Making Consultants & Contractors part of the permanent team: focusing on talent rather than positions

Running a startup or small business can be a staffing challenge. You know there’s a need for expertise, but your budget may not allow it. In a more significant business or corporate office, you may think it’s a short-term goal to achieve, so hiring a temporary position or adding extra hours onto current staff will suffice. In both scenarios, this is clear; your organization is seeking the best expertise, knowledge, and talent. To achieve this ‘quick hire’ most organizations will simultaneously produce a pieced together position based on current needs and hope for the best, laying their expectations towards the day they can hire a full-time job. Often, that new, permanent staff member underperforms or doesn’t feel like the right fit. It is usually due to their coming in midway into the project or being selected based on previously wanted skills that have changed as the project moved forward.

Combining this with difficulty in finding individuals in today’s job market presents another hurdle. If we take a step back, let’s evaluate the current situation. Is your current team working well? Do you have external help, such as a consultant or contractor, that really contributes and moves the organization forward? Have you considered talking with them about creating a flexible long-term annual contract in their current capacity? Think about the benefits — minimal disruption in your team, expertise you currently lack on your staff, minimizing costs, and alignment with most short-term goals over the next one to three years. It is an opportunity to take advantage and truly get your product launched and to market with minimal disruption.

Moving that full-time hire to a long-term goal, four to seven years out, allows your company to grow, achieve, and evaluate who you need rather than what you guessed would work. The value of having a focused position with accurate details of responsibilities and expectations is also a much better recruitment tool. Time and success can be of great importance to you in attracting top talent. Many startups rely on this method out of necessity and find the benefits in creating powerful, dynamic teams that can morph and change as their goals move forward. With proper perspective and clear expectations, including NDA’s, contract policies, and obligations, your knowledge base can increase and provide access to top talent.

Think about WHY you hired a consultant or contractor.

A bonus to benefit both parties lies in agreeing on recognizing top talent that is linked to your project, bringing exposure to a new audience about your organization.

Remember what is key to the success of your project and creating a competitive niche:

  • Understanding current and future staffing need to plan for both short and long-term goals.
  • Allow time to learn how flexible staffing will assist in moving your project forward.
  • Think about WHY you hired a consultant or contractor, acknowledging their talent and expertise that attracted their selection and how it now contributes to your success.
  • Look at the benefits of cost savings, recruiting top talent, and creating solid and foundational positions for the long run.
  • Most importantly, look around that virtual table and take advantage of the talent you’ve already come to rely on daily!

Today’s workforce has gone through a rapid transition, and those who embrace the opportunity to gain access to the world’s best talent in new and flexible ways will see new levels of success in their efforts.

~ Sher Downing, Ph.D., is an EdTech Strategist who welcomes ideas and topics for future newsletters. Connect and message through LI or email directly at

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Sher Downing is an Edtech consultant & professional coach, host of the podcast EdTech Speaks and founder of The Speakers Resource Group.

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Sher Downing, PhD

Sher Downing, PhD

Sher Downing is an Edtech consultant & professional coach, host of the podcast EdTech Speaks and founder of The Speakers Resource Group.

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