Working with a new company brings many new opportunities as well as questions about what to expect. Acknowledging this, we want our consultants to be comfortable and informed about the way we operate, which is why we’ve provided the FAQ below. We hope that this information provides clarity and sheds light on our approach to working with consultants such as you.
Should you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the ISG Associate you’ve been working with.
Why does ISG engage external consultants?
ISG improves the performance of International Development and Humanitarian Aid actors such as NGOs, International Organizations, Governments, UN Agencies and Companies. Our work enhances programming and improves organizational structures. As a small consulting firm, ISG doesn’t always have the in-house capacity to meet the requirements of assignments for which we bid. We understand that there’s a wealth of talent, ability, and experience available in the global pool of professionals within the world of International Development and Humanitarian Aid. We strive to act as a conduit for this expertise, linking it to the needs of organizations worldwide. To ensure we have the absolute best mix of technical skills and experience required to successfully complete each assignment, ISG works with a broad range of consultants with diverse backgrounds, skillsets, and types and levels of experience. We truly value the relationships we form with our consultants. Above all, we aim to build lasting and mutually beneficial relationships that culminate in high-quality results for our clients.
What do you look for in an ISG consultant?
For all ISG consultant candidates, we seek advanced analytical and problem-solving skills, very strong interpersonal and communication skills, exceptional team-building abilities, research and writing skills, maturity, creativity, dedication to an exceptional standard of work, flexibility, and respect for diversity. Most of our consultants will need to be willing to travel to the countries in which the assignments are located, sometimes experiencing challenging conditions in the field, including the need for elevated security precautions in potentially insecure environments. Additionally, we seek individual candidates with a range of specific technical skills and experience, depending on the assignments for which we bid, including subject-matter expertise, regional or national expertise, or knowledge of the client organization.
What is ISG’s contracting process for consultants?
On preparation for a bid, which can comprise a simple initial Expression of Interest (EoI), through to a full and detailed project proposal, we preselect a team of consultants who we feel represents the best mix of skills and experience. At this stage, we’ll share the assignment details (as provided by the client) with our proposed team members and ensure their availability for the assignment. If a more detailed proposal is being prepared, we may request input from some or all of the team members to help us ensure a winning bid. After we’ve been selected for an assignment, we notify all consultants and provide each with an Independent Contractor Agreement. As the project progresses, we issue individual Task Orders to each consultant that detail required time commitments, deliverables, compensation terms, and payment protocol. It’s common for external consultants to receive multiple Task Orders during one assignment. This ensures that ISG allots sufficient days to each activity, the project stays on task and on budget, and our consultant team won’t have to wait until completion of the entire assignment to receive payment.
If I contribute to the proposal development process, will my assistance be compensated?
In order to allow you the opportunity to provide input and feedback prior to submission, we aim to engage our consultants in the proposal development process. This is typically to ensure we have your specific technical input and review to maximize our chance of winning the bid, and also to help familiarize you with the assignment objectives, methodology and deliverables. Unless otherwise agreed we don’t compensate for this contribution, regardless of whether or not ISG is awarded the opportunity.
Does ISG require a commitment letter from consultants prior to proposal submission?
Unless specifically required by the potential client, we don’t require a letter of commitment. When we engage a consultant on a proposal, we assume the relationship is exclusive for each individual opportunity. ISG trusts you will be forthcoming if you’re going to be included on another bid for the same assignment. This is an important consideration for both ISG and our clients.
How do I know my expected level of effort for an assignment as an external consultant?
While we can approximate the level of effort expected from each external consultant when developing the proposal and budget, this is solely an approximation and will be adjusted as necessary after initial conversations with the client at the onset of the assignment. Our consultant remuneration is a significant proportion of our proposal budgets, and we’re keen to be as competitive in our bids as we can, so we seek to be as efficient and accurate as possible in our estimates of levels of effort.
How much travel is required?
A position with ISG typically involves a combination of field work and desk work (either desk review of documentation, preparation of tools or technical material, analysis of data and/or report writing). However, the precise mix of these depends entirely on the nature of the assignment, the demands of the client and the division of responsibilities amongst our team members. At the proposal preparation stage, ISG will propose draft schedules of any travel required, and this will be further developed and finalized with the client during the inception of the assignment. However, we understand how consultants often need to manage competing demands on their time and will make every effort to be flexible with our team members regarding the correct mix and precise timings of travel and home-based work.
Does ISG supply me with equipment, email, business cards, etc.?
ISG has a “BYOT” (Bring Your Own Technology) model for all staff and consultants. This allows people the flexibility to use the technology they most prefer. This includes the use of your personal computer (all consultants who travel for ISG will be expected to bring their own laptop), mobile phone for communication with staff and clients. To ensure fast, efficient and comprehensive communications and information-sharing, we use a number of online technologies such as Skype and Dropbox with our consultants and clients. If you’re not familiar with the specific technology tools we use on our assignments, we’ll be happy to provide you with familiarization and assist you in setting them up. As you’re an independent consultant, we don’t supply ISG email addresses or business cards.
What kind of support will I receive on assignments?
As a valued team member, we’ll do everything within our power to ensure your assignments go as smoothly as possible. We have a small team of back-office staff and senior ISG management who are available to assist you with practical and logistical arrangements (such as travel arrangements), overall technical input into preparations and implementation of the assignment itself, maintaining relationships with the client’s representatives to ensure all is going to plan, and with administrative support (such as data entry, proofreading/editing, graphic design). This will help you to focus on your core tasks, and provide a level of depth to the work we do for our clients that adds to the value we provide.
What does ISG consider a “workday”?
We consider one workday to be eight hours of work. However, we know that our consultants lead busy lives, so we’re happy that consultants can work their own hours, with the understanding that ISG’s regular work hours are – 8:30am – 5pm; Monday through Friday. We understand, however, that different work schedules place different demands on work timetables, and that different parts of the world (the Middle East, for example) follow different schedules, so we are always flexible in our approach to individual circumstances.
What is ISG’s payment schedule and processing protocol?
The payment schedule varies from project to project and is usually based upon the acceptance and approval of project deliverables by the client. Payment terms will be defined within your Task Order (discussed above), as payments to consultants normally coincide with the end of a Task Order. Payments are typically made within 30 days of approval of invoices and documentation associated with a given Task Order submitted to ISG.
In what currency does ISG provide compensation and what does my “daily rate” include?
We provide compensation in USD unless otherwise discussed. Your daily rate is solely compensation for your eight hours of work. Associated travel costs including lodging and food are budgeted and paid for separately.
As an external contractor for ISG, will I be paid for my travel days?
In order to remain financially competitive, ISG does not provide remuneration for travel days except in rare cases. We do however cover subsistence costs (which include transportation to and from the agreed home of record and travel meals).
What travel costs will ISG cover related to field visits?
With each field visit, ISG budgets for per diem which includes accommodation and subsistence costs. ISG is also responsible for covering economy-class airfare and other related travel. Per diem and/or subsistence costs can vary depending on the policies and procedures of our clients.
Will ISG upgrade consultants to business class for extended duration flights?
ISG does not provide business-class tickets for flights of longer duration. If you prefer, we can reimburse you for the cost of an economy ticket, and you can cover extra expenses related to the upgrade.
Does ISG provide for insurance and visas while traveling for an assignment?
ISG covers any visa related costs for consultant travel. ISG maintains required insurances for work with our clients. Addition insurance for specific consultants and assignments is considered on a case by case basis.
Can I undertake follow-up work with a client after completion of my assignment?
Typically, ISG enters into an exclusivity agreement with its consultants regarding assignments completed with a particular client. This means that, for a new client, you will not engage in follow-on activities or work with a client that are directly related to the work you performed on during your contract with ISG a period of one year after completion of your assignment. If you identify an opportunity with a client for additional work, we will be delighted to discuss preparing an ISG bid for the opportunity including you as a proposed team member.
What about new opportunities?
As an independent consulting firm, we’re always keen to identify new opportunities for work with clients and with consultants. Should you identify a potential consulting opportunity we will be happy to assess it and discuss possible collaboration with you. If you know of a strong potential candidate for a specific consulting assignment (or even someone we might like to work with in the future), we’d be delighted if you could connect us.