At Business Talent Group (BTG), we’ve seen the rise of high-end independent talent power a new path to organizational agility and performance. We’ve also seen companies stumble while trying to make the most of this formidable resource. In this series, we’ll share best practices that we’ve honed across 10+ years of work with F1000 companies—and help business leaders unlock the real promise of on-demand talent.
When a project wraps up, its mission lives on. It’s up to you—and your team—to determine how to build upon the success you’ve achieved.
Ideally, you and your independent consultants have been working throughout the project to define what happens next. If not, don’t be shy about tacking on a few extra days to get it right.
You might also take advantage of the flexibility that independents offer and redefine their roles to support your team moving forward. Could one or more consultants stay on as part-time advisors to address any questions that come up? Could they come back at a later date to support project execution? Discuss these options with your consultants to find a mutually beneficial arrangement.
Exit interviews: Getting smarter in the future
You can’t support your team without supporting the resources they use. That’s why it’s important to develop a formal offboarding process for departing independents. This is a great way to uncover opportunities for improvement, and it should go beyond making sure they’ve turned in their devices and handed off access credentials. Like an exit interview, your independent offboarding process should give consultants a chance to offer feedback on the project, your process, and your company.
Ask questions like:
Were you given clear goals and objectives?
If you don’t define the mission, you’ll never know whether or not your engagement was a success—or be able to troubleshoot what went wrong.
Did you have what you needed to succeed?
Consultants rely on you for the things they need to do their work, from access to data and systems to time with project stakeholders. Make sure your organization is set up to maximize the value they are able to deliver.
Did you feel like you were able to make an impact?
By the end of an engagement, your consultants should be able to give you a succint, persuasive statement of the ROI they’ve delivered. They may also have a clear-eyed perspective on improvements you should make to internal processes.
What can we do to make the best use of your work going forward?
The breadth of experience top freelancers have often gives them a good view of the best way forward, whether it’s effective execution methods for a strategy or further analysis that would help you refine a promising idea.
Would you recommend our company to other independent consultants?
If you want to attract top freelancers, it helps to get an honest perspective on why people would—or wouldn’t—recommend you to their colleagues.
A strong close to a project helps set the stage for next steps, and the transparency it provides allows everyone to take ownership of improvements next time.
Leah Hoffmann is BTG's Marketing & Content Strategist. A former journalist, Leah worked for Forbes.com and The Economist before joining BTG. She is passionate about clear thinking, sharp writing, and strong points of view.