’s values, commitment, and employer branding to attract expertise. Also a challenge is that you as a company bring in consulting companies / partners who understand your challenge and can create value in your organization.

Choose the right partner for your needs
When companies are in a period of high workload and employees end up in stress related situations that can result in them taking sick leave - or in other cases starting to look for a new job, this is a good opportunity to hire a consultant. Today, there are hundreds of consulting companies in the labor market, make sure you choose the partner who creates business value and has consultants with high competence in the areas you need. By hiring a consultant during periods where the company is growing fast, undergoing an agile transformation or making a major change - you are able to accelerate your digitization more effectively towards the market. Examples of this can be rapid changes such as system changes or when companies are to be merged and the systems are to be integrated. This may require change management or specialist expertise in the systems that you no longer need after implementation.

Another aspect of this is that you reduce the risk of recessions. Should you, for this reason, need to quickly reduce your workforce, it is easier to scale down if you have a certain proportion of consultants. If it turns around and instead becomes a boom, you can quickly bring in consultants again. Consultants can often start immediately and make sure that there are experts in the field you need support with.

This is how you accelerate the collaboration
There are many good reasons to hire a consultant, but what happens if the collaboration and the result does not turn out as you intended? The goal is for you to get business benefits and to succeed, the right conditions are needed. Start by setting goals and deadlines. Develop a clear requirements specification of where, how, when and why. As a consultant, it is important to have an understanding of the company's goals and vision. Even for consultants, it is required that HR has developed a clear onboarding process, tell the consultant what the person can expect from you as a company when it comes to culture and values. Also be clear in what you expect from the consultant in this aspect. For the collaboration to work, it can be good if the soft values ​​align. Remember that even a consultant is an ambassador for your brand.

The world and working life are constantly changing. The consultants are here to stay and they are on the rise!