What Does an HR Consultant Do?

HR Discussion with Two Employees

Your human resources department is meant to help your company continuously move and grow, both faster and with greater traction. However, sometimes your HR department may not be able to address all of your biggest projects by itself. That’s where working with an external HR consulting firm can help.

Take a look at what an HR consultant does and see how they can help your organization bridge the gap between day-to-day human resources operations and taking the steps to help your company grow.

What Do HR Consultants Do?

A consultant is a professional with in-depth knowledge of a particular subject, be it marketing, business, legal, or another area. They advise clients on making decisions related to their area of expertise.

Human resources consultants are experts in different facets of HR. Some will use their HR consulting skills to help businesses in specific industries, such as healthcare, manufacturing, or technology.

Companies can hire them as independent contractors to help them with special projects from an HR perspective or hire a firm like HR Collaborative to address multiple areas around their projects. Consultant groups often provide professional expertise, education, and training services relating to human resources.

Where freelance consultants typically focus on one specific area of expertise, they seldom have experience in all aspects of HR. This can make it beneficial for companies to work with HR consulting firms that have multiple experts who cover the breadth of the employee lifecycle. In turn, these firms can help you find holistic, interconnected solutions rather than piecemeal recommendations that don’t consider the bigger picture.

Why Work with an HR Consultant?

Your human resources staff often have their hands full with various aspects of running your business day to day—which in turn can lead to burnout and turnover in their positions. Adding another special project to their plates can make it more challenging for them to continue handling the routine operations of your business while completing the project in the time frame you need.

Working with outside HR experts allows you to focus on those important long-term projects without letting your daily operations fall by the wayside. Furthermore, since HR consultants work on highly specialized projects and can provide an outside perspective or uncover your team’s best ideas, you know the job will be done right by someone who has experience implementing them.

What Services Do HR Consultants Provide?

There are many ways an HR consultant can help your business with their consulting services. Whether you’re undergoing a company merger and need additional support to make it happen or you have another complex project on the horizon that needs to be addressed holistically, HR consultants can help.

These are some of the services the consultants can provide for your business.

Legal compliance with employment law is essential, and an experienced HR consultant knows how to help your company make strategic decisions regarding federal, state, and local regulations. They also know how to find solutions that align with the best interests of your organization and your employees.

Strategically mitigating compliance risk and finding win-win solutions is also where it’s ideal to work with an HR contractor who is familiar with your industry. Different industries have unique regulations they need to follow and workforce expectations, so it’s important to work with a consultant who has experience navigating both.

Working with an HR consultant firm on your organization’s HR compliance can also have a higher ROI than working without one. Proactively working with an HR consultant costs pennies on the dollar compared to the retainer fees you would pay to hire an employment lawyer—or take on lawsuits, settlements, and agency fines.

Training and Development

Every employee has skills that can be developed and cultivated—including your managers. In the post-pandemic workforce, upskilling and reskilling your employees at every level allows your company to be more agile. Some contracted HR specialists can help you train and develop those skills and turn everyone on your team into leaders and collaborators.

However, the best HR experts also know how to draw out the best of your team’s talents and help them feel more empowered to use them in the workplace. Talent development is a major part of this. High-level HR consultants, such as executive coaches, leadership coaches, and senior trainers,  know the value of your people and can help your organization invest wisely to achieve your long-term growth goals.

Employee Engagement

Your employees are the backbone of everything your company does, so it’s essential to keep a constant pulse on how they’re feeling about your organization. That’s especially true for companies that have big decisions coming down the pike or already in progress.

HR consultants who specialize in employee experience can help you build employee engagement plans. These allow you to connect with your workforce in more meaningful ways that will reduce turnover long term. Because they have an external, objective perspective, an HR consulting firm can more effectively develop an overarching strategy that will benefit your organization and employees in kind.

Engagement plans are also great for fostering employee satisfaction and increasing your overall retention rates. An HR consultant, such as an engagement specialist, can help you develop an engagement plan that moves the needle for your employee satisfaction and trust. That plan can also set you apart as an employer of choice, making attracting future talent much easier.

Recruitment and Onboarding

It can be challenging to dedicate the time your company needs to find the best candidates for its open positions. At a glance, some of the challenges you might face include:

  • Casting a wide enough net in your talent search
  • Passive sourcing of candidates
  • Biases in the hiring process
  • Getting all stakeholders involved and on the same page
  • Continuous communication with candidates
  • Offer letter negotiations

If you struggle with a recruitment challenge, you can lean on HR consultants who specialize in facilitating the hiring process and recruitment, such as senior recruiters, sourcers, and talent acquisition specialists. They know how to find a pool of top talent and attract them to your organization.

Then, once you’ve selected the best candidate for the position, an HR consultant specializing in onboarding can help your HR department bring them onto the team quickly and seamlessly. The process makes your new employees easier to retain and fast tracks their understanding of how your organization operates and its unwritten cultural norms and expectations.

Executive searches are a specialty in their own right. They often require leveraging different networks and connections than typical recruiting to find high-level talent. Executive search consultants specializing in this unique aspect of talent acquisition work with your organization’s stakeholders to help you find the best candidate for your leadership positions, all with white-glove service to make the best use of your stakeholders’ time.

Compensation and Benefits

How competitive is your pay in the market? Moreover, how equitable is your compensation across the organization?

There’s always an opportunity to examine your compensation structure, especially as pay transparency legislation becomes a reality for more and more organizations. HR consultants, such as a compensation or total rewards specialist, can use data-driven tools and their own expertise to provide the most equitable and comprehensive compensation packages and benefits structures possible for your employees.

These preemptive measures ensure your compensation and total rewards practices meet the needs and expectations of your employees and aren’t driving them to look for new jobs elsewhere. An intentional and well-communicated total rewards plan in turn can significantly reduce turnover, saving organizations time, money, expense, and lost productivity in backfilling open positions.

What Training Do HR Consultants Have?

On top of having a bachelor’s degree or even a master’s degree in human resource management, effective consultants have training and experience in the field. Many also pursue continuous education through certification and training programs. Major certifications for HR consultants include the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)’s Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP), and the HR Certification Institute (HRCI)’s Professional in Human Resources (PHR). There are many other certifications for specific areas of HR.

Degrees and certifications don’t tell the full picture of how effective an HR consultant will be. Experience is a critical factor. People are both invaluable and messy. Working with HR consultants who have years of real-world experience navigating challenges in the field allows you to quickly and proactively address some of the most complex people challenges your organization faces.

Talk to the Expert HR Consultants

At HR Collaborative, we can help you connect with an HR consultant who can address all your company’s needs with a measured, people-driven approach. Let’s start today with a free, zero-commitment strategy conversation to learn more about how we can help you.

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