SEVEN HIRING BEST PRACTICES TO ADVANCE YOUR BUSINESS
In the new world of work, modern managers must leverage on-demand experts to access top talent and reach their goals. And doing so effectively often requires breaking business goals into distinct projects. But successful projects don’t just happen — they’re built. Yes, it’s about finding the right experts in the marketing, communications, project, and program management sectors for the right roles at the right time, but it’s also about intentionally setting clear expectations and rules of engagement. Whether you’re new to hiring project-based professionals or you’ve already done it several times, these hiring tips for managers will help you meaningfully move the needle in getting work done well – and fast:
1. REDEFINE "TEAM"
As more of the American workforce opts out of traditional employment in favor of consulting and freelancing, success in the new world of work requires a more holistic approach to talent and team building. And it starts by broadening your perspective from team to Team.
A team consists solely of full-time employees. It’s static.
In contrast, a Team includes a dynamic collection of resources that help an organization reach its goals. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution as a Team can be any combination of full-time employees, consultants, freelancers, agencies, or contractors — whether strategic or tactical, long- or short-term, internal or external. This hiring best practice helps modern managers maximize results and flexibility with blended Teams. In doing so, managers are able to:
- Access to the total talent population
- Leverage and pay for experts only when they are truly needed
- Free up themselves (and their teams) to focus on what they do best
Looking to build out your Team with consultants?
2. BE A CLIENT, NOT A MANAGER
When working with project-based experts, check your manager credentials at the door. You’re a client now. What’s the difference? Quite a bit.
With full-time employees, you’re a manager. As a manager, you’re not just tasked with ensuring that work gets done; you’re also responsible for managing employee performance and professional development. If there’s an issue, you must coach and resolve it. If there’s a teachable moment, that’s on you, too. The responsibilities and pressures that come with being a manager can consume a fair amount of time and energy.
When working with outside experts — whether consultants, freelancers, or agencies— you get to be the client.
And as a client, you’re free to focus on the bottom-line results. That means defining the problem that needs to be solved and celebrating the win when the work is complete. You can leave the responsibility of people management and development to your client service partner, like Simplicity Consulting.
Simplicity is driven by one goal: to help our clients achieve maximum success. We find and manage expert talent in the marketing, communication, program, and project management spaces - so you can enjoy the results.
3. DEFINE SUCCESS FIRST
This hiring best practice might sound obvious, but it’s nearly impossible to have a successful project without clearly defining what success looks like — and then sharing that with everyone involved.
As you crystalize your vision of success, ask yourself:
- What results do I want to see in 30, 60, and 90 days?
- What qualitative or quantitative metrics will I use to define a successful project?
- What is the most critical business outcome I need right now?
- What expertise do I have on my team to achieve this outcome?
- What expertise am I missing internally?
- What are the upcoming key deliverables and milestones that we need to meet?
- How do these metrics align with client and team accountabilities?
- What challenges might arise when meeting those outcomes, and what is the best approach to overcoming them?
It all comes down to asking yourself, “What is the most important business outcome I need to achieve right now?”
4. GET TACTICAL TO MEET BUSINESS OBJECTIVES
Define success: Check.
Once successful clients have identified their most important business objectives, they break down what they need to do to meet those goals. How?
- Determine your logistical needs: full-time or part-time? Off-site or on-site?
- Gain clarity on how to meet your business objectives and fill the talent gap on your team.
- Draft a compelling project description and share it broadly.
- Do I have the appropriate budget approval to bring on a consultant?
- What are the hard and soft skills needed on my team?
- Do I need a strategist, a tactician, or a combo of the two?
Simply put, you’ll want to figure out what you want this consultant to do and deliver.
5. SET CLEAR EXPECTATIONS WITH CONSULTANTS
We can’t emphasize it enough: How you start is how you finish.
The key to a successful project is setting clear expectations at the outset—and sharing those expectations with everyone involved, including your client service partner.
Areas to consider:
- Statement of work (SOW): Have I drafted an SOW with all the deliverable details, timeline, and payment terms?
- Points of integration: Have I shared with my team why I’m bringing in an expert(s), and have I built an environment of inclusion and trust? Who will the consultant(s) interact with? Have I established communication channels between them?
- Rhythm of communication: What’s my preferred communication method (email, text, IM, in person, etc.) and style (direct/open, formal/informal, etc.)? How often should we meet to track progress and success metrics?
- Standard operating procedures: Have I set expectations appropriately with the consultant(s) about our organizational culture and the actual work?
Another hiring best practice that applies here is to schedule a project kick-off meeting during the project’s first week. If possible, meet face-to-face, whether that be via Zoom or in person.
One benefit of working with a client service partner like Simplicity is that we’ll drive the project kick-off to ensure your project starts – and ends - right.
6. SET YOUR TEAMS UP FOR SUCCESS
Even the most strategic, seasoned, and self-directed consultant needs a few basics to be successful. This hiring tip for managers will help you do just that.
Highly successful clients give their consultants the foundational information they need to hit the ground running, solve problems, and drive impact from the first day. Investing this time will empower your consultant in their role and lead to increased autonomy down the road.
- People: Identify the key players the consultant will interact with and what the consultant needs to know about them (roles, areas of expertise, communication preferences, etc.). Introduce them all and give them the green light to collaborate as needed.
- Tools and resources: Identify the tools (chat/collaboration tools, marketing automation software, CRM, CMS, etc.) your consultant will need to access and the resources (core documents, login information, web content, internal portals, guides, marketing plans, etc.) they’ll benefit from reviewing.
- Process: Consider if there’s a specific process you’d like the consultant to follow in managing the project. Are there any tools or resources they need to do so effectively?
We’ll say it again: Start strong to end strong.
7. EVALUATE AND LEARN
Success isn’t ambiguous — it’s mapped to clearly defined success metrics. If you want the project completed as agreed upon in the SOW, it’s essential to do more than just set clear benchmarks: Create a process for evaluating and learning from them.
Metrics are crucial to understanding if your investment is yielding the intended ROI. They’re also helpful in flagging potential issues.
What to define:
- The approach to evaluating success
- Key project metrics (both qualitative and quantitative)
- Format and process you’ll use to review those metrics
- Cadence for reviewing metrics
Upon review, ask yourself:
- Are you hitting your stated objectives?
- Are your goals from the project start still a priority?
- What’s working well? What could be improved?
HIRING BEST PRACTICE TO STREAMLINE YOUR SEARCH: WORK WITH SIMPLICITY
In addition to following these hiring tips for managers, you can streamline your quest to build the perfect Team by working with the experts at Simplicity. We are expert matchmakers – pairing clients with expert consultants in marketing, communications, project, and project management.
When you partner with Simplicity, you have a trusted advisor helping you effectively fill gaps, do more with less, and reach your goals with the right on-demand expert! And our relationship doesn’t stop there! When you hire a consultant through Simplicity, you’ll be paired with a dedicated client success manager to ensure satisfaction from project kick-off to completion.
Contact us today, and let’s get started together!