Did your company just institute a hiring freeze? Concerned that a staffing crunch will stall crucial projects – or grind them to a halt? For busy corporate communications teams, few things elicit more frustration and fear. But worry not, there are ways to minimize any headaches. One way that leaders can creatively overcome hiring freeze hurdles and meet their staffing and workload needs is by hiring consultants. This is a savvy strategy because, in many cases, these specialized professionals can be engaged through a separate budgeting bucket.
If your staffing resources are suddenly limited but your department has big projects in motion with many more coming up, read this post for tips on how to bring in corporate communications consultants – and the many ways they can help you and your team. The process of hiring consultants vs. hiring employees
A hiring freeze means you can’t hire new full-time employees. It does not necessarily mean you can’t tap on-demand non-employees.
Corporate communications leaders can sometimes use a portion of their operations budget to hire fractional consultants as a workaround. The operations budget typically functions as the financial backbone of a department or overall organization, serving as a vital resource to sustain day-to-day work and generally ensure smooth operations. In the midst of a hiring freeze, however, leaders might be able to reallocate discretionary parts of this budget to bring aboard consultants to keep the quality and quantity of departmental output high.
A leader might also be able to use existing project-specific budgets to have a specialized consultant handle a particular key initiative, such as managing a company newsletter or overseeing an intranet content migration. By using funds from an existing project budget you can invite a consultant in to lend their expertise and ensure that a high-priority initiative is still successfully completed on time.
Another option is to see if you can secure funds from a training and development budget to hire consultants to upskill your team members. These budgets are often flexible as long as the money is used to boost the capabilities of your employees. A consultant with significant experience in running open-enrollment communications, for instance, could come in and help set up and manage the program while transferring their vast knowledge in that area to existing team members. The insights and ideas can leave a lasting impact, empowering your employees to significantly broaden their abilities.
And if there are concerns about the optics of bringing in another person during a hiring freeze, note that some managers ask consultants to execute more behind-the-scenes work.
More ways that tapping consultants benefits your whole team
A hiring freeze can reduce a team’s productivity, and it can also lead to drops in employee morale. When there’s mountains of work to tackle and the core team is stretched paper-thin, staffing problems can mount. The quality of deliverables can suffer, deadlines get missed, negativity may breed. Even worse, overworked employees, particularly those who prize work-life balance, can become flight risks. Should an employee voluntarily depart during a hiring freeze, managers may be left with yet another hole they can’t fill.
This is another reason why bringing in consultants early on during a hiring freeze can be so beneficial. They can keep projects moving and help buffer the impact of workload spikes, all while helping you to keep your team fresh, focused – and committed to your organization.
A final word on getting fast help during a hiring freeze
Skilled fractional consultants can offer a flexible and scalable solution at any point, but they’re especially valuable during staffing struggles. They enable you to overcome complex challenges and avoid costly bottlenecks without the need for any long-term commitments.
And they get to work quickly.
Unlike traditional hiring processes that can take weeks or months to complete, consultants can be onboarded very quickly. They are accustomed to hitting the ground running and can seamlessly integrate into your team, allowing for immediate productivity. Their understanding of corporate communications departments and experience in navigating a wide range of work environments makes them invaluable assets, particularly when time is of the essence.
Hiring freezes are not fun. There’s no question about that. But with the help of consultants, you can maneuver past resource constraints, maintain high levels of productivity and even elevate your team’s work. About Evo Communications
Evo Communications knows that strategic communications has the power to drive business results. That’s why we help you fill your temporary communications roles with highly qualified professionals who can onboard themselves and get to work right away!
We are a certified woman-owned virtual agency of independent corporate communicators. We work alone, in pairs or in curated teams to meet the specific needs of our clients. With foundations in Fortune 500 companies, we leverage our collective strengths to meet your needs, acting as a seamless extension of your team.
From supporting your entire corporate communications function, focusing on one specific area of need, and adding temporary bandwidth to your team, the Evo team is motivated to offer innovative solutions that drive results.