Based on my experience and our collaborative research with other industry thought leaders – there are three trends that I see for consultants and contract workers, businesses and employees.
Trend #1 –Team Cooperation and Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks
According to a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review, 80% of companies with 100 or more employees now achieve work through teams. The study also found that companies that provided team recognition out performed the others. Team cooperation is the new post recovery will strengthen throughout 2013. Business leaders that stand for it stand to gain. Organizations that take internal team cooperation one step further and reach outside their organizations for strategic alliances greatly broaden their horizons with cross-marketing benefits.
On the same note, there must be effective leaders and managers ready to lead dynamic work teams.
It is argued that many leaders wait too long to include leadership development training in their succession leadership system. Waiting until a manager or supervisor is already in a leadership position is frequently too late. During stress, untrained leaders tend to down-shift their conflict management responses to those of their parents and families of origin. Bad habits are already ingrained. According to Jack Zenger, CEO of Zenger/Folkman, “Old dogs might learn new tricks, but the process will work much better if it is started earlier.” Executives and managers who hone their emotionally intelligent communication, project management and leadership skills will see more productivity, less absenteeism, and more engaged employees in the 2013 workplace.
Trend #2 – Change is on the Horizon – Embrace It!
The one thing that is certain besides death and taxes – is change. What is the best way for leaders to initiate change? Get employees behind you to champion the change. Here’s how.
- Be transparent and communicate often. Keeping employees in the dark initiates rumor mongering, second guessing, and resistance to change.
- Acknowledge employees for their successes with non-monetary perks to build a cooperative workplace community. There is a big difference between a group of people who work in the same office and a team. Even though “we’re a team” is a great buzz word, compensation and rewards demonstrate what your culture promotes.
Trend #3 – Contract Workers and Freelance Consultants are on the Rise
This is good news for talented, under employed people and for small business owners. For skilled people with an entrepreneurial spirit and employees who are under employed, there is a wealth of opportunity. From web design, to business consulting, to IT support, to office support, to writing, to editing, to animation you can find very talented people moonlighting or contracting their services.
In 2013 and going forward, organizations employing both internal and external talent are positioned for success. Leaders seeking highly skilled outside advisors often exceed their leadership peers in goal achievement and profit.
The trend for this group of external coaches, consultants and freelance workers is toward securing recurringincome through projects and return work. For leaders looking to systemize operations, build a team culture that interfaces with all systems and improved lean processes, outsourcing the co-development to a specialized consultant as a turn-key for existing employees to eventually take over is already becoming competitive. Experts with track records are already filling their work schedules for the year.
What do consultants and contract workers bring to the table?
- A wealth of expertise and experience that would take a chunk of payroll to permanently hire.
- They are objective and not emotionally attached to “pet projects” or office politics.
- They report directly to the CFO, CEO, or COO or the entire executive team.
- They establish accountability for project deadlines.
- They offer proprietary resources not readily accessible to the organization.
- They save on health insurance and other defined benefit costs.
There are many places to find outside consultants and workers. Here is a list which is by no means complete, but a great place to start.
- Elance – a freelancer’s work for hire website. For small business owners, you can pick from a large pool of talented people offering a wide range of skills. I recently had the book cover to Engagement, Retention and Growth designed by a graphic artist from Madras, Oregon – a small rural central Oregon community — utilizing Elance. So Elance provides a stream of income for skilled contractors who live in small rural communities who would be otherwise highly under employed. As with any hiring transaction, do your due diligence before hiring some one to assure you achieve the level of professionalism and skills you need. Also, use a non-disclosure agreement for proprietary work.
- Linked In – a social media website designed for the business professional. If you haven’t already joined, there is a vast reservoir of knowledge and talent on this site. You can ask business connections and fellow group members for consultant referrals, follow trends, and reconnect with past business associates.
- Trusted websites with a proven track record for communities of interest – There are several websites that offer consultation services, resources for ongoing training, and networking options with like-minded peer — all in one place. Check industry sources for recommendations. I installed one in 2012 for team developers.
I also see a rise in buy-outs, mergers and business sales on the horizon for this year and years going forward. So, if this is something you have been contemplating for your business get your profit and loss statements up to snuff and work on increasing your profits.
Copyright TIGERS Success Series by Dianne Crampton
Dianne Crampton is the Founder of TIGERS Success Series, Inc. She is a recognized national leader in building successful, quality-focused and cooperative teams. She has been published by Barrett Koehler, Pfeiffer (an in print of John Wiley & Sons) and Three Creeks Publishing. She licenses consultants, trainers, and HR leaders to use TIGERS® proven team development and change management system in their organizations for measurable improvement.