In any organization, the human resources team plays a vital role in maintaining a well-functioning workplace. From hiring and onboarding to handling employee relations, regulatory compliance, and employee benefits, the HR team is responsible for a variety of critical functions. When highly specialized HR expertise or additional support is needed, smart business leaders, startup founders, and nonprofit executives turn to an HR consultant as an alternative to hiring a full-time senior-level human resources expert.
As an expert across human resources including areas of specialization, an HR consultant can be a valuable resource to an organization. A highly skilled and experienced consultant can often assist with common aspects of human resources while providing specific expertise and insights that protect a company by ensuring proper policies and best practices are in place for recruiting, growing, and retaining your workforce.
Whether you lack internal resources to accomplish your objectives or just need to augment your staff, an HR consulting expert can help lead, guide, and mentor your people and teams with the most challenging human resources issues that include learning and development, diversity, equity, and inclusion, HR training, attracting and retaining talent, compliance, succession planning, and as an on-call resource for projects and ongoing subject matter expertise.
So, what does an HR consultant do?
Human Capital Management Skills
A good HR consultant must possess strong HR skills. Experience and expertise in human resources practices are core competencies required to be an effective HR consultant. The ability to train, retain, and grow the workforce regardless of changing needs like competition, market dynamics, or even political and technological changes is essential to provide appropriate support for clients.
An HR consultant must deliver on their skills regardless of the job landscape, regulatory changes, and other influences that may affect the organization. Training and continuous improvement must be at the center of strategic HR consulting.
HR Consulting Skills
HR consultants must adopt skills and abilities that help them do their work efficiently and effectively. While having a college degree and vast experience are generally requisites for an HR consulting role, developing other peoples’ skills is a critical element to excel in this capacity.
HR consultants should be a master of the following skills:
- HR leadership experience
- HR regulatory compliance
- Employee relations management
- Performance management
- Recruiting and Onboarding
- Employee retention
- HRIS experience
The HR consultant must understand the entire scope of HR consulting, from hiring to training to retention to regulations.
HR Consulting Certifications
Certified HR consultants should have several years of work experience in human resources and related fields. HR consulting certifications from different universities and institutes can demonstrate further education and qualifications. For instance, the Human Resource Management Institute provides certification in HR consulting, empowering graduates to work across a wide range of HR specialties. Other HR certification programs can be earned from the Management and Strategy Institute, the National Association of Health Underwriters, Society of Human Resource Management, and more.
While some HR consultants have a Master’s degree in finance, accounting, human resources, or strategic management, it’s always valuable to have an HR consulting certificate from a recognized institution. These institutions deliver cutting-edge curriculums tailored to meet emerging human resources needs. HR Consultants with qualifications or credentials from recognized institutions may offer better perspectives for your organization’s workforce management.
HR Consulting Services for Small Businesses
Small and medium-sized businesses often find a strategic advantage with HR consulting support. An HR consultant may provide strategic human capital planning and support to reinforce a business’s approach to human resource management.
Many small businesses deal with budgetary constraints and may be challenged by the rapidly changing regulations, policies, and procedures that a human resources team faces. For instance, an organization may struggle with hiring and retention. It’s also becoming increasingly difficult to meet changing workforce practices like work-from-home policies and virtual worker regulations.
The benefits of HR consulting for small businesses include:
- Expert recruiting and retention advice. HR consultants can deliver expert advice and recommendations on specific strategies to solve problems related to attracting and retaining top talent.
- Training and development. The HR consultant can improve your employee motivation and performance levels by leading the design and implementation of appropriate training and development programs to bridge the skill gap in your workforce.
- Compliance. HR consulting helps businesses run their operations smoothly without worrying about the risk of policy or regulatory violations, both now and in the future. Small businesses can find support for legal and policy changes with a qualified HR consultant.
- Cost. HR consultants are hired on an on-demand basis or on a retainer. That means that you can access their services as appropriate to serve your business. By creating a hybrid model of in-house resources and an HR consulting professional, an organization can rightsize human resources to provide day-to-day operations and specialized expertise without the same expense and overhead of full-time hires.
The versatile yet flexible approach of human resource consulting provides a competitive edge to small enterprises dealing with budgetary or financial constraints or enterprises seeking expert planning in their human resource management.
Culture and Strategy
Every organization needs a culture to survive and operate fluidly through the shared beliefs, ideals, and values that guide employees in their day-to-day work. Different organizations have different cultures and different value systems. For instance, Microsoft has a shared belief in diversity; the organization unlocks the imagination and potential of many people globally to build a rewarding experience for its customers. Meanwhile, Starbucks seeks to create a welcoming culture full of warmth and happiness. As a world-class coffee house, Starbucks believes in delivering a superior dining experience. The brand holds itself to the highest standards, offering only a truly brewed experience and constantly challenging the status quo.
One of the opportunities for an HR consultant is to help you design a framework for culture and strategy. The HR consultant works closely with your human resource personnel, helping them identify candidates and strategies that will help build and offer a positive culture of excellence.
For small enterprises trying to find their cultures, HR consulting presents itself as a rare opportunity to not only discover who you are; but what your values are and what you’re seeking to accomplish.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Organizations are strengthening their focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion as part of human justice. Recognizing people of all ages, cultures, religions, and ethnicities is crucial in creating truly inclusive workplaces.
Working with a human resource consultant will help you fulfill your goals for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. The HR consultant will guide you through the underlying laws and policies on diversity, and help you design and implement workplace programs that address human justice.
Finally, it’s the goal of every enterprise to build a robust framework and workplace culture that conforms to HR regulations. Many times, organizations experience regulatory violations that are both time-consuming and resource-intensive. Violations of existing laws attract heavy penalties, impaired operations, and lost consumer confidence.
Violations against existing regulations, in the long-term, may have lasting implications on recruiting and retention, brand and positioning, and revenue growth. The goal of every HR consultant is to guide your organization through the rugged regulatory terrain by helping you understand how regulations apply to your industry and your organization. An HR consultant can help you design, implement, and monitor regulatory compliance frameworks.
What Should You Look For In An HR Consultant?
- Excellent Communication
An HR consultant must have excellent communication skills across job levels including company executives, leadership, team members, and job candidates. Undertaking a strategic role, an HR consultant must have excellent communication skills to build collaboration and execute strategies. HR consulting is mainly about working with people and getting the best from interactions with potential job candidates.
- People Assessment
HR consultants must possess strong people skills and a strong ability to evaluate and assess skills, abilities, and cultural fit. HR consultants must identify a candidate’s talents, strengths, and weaknesses and know how to apply the evaluation to the hiring and acquisition processes.
An HR consultant understands that a one-size-fits-all model doesn’t work well, and will take a diversified and personalized approach to design HR solutions that best serve your organization. From dealing with new hires to onboarding hardships or training and mentorship challenges, look for a consultant who will ultimately help you design a program that best answers your human resource needs.
An HR consultant will not take away your HR-related tasks and responsibilities but instead will guide you and your managers to perform and excel at human resource planning and execution. The HR consultant will help you seamlessly deal with complex issues and empower your HR leadership at every level.
From growth plans to sustainability to a strategic approach for building and growing your own human resources expertise, HR Consulting leaders bring the experience, expertise, and knowledge to grow your business.
Contact Human Capital Concepts for professional HR support from an HR consultant that can help simplify being an employer.