When you make the decision to invest in EHS or sustainability consulting services, the stakes are high. In this piece, we share how you can get the most out of your consulting partnership.
When you make the decision to invest in environment, health, and safety (EHS) or sustainability consulting services, the stakes are high. You have specific challenges to address and opportunities to harness—and you not only want the work done right and within budget, but also in a way that helps you reach your goals and drives meaningful business value.
Over the last few decades, we’ve had the privilege of working on thousands of projects with businesses and brands that span the industry spectrum. Recently, we asked some of our most seasoned EHS experts and sustainability consultants to share their insights on how you can and should get the most out of your partnership with a consulting firm.
Tips to Help You Make the Most of Your EHS or Sustainability Partnership
1. Set clear expectations from the start
Launching a new initiative or getting a stalled project to the finish line. Taking proactive action on an opportunity or reacting to a time-sensitive issue. Regardless of your project, you have specific needs and expectations for getting the work done—and your consultant needs to be in the know and on board.
“There’s really no one-size-fits-all approach to any project,” Senior Project Manager Tina Cox shares. “So, to ensure we offer the right kind and level of service, we typically hold an initial kick-off conversation to dig deep into the needs and expectations. Then we outline key deliverables and services in a proposal and go over them in detail with the client to make sure everyone is in agreement.”
Some of the key items you should be discussing with your consultant from the start include: the specific knowledge or expertise you’re looking for, budget, timeline, key deliverables, and your preferred communication method and cadence.
2. Ask all the questions you want
As it’s often said, there are no stupid questions. When you work with a consultant, you’re making an investment and putting your trust in their hands. So, don’t be afraid to get the information or clarity you need to ensure you’re making the right choice.
“Ask about our process. Ask about our past work. Ask about the results we’ve driven. Ask for client references,” EHS Consultant Alizabeth Smith says. “We want you to feel comfortable, knowledgeable, and confident.”
3. Give honest feedback throughout the process
Consulting firms thrive on client feedback. Your feedback helps ensure you’re getting what you need, when you need it—and also helps us continually refine how we deliver the best possible service.
“Let us know if you’re happy with how things are going—and speak up if we’re missing the mark or you need us to do something more,” Laura Nelson, Sustainability Consultant and our Corporate Reporting & Disclosure Solution Leader, says. “You hire us to be your partner and you should never be afraid to be honest. We’re in this for the client experience—and when you’re happy, we’re happy.”
4. Know your service options
As Tina said, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to every EHS or sustainability project. Your company, industry, and service needs are unique—and these variables can change over time. So, be open to asking and hearing about all your service options.
“I always let my clients know about our full spectrum of services, as well as our global footprint and network of local experts, from the beginning,” Consultant Peter Masson shares. “Compliance requirements change. Internal teams change. Priorities change. And challenges and opportunities change. So, it’s important to know all your service options so you can easily tap your consultant and move quickly on high-impact or high-priority projects.”
5. View your consulting team as a strategic partner, not a service vendor
Regardless of project size or scope, it’s undoubtedly connected to many other areas of your overall strategy and the business-at-large. As a result, you want someone you can integrate with—someone who can be an extension of your team.
“Vendors are often seen as contractors or providers of service. Partners, however, are collaborators,” says Hilton Lucio, CEO of Antea Group Brasil. “When you view your consulting firm as a strategic partner, you allow us to step in and share the strategic burden and vision—which helps streamline projects and often leads to better results.”
Get the Most Out of Your EHS or Sustainability Consulting Partnership
When you partner with a sustainability or EHS consultant, you’re not only investing time and money, but also trust.
Hold your consulting team accountable by setting clear expectations from the start. In addition, ask questions and give feedback throughout the process to ensure you have the clarity and action you need. Finally, know your consulting firm’s offerings and embrace them as a strategic partner to drive better results.
What kind of service and partnership can Antea Group offer you? Take a peek at our massive collection of EHS and sustainability case studies to learn how we’ve helped a range of other clients.
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