Posted by Lisa Montagna on Thursday, October 30, 2014 - 00:00
Companies know they can count on financial consultants to bring their “A” game while their assignment is in progress, but what happens to all that expertise when the project ends? How can companies guarantee a consultant leaves a legacy of knowledge behind?
Below are four strategies businesses can use.
1. Keep the lines of communication with top performers open.
Be sure high-potential succession candidates throughout your organization enjoy consistent and frequent communication with your consultant. Identify staff who have worked hard to motivate and inspire their colleagues and kept important initiatives on track. These are the people who will absorb the most from this opportunity to glean knowledge from the project professional.
2. Establish a mentoring program.
Consultants are experts in their field, and chances are early in their careers they had a mentor and are likely to be more than happy to pay it forward. A mentoring program, whether formal or informal, is a valuable way to transfer critical knowledge and promote best practices.
Be strategic about the staff members you include in mentorships, and specify what you want them to take away from the arrangement. For example, an up-and-coming financial executive could learn what it takes to lead the finance function from an interim CFO. Business systems analysts can gain cutting-edge insights from a consultant with proficiency in multiple systems.
3. Schedule feedback sessions.
Clear milestones should be set for your team members assigned to work with or be mentored by your consultant. Make a point to meet regularly with the consultant and your full-time employees to be certain these goals are met. These progress check-ins will give you greater confidence the intellectual capital the project professional brings to your organization will remain with your team long after the assignment comes to a close.
4. Set up an information download.
As the engagement nears its end, ask the consultant to share the key learnings with your staff. Another good strategy is to invite the consultant to train employees on the subject matter. If, for instance, you worked with the project professional to implement a new ERP system, he or she could provide insights about the system and help staff members get up to speed on it.