Working with SMEs, or subject matter experts, can make or break an organization, especially one that is going through change, and especially in the professional services industry. B2B consultants and experts are mandatory in today’s world. Top tips on effectively hiring an SME include the following.
- Discover and Learn
This can be a great time to discover and learn more. Make sure you are always learning and taking each opportunity, regardless of whether it is a good one or bad, to learn something new and discover something. A good idea before hiring is making sure that you know everything there is to about your business and employees so that you can provide the SME with any information they may require.
Hire an SME who you admire and want to learn from. See how they deal with challenging scenarios and create a peaceful environment. All of this can not only be beneficial information to have overall, but it can also help you in the future when you are in similar circumstances. Be sure that when you are hiring an SME, you take the time to be sure that the SME you hire is someone whom you will want to learn from. It’s essential that they are setting an example and standard that you will want to follow, or else this can be a huge issue in the future.
- Hire someone you can trust
Sometimes when subject matter experts approach a situation, they are greeted with hostility and suspicion. This is understandable, considering that employees are concerned about job loss and other important decisions that will be made while the SME is present. However, before hiring an SME, it is crucial that it is made clear to all employees that the SME is not present to reflect how any employee is currently doing work wise. This can be difficult for employees to understand and tension can build, but they must focus on becoming a team with the SME and working together. Before hiring the SME, express how this will be an excellent learning experience for all employees and focus on the positives that the SME will do while involved with the business. Make sure before you proceed with hiring an SME, this is made very clear, so there is no hostility towards the SME when they arrive. If not done, this can not only make the SME’s job harder but yours as well. Employees will be less willing to cooperate as a team if they do not trust the SME.
- Observe your SME to learn from them
It is crucial that you observe everything that the SME does in order to maximize positive impact throughout the organization and institutionalize those learnings, bringing the knowledge ‘in-house’, so to speak. During collaboration, comment on their work and let them know what they can improve and what you like and what you don’t. The SME needs feedback, and it helps them to do a better job when they receive constructive criticism from you. It’s also an encouragement when they know you like what they are currently doing and what you think is benefiting the business. Overall, it will help the SME immensely if you observe carefully and then provide them with feedback. Once again, be sure that before hiring an SME you make sure they are someone whom you will benefit from observing. Be sure that you like what they do from the start, or else it may cause issues later on.
You want to make sure that you do not only have all the current and past information regarding your business, but you also know all the small details that will be important for the SME that they may not be aware of right away. It will help the SME be able to do their job better if they are aware of precisely what is currently happening at the business– including understanding who they will be collaborating with and what their role is. A RACI chart can serve as a great tool to help you and your organization be informed of your role, as well as the SME’s role, in whatever digital project you may hire an expert for.
When hiring an SME, sometimes the lines can get blurry as to exactly why the SME is present and what their role in the company is. Before hiring an SME be sure that all of your employees know what the SME is there for and precisely what role they will play in the company. Otherwise, it is easy for the position to get confused and employees to complicate why the SME is there. Sometimes it’s best to sit down with employees before the SME arrives and clearly distinguish what their role will be. Make sure everyone is aware of why the SME is coming, precisely what they will be doing, and precisely what choices they will be making while present. Although this can be tough to do, it will be worth it.
Overall, SMEs are highly necessary, and there are many ways to make sure that the relationship you maintain with them is a win-win for both parties involved. Using the above tips, you can create a relationship where you will both receive benefits. As said above, hiring an SME for your organization can either make or break it. We hope that when you use the tips above, it will make your organization. Because we truly believe that an SME can benefit your business in ways you never guessed if you take the right precautions when hiring one.