In the business world, there is a newfound focus on employee satisfaction, thanks to millennials and their need to be mentored and monitored in the industries they find themselves in. Linked to this is performance management and the ever-increasing need for companies to develop their performance management system.
Human resources and business managers can only do so much from their departments. And, besides, every company needs an outside, objective analysis every now and then. And that’s where you, as a performance improvement consultant, would come in and save the day.
Wait, a what consultant?
A performance improvement consultant is somebody who is hired by a company to assess the current performance state of all aspects of the business’ operations and comes up with new practices the company can implement in order to be more effective.
The job description is in the title: performance improvement. Your job is to make businesses better and to help them cope with change when it seems overwhelming. You need to help them adapt and confirm their value to a business by offering managers your advice and performance improvement processes.
Assess if you have what it takes
You need to have the right kind of personality in order to do this job. As it is with many jobs, it’s more difficult to do the job than study for it and there’s only so much your studies can prepare you for the actual thing. You may find you’re interested in the performance management training course outline, but once you’re in the position where you need to make the right performance management principle call for a business who has hired you for the task, you may find you aren’t, actually, suited for it at all.
People skills: In this consultancy job, you’re going to be working with entire companies from the managers, down to the interns. You need to be approachable and someone who can easily communicate and comfortably interact with people. You’ll need to gain people’s trust so that they are more willing to implement and go along with your performance management proposals.
Observant: As you will be required to tailor performance improvement methods to specific companies and possibly even further specify to their departments, you need to be observant and pay great attention to detail. Company culture and everyday office operations will give you the insight you need to create a performance improvement plan for a business. You will need to take note of what office procedures can be improved for better efficiency and what it is the employees need in order to be more productive.
Assertive: After the initial pitch and analysis, there will come a time when you need to implement your performance improvement techniques. You can expect hesitation and possibly even rebellion but, in those moments, you need to be assertive. You need to encourage the company to commit to a dedicated trial period, after which, they likely won’t revert back to their old ways. It will be difficult to keep them to their word, but it’s your job to make sure it happens.
Patient: There’s a good chance you will be dealing with difficult clients and with the need to be assertive, there's a need to have patience with the people you are working for and working with.
Get the necessary qualifications
The next step to becoming a performance improvement consultant is to get the necessary qualifications. There are a few courses you can do that will prepare you for this job. One of which is a performance management course which covers performance management strategies and handles common issues.
Other courses or degrees you can consider are human resources, basic or industrial psychology, business management and mentoring or business coaching courses. At the end of the day, you will build your consultancy skills by experience and it will come down to how well you gel with the company who has hired you. Those managers will define what qualifications are adequate, all you need to prove to them is that you are able to do your job and make the necessary improvements in their business.
Open a consultancy business
And the last thing you need to do is open a consultancy business and come up with a name that you can work under. Consultancy businesses are one of the most affordable businesses to start up and run (especially if you’re working on your own). You’re your own boss, you’re making use of your own skills and no expensive equipment, you choose the companies you work with and you set your own goals.
By opening a business, it will elevate your position from “freelancer” to “professional consultant” and you’ll be able to manage business finances from a business account.