By Erin Perdu, Director of Community Planning & Economic Development, WSB
Preparing for and planning staffing support and resources at the local level is crucial to ensuring that the needs of the community are met, and statutory timelines adhered to. Sometimes, internal team members do not have the capacity to handle all the workload. Busy seasons, staff turnover, leaves of absence and unexpected challenges or needs arise that can throw a wrench in original staff and workload plans. In these instances, a consulting partner can be helpful to maintaining a high level of service while staying within budget and resource constraints. Here are four reasons to consider a professional consultant to help augment your staff’s capacity:
Unlike a full-time staffer, a consultant can be there for you as much or as little as you need. This gives you the ability to scale the level of service depending on your busy times or when your staff are unavailable. A consulting team can quickly adapt to your workload.
Consultants offer many different pricing structures that can range from stable monthly retainers to on-call hourly services. One of the strengths of a consulting partner is the range of expertise levels. Matching expertise with the level of skill needed allows for flexibility in budgets. In addition, an outside consultant can also present other options for partners or creative resources that weren’t initially considered.
A team approach means that you have access to the expertise and resources of an entire consulting firm when issues or challenges arise. When partnerships are formed between public and private entities, you are hiring a team and not just an individual. There is always someone with the necessary experience when a question needs an answer, a problem needs to be solved or an application needs to be completed.
With a consultant comes a deep bench of expertise. When someone isn’t available, you can rest assured that there is always someone available to attend meetings, field questions and review information in the event of a vacation or illness.
People often associate consultants with unnecessary expenses, but there are many cost-effective and creative ways that a consultant can actually reduce costs and help stretch budgets.
Erin is a community planner and project manager with 22 years of professional planning experience in both the public and private sectors. She has worked as a staff planner and Community Development Director for multiple municipalities.
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