Companies differ in how they manage the human resources aspects of their business. Traditionally, this function has been handled within the company by dedicated, permanent staff. However, many businesses are turning to outsource the HR aspects, allowing them to focus on other strategic matters instead.
The HR consultant can play a key role in ensuring that deliverables are met. If you are trying to establish your HR consulting business, the following information will show you what is involved and how to succeed.
What does a Human Resource Consultant do?
The human resources consultant is an external service provider who undertakes human resource functions for their clients. As such, the consultant is an entrepreneur running their own business. Some of the skills that they need are time management and the ability to work independently.
In addition, they must have good business management skills to manage their own companies. Marketing skills are also required as consultants have to bring in business. This works best when they can demonstrate the work that they have done for other companies, providing the assurance that they are competent to manage human resources for their clients.
They must remain aloof from internal office politics in their clients’ businesses and focus on the issues needing resolution so that they can arrive at effective solutions.
Among the many human resource aspects that the consultant may handle are recruitment, transfers and retrenchment, training and development, coaching, performance management systems, HR strategy, risk management, payroll, and the administration of benefits for employees.
Some human resources companies specialize in only a few of these aspects while others provide a generalized service. The choice of which consultant to hire depends on whether a business has a specific HR need or wants to outsource the entire function. For advice, contact G&A Partners, an HR consulting Denver service.
Should You Specialize or Generalize in HR?
Generalists who do not specialize in only one aspect of HR management are at an advantage as it is easier to find a fit with the needs of businesses out there. There may be less of a requirement for a company to outsource only one HR function, unless it is for an area where they are struggling, such as performance management or payroll.
However, the tendency is for businesses to outsource the full department to a suitable expert consultant. It is, therefore, a good idea to obtain experience in as many HR fields as possible.
That being said, there are still plenty of potential clients with unique needs that may match a specific consultant’s competencies and allow the firm to deepen its knowledge and experience in one or two arenas.
While generalists seem to have an edge, it is also true that a specialized HR consultant tends to become known more quickly for a dedicated focus. They must just ensure a big enough niche to keep generating new business.
Perhaps the best mixture is a blended approach with overall generalized skills and knowledge and specific competencies in one or two areas. This may mean bringing in additional staff with certain abilities to overcome a lack of experience in a needed sub-function.
Marketing the HR Consultancy
As with any other business, the entrepreneur who is an HR Consultant has to market themselves and their company. The most important requirement is to possess soft skills such as good written and verbal communication, presentation skills, strategic thinking, and the ability to interact well with all levels of employees and the employer. It has been shown that being likable is a good quality for securing business.
The second requirement is to have excellent, saleable skills. These are the hard skills and include aspects such as education and PC literacy. Obviously, a consultant must have acquired the correct qualifications to practice, so this goes beyond credentials and into the realm of choosing which aspects to package and how to present them. Ultimately, an HR practitioner is only as good as what they can deliver.
This leads to the third point. Potential clients will be impressed by the HR consultant’s resume if it shows actual deliverables. It is fine to talk well and get a foot in the door but, if this is going to lead to new business, it requires a track record of successful HR management, whether generalized or specialized.
Opportunities for Human Resource Consultants
In the USA, the demand for human resource consultants is growing. Firms are under pressure to become more profitable and focus on their core product or services. Thus, the need for HR consultancies is growing rapidly.
Finding opportunities starts with acknowledging that the HR consultant has special skills, knowledge, and training that companies need. The overheads from running an HR department internally are extensive and this is the first selling point when seeking business. Hiring an HR consultancy firm will reduce costs drastically and allow the company to focus its efforts on its fundamental business strategies.
Secondly, HR management takes up a lot of time and tends to pull line managers from their main jobs to attend to staffing issues. Outsourcing the entire function helps to streamline a company and prevent managers from being pulled from their key duties and deliverables.
Thirdly, the software has advanced, and HR consultants can leverage this trend to modernize their service offerings. Similarly, workforce analytics are being used for both short and long-term planning. These programs structure the process, making it more manageable and efficient. Employees expect HR procedures to flow smoothly when this function has been hired out and for information to be readily available.
Finally, customization is being demanded, rather than off-the-shelf systems. The HR systems need to integrate with other aspects of the clients’ businesses.
The HR consultant who has taken note of these evolving trends is in a strong position to grow their own business. There are numerous advantages to companies in outsourcing their HR functions. All that is needed is to make prospective clients aware of how the consultancy is in the best position to help them benefit.