How HR consultants can help your business
A HR consultant can provide tailored and specific HR information, covering topics such as recruitment, disciplinary issues, payroll and benefits, health and safety and the law.
HR consultants have valuable experience and expertise that you can call upon when it’s needed.
Consultants are not necessarily there to do your work for you, though many will take on tasks that you’re outsourcing. Instead, they are primarily available to equip you with everything that you need to do the work in-house.
Here are the main ways that HR consultants can help your business:
The HR consultant can provide an outside perspective
Can’t see the wood for the trees? Sometimes, you’ll be so wrapped up in the day-to-day running of your business that you won’t see the obvious solution. A fresh pair of eyes, in the form of a HR consultant, could help you to pick up on the things that you’re missing.
If you are too close to business processes, it can be almost impossible to see how they might be ineffective or inefficient. Your HR consultant could be able to identify issues that you may not be aware of.
Your emotions, and interpersonal relationships, can also cloud your judgment. Everyone within the company, from a Managing Director right down to the bottom of the hierarchy, will have a vested interest in the business. Opinions can be influenced by workplace friendships and personal experiences, which means that decision-making can be particularly hard.
An external HR consultant comes in with a fresh, objective and untarnished perspective. They are not joining your business permanently, nor do they have an interest in making friends. They can see past the things that block your view. The outside perspective is valuable, helping you to find the right route with the head rather than the heart.
The HR consultant can provide general or specialist knowledge
If you need help with a number of aspects of HR management, then a general HR consultant can provide broad and varied knowledge. This might be particularly beneficial if your business is relatively new, and you don’t yet have the knowledge (or in-house team) to deal with HR tasks.
Alternatively, specialist HR consultants may be the better option for more in-depth issues. You might hire a consultant to get you through a certain stage of business management, such as a round of redundancies, or to help you to ensure that your business is legally compliant.
Some aspects of HR management can be particularly complicated and time consuming. Have you thought about just how much work is involved in setting up an employee benefit scheme, and managing it effectively? Your consultant can provide guidance in one area, where there are a lot of points to cover.
The HR consultant provides up to date information
Even if you have in-house HR staff, and do your best to keep on top of the latest HR developments, there are risks that you might miss an important change in the law. You may also not be aware of the newest and best tools on the market, to help with your staff management.
When your in-house HR team spends time dealing with your employees, they may find very little free time for reading up on industry changes. It’s incredibly easy to slip into habits that last for weeks, and even months and years, without seeing what might have changed.
Since a HR consultant has to be as valuable as possible, to justify being hired by companies like yours, they will be keeping up to date with the very latest developments. You can depend on a consultant to know exactly what’s happening right now, whether it’s a new element of health and safety law or a brand new piece of HR software that could be perfect for your company.
The HR consultant can help you to make outsourcing decisions
Is it time to hire somebody to work in-house, or would outsourcing be more efficient and cost-effective? This is a question that your chosen HR consultant should be able to help you answer. Consultants can provide advice and recommendations, looking at the way your company works and suggesting which approach you should take.
Your consultant may recommend that you do your payroll in house, or they may instead tell you that you’d be better outsourcing that task. Whatever they recommend, they can also help with the next stage, supporting you through recruitment or guiding you in your search for a payroll company.
The HR consultant can provide support
Your chosen HR consultant can support you in areas where you need an extra helping hand, or don’t feel confident enough. This can be particularly beneficial during the hiring process, where you might need someone that really knows what they’re doing to sit in on any interviews.
By having a HR consultant involved when you’re hiring someone new, you also have on-hand information for any more complicated queries that arise, or to refer to for information about discrimination laws and reasonable accommodations.
If you are new to interviewing, and unsure what you can and cannot ask (or, what you should ask to get the best view of each candidate), then speak to a HR consultant. They can help you to design your list of questions, to get the most out of your time in the interview room, and can sit in on the interviews themselves. They can then help you, after the interviews are over, to evaluate each candidate and come to a hiring decision.
The HR consultant can offer training for existing employees
Most HR consultants are happy to train your in-house employees, to bring them up to your required standard in areas where their existing knowledge or experience might be lacking. This might mean that they provide immediate help with the recruitment process, whilst guiding your existing HR team through the process. That way, your in-house HR team can manage the next recruitment drive on their own.
The HR consultant can introduce new technologies to your business
In years gone by, a company’s HR management used forms and printed documents. Everything would be stored away in folders, locked in filing cabinets, with important employee guides on a shelf in the office. Now, businesses appreciate the value of online HR software.
If making the move to embrace new technology seems complicated and confusing, then why not speak to a HR consultant about the help that they can offer? Amongst many benefits of hiring a HR consultant is the chance to rely on their help to get to grips with new software, to work out what needs to be included and how you’ll implement the software and move to it seamlessly.
The HR consultant can save time
Some consultants are available to provide information and support, without doing anything too hands-on. Other consultants are happy to be hired as an additional member of your team, for short-term or part-time outsourced work.
You can save time that would be spent on recruitment and training, by hiring a HR consultant to help with some of your HR tasks. You might want to recruit someone to manage just one or two time-consuming jobs, like the implementation and administration of your employee benefits and rewards schemes.
The HR consultant can run independent surveys and evaluations
It’s important that you understand how your employees are feeling. What makes them happy? What doesn’t? What do they like about their job? What needs to improve?
Gathering feedback and monitoring public opinion in the workplace might be something that you struggle to find time for. You might also worry that employees won’t be honest with you, if they’re concerned about a lack of anonymity.
A HR consultant can run an employee feedback survey on your behalf. They’ll know which questions to ask, and how to interpret the results. At your request, they can ensure that answers remain anonymous whilst still giving you the important details.
Is a HR consultant right for your business?
From developing internal policies to navigating the complicated world of employment law, a HR consultant can offer specialist knowledge and experience. Consultants have typically worked with a wide range of businesses, all with their own approaches to HR management, which means that you could benefit from the best practices of a variety of companies.
Perhaps one of the most important benefits of HR consultants is that they don’t become permanent members of staff. You can hire a HR consultant for a short period of time, to see if they work for your business, without committing to providing a permanent salary.
Before you hire a HR consultant, think carefully about what you need. Time is precious, and clear goals can help you to make the most of this valuable business resource.