A consultant will be studying our department in a few weeks and we’re all very nervous, especially me! Her role will be to find efficiencies and will be preparing a report for senior management. How can I prepare for her visit?
It is not surprising you and your colleagues are feeling nervous; after all, if the consultant will be doing her job – and earning her fee – she will almost certainly be making significant recommendations.
Suspense will always raise the level of anxiousness. You are already imagining scenarios and extreme possibilities and so you are speculating based on what you envision could happen.
Perhaps you are discussing her anticipated visit with colleagues. They are probably beginning sentences with, “What if?” which is adding to the angst.
It is not management’s intention to upset you, but they are also aware that the announcement to appoint a consultant will create a mood of uncertainty which will be only resolved when the report is completed and implemented.
If there is a printed memo from management on the matter, take the time to review the parameters to appreciate the role of the consultant. You may discover that the implications are not as alarming as you first thought.
Also, attempt to appreciate her mandate: is it strictly a matter of down-sizing to save money, or are there other dimensions that you and your co-workers could address without threatening job security?
I am presuming your office is not unionized. Possible lay-offs – which would be your primary fear – would therefore not be guided by seniority provisions. On the other hand, more valuable and enterprising employees could be retained should some lay-offs be recommended.
Remember, too, that the consultant is a professional with experience in conducting these kinds of studies. She will not have a hidden agenda but will be following clear guidelines set by the management of your company.
Now would be the ideal time to evaluate your current duties in light of your job description. Be honest with yourself: am I successfully fulfilling the responsibilities prescribed?
You probably already have a good work ethic but if you are aware of some possible inefficiencies or chronic time-wasters, immediately take steps to correct this behavior.
The consultant will probably want to review employee evaluations. HR will have provided you with copies: locate these documents and review the content in light of any possible concerns such as potential duplications of responsibility.
While you can’t avoid a sense of apprehension concerning the impending arrival of the consultant, I would recommend you focus on your responsibilities and avoid negative conversations with co-workers.
By all means, prepare as much as possible, but have confidence in your value to the company and trust that you will be treated fairly by the consultant.
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