The Benefits of Using Freelance Consultants / Trainers for Your Project


What are the benefits of using a Freelance Consultant / Trainer for your next project?

Companies are often wary of employing freelance trainers when setting up a new project or contemplating a 'roll out' operation or 'change' scenario. There are however distinct advantages to using freelance as against permanent resources, and some of these are outlined as follows.

1. Financial
Although the initial costs (hourly/daily rate) of freelance trainers may seem expensive, this has to be set against the fact that there are no costs of in house benefit packages, no pensions commitment, no payment for holidays or sick time etc. Also, the cost is fixed, purely for the term of the contract, and can be budgeted into the overall project. Once the project (and contract) are completed, there are no ongoing employment costs or costs of redundancy etc.

2. Skills
Often a client does not have the requisite expert skills in house that are required to produce training quickly and effectively for a new project or roll out. It is often more cost effective to employ a freelancer who has these skills, than waiting for existing employees to gain sufficient depth of knowledge and expertise.

However, as part of the freelance contract, the client should arrange that the freelancer transfer those skills required to permanent employees for ongoing maintenance of the project after the contract has finished.

3. Focus on the project
Permanent employees often have their own personal priorities. They are concerned with day to day 'office politics', enhancing their career and promotion prospects etc. Combine this with time spent on company activities, such as meetings etc. and in most companies the actual applied working time of the average employee is only about 50% of their time at work.

Freelance workers have no interest in company politics, career chasing, internal meetings etc. and tend to focus 100% on the project they are working on. The freelancer has a fixed deadline, i.e. the end date of the contract and will normally always ensure that the work is completed to the project milestones.

4. Commitment
A freelancer is only as good as their last project. They tend to gain employment mostly by referral and it is in their interest therefore, to always do as good a job as possible on each project. There is no advantage to the freelancer in spinning out the project unnecessarily, as this would reflect on future opportunities.

This means that you tend to get 100% commitment throughout the project, as a freelancer will tend to avoid all distractions and try to complete the project ahead of milestones where possible. After all, there is normally no 'overtime' pay for the freelancer and therefore no advantage in making the work last any longer than necessary.

5. Project planning
Normally, a freelancer will commit to a project without provision for vacations or other time off. This makes it easier when setting up project plans and milestones, as the potential of employees requesting time off does not have to be factored into the project plans.

6. Desire to work
The freelancer does not have the comfort zone of permanent employment and is hungry to work.

Their motivation is normally extremely high and does not require any external stimulation, as is often the case with long-term permanent employees.

7. Up to Date Skills/Qualifications
The freelance trainer has to compete in a constantly changing marketplace for contracts of varying requirements. For this reason they tend to constantly update their skills and certifications to attract work from customers. You will often find that freelance trainers have one or more of the following qualifications - IITT, CIPD, ITOL, ISMA or ECDL as well as accreditations from relevant vendors, and they are constantly updating them in order to secure contracts. This gives you recognised quality that you have not had to finance.

8. Work force motivational factors
Using an external expert consultant can demonstrate to your work force that the company is committed to adding value to their personal development. Using internal staff does not always create the same feeling that the company is willing to spend to increase employee skills.

Using an external consultant can provide more freedom of expression and opinion by delegates during the training sessions. Your delegates will feel less constrained by internal company politics and restrictions when discussing things with an external consultant, who they do not perceive as part of the 'company machine'. This can lead to much more open discussion and participation by delegates, which can greatly enhance the effectiveness of the training.

9. Wide ranging experience and fresh ideas
Invariably freelance consultants, by the very nature of their work, will have worked across a wide and varied cross section of industries and organisations, in both the private and public sectors. They can provide valuable 'real world' experience and ideas that your staff may not have knowledge of, due to having to focus on their normal day-to-day occupations. This can be invaluable during times of change and can promote a sense of 'thinking outside of the box' by delegates and staff that they have contact with.

Summary
So, if you are considering a new project, roll out or change scenario, think carefully about how it will be resourced. In many cases, you will find the best solution is to use freelance resources to complement your existing workforce.

Acknowledgements
Adapted from an original article by John Roberts, Director of JayrConsulting Ltd. ( www.jayrconsulting.co.uk ) and modified after valuable input and critique by co-members of TrainerBase (www.trainerbase.co.uk). This article may be freely reproduced / modified and used in any way, providing this acknowledgement is left in its entirety.

John Roberts is a Freelance Training Consultant and Director of jayrConsulting Ltd. http://www.jayrconsulting.co.uk John is an active member of TrainerBase http://www.trainerbase.co.uk and welcomes discussion on all aspects of training, learning and business development. John has delivered training events for various blue chip companies in UK, USA, India, France, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, China, Phillipines, Nepal, Brazil, Antigua, Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Panama, Belgium, Holland etc. etc - Comment "I hate Airports!"


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