Tips for Team Building When Your Team Includes Consultants and Interim Staff

Effective team building can enhance employee camaraderie, collaboration and productivity. When your employees trust each other and are comfortable working together to achieve key objectives, there are fewer barriers to success. But what happens when your team leans heavily on project consultants or interim staff?

This is a question for many organizations today. A Robert Half Management Resources survey of more than 900 chief financial officers (CFOs) found 57 percent have plans to hire consultants or interim employees for finance and accounting initiatives this year.

Team building may be a challenge for some firms. But the following tips can help teams with consultants and interim staff thrive:

Make it clear how everyone’s role fits into the big picture

Clearly communicating the company’s business goals, and how employees can specifically help to achieve them, is an essential element of team building. When everyone has an opportunity to contribute to business objectives, there is less likely to be a gap in communication between managers and employees

However, research shows many managers struggle with this responsibility. In fact, roughly one-third of CFOs in a separate Robert Half Management Resources survey reported that their employees are not fully aware of their firm’s strategic objectives. So, before any project commences, take care to explain the work’s purpose and the desired end results to all employees involved; be sure to keep everyone apprised of progress toward those goals, too.

Encourage equal participation and input

Successful collaboration is a fundamental element of any team project, so it’s important to make interim staff members feel welcome and help them establish a comfortable role within the group. Managers’ ability to encourage equal participation and input is one of the most effective ways to get a team of professionals feeling comfortable working together in any capacity. And the last thing you want is for the interim staff you engage to feel left out or believe their work is not valued.

Emphasize the need for adaptability

While team building is not an overnight process, simply adjusting your management approach can help a team comprised partly of interim employees to build camaraderie quickly and work productively. For example, an article from American Express OPEN Forum suggested that practicing simple, hypothetical survival scenarios is a great way for managers to encourage their teams to build both trust and flexibility. These exercises are designed to encourage active planning and adaptability, both of which will come in handy when some staff members are with the organization for a finite period.

Learn how interim staff like project consultants can turn your business problems into wins in this Robert Half Management Resources blog post featuring three real-world case studies.

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