Servicing Australia wide HR consulting for employers Australia wide.

Engaging the right HR Consultant

Engaging the right HR Consultant can be as simple as thinking of pizza.

As a HR Consultant, I keep my eye on my competition. Sometimes to compare my service offering, other times to better understand what choice employers have when seeking an external HR services provider.

Good news for employers? There’s some consultants with quality HR experience out there. Not so good? There’s also some who may not exactly possess the competence across generalist HR they claim. And this second group is worth you being aware of…particularly if you’re planning to pay top dollar for assistance with something as important as your HR function.

So here’s our advice on engaging a HR consultant: what you should look out for and what steps you can take to ensure you find the right one for the level of help you’re seeking.

Scan your typical HR Consultant website and I guarantee you’ll find some reference to “expertise”. And while there’s definitely skills and attributes a competent HR professional should possess, there’s unfortunately no defined criteria for what constitutes as HR expert: it’s more a self-appointed title.

Take the number of HR consultants with a recruitment background for example. Nothing wrong with this background for a consultant – particularly if you’re seeking assistance with recruitment – but it might be problematic for you if you engage a recruitment specialist on the understanding they’ll be able to solve a HR challenge outside the recruitment realm.

For the purposes of this blog, think of HR like a pizza. While you could go crazy with your pizza wheel, let’s go old school and cut into eight slices (or specialties):

  1. Industrial relations (the management of work-related obligations and entitlements)
  2. Recruitment
  3. Employee relations (practices and strategies to maintain a positive work environment)
  4. Learning and development
  5. Compensation and benefits
  6. Talent management (processes to attract, onboard and retain high-performing employees).
  7. Human Resources Information Systems/data analytics (systems used to collect and store HR data/the process of measuring the impact of HR metrics)
  8. Organisational design (the alignment of the structure of an organisation with its objectives)

The pizza analogy highlights that recruitment is one slice (or element) of HR. A HR Consultant with only recruitment experience has no experience the other seven elements of HR…and it’s likely that the HR challenge you’re seeking a consultant’s assistance to solve will involve at least one of the other seven elements.

So what steps you take to ensure you’re engaging the right HR Consultant for you?

  • Ask: find out if they’ve been a practicing HR Manager before entering the consulting world. A HR Manager in a large organisation is likely to have come up through the ranks; spending time in each of the above business units (and often more in multi-nationals). Experience at genuine HR Manager-level generally equates to better outcomes for you.
  • Question their recommendations: if they suggest a solution ask them to explain why and how this benefits you. And keep asking for a plain English explanation if they attempt to bamboozle you with jargon…particularly if the spiel involves a “package of documents”, “subscriptions”, “memberships” or “time-based” (aka: lock-in) contracts.
  • Do your online detective work: check their Google Reviews. Do some LinkedIn searches. There’s plenty you can find in the public domain.
  • Phone around: ask if they’re happy to recommend any current clients. Call these people. Ask if there’s been any positive and lasting change from engaging the consultant. And ask if they’d use the consultant again.

Bottom line? If you’re paying for a HR expert to work with your most important business asset – your people – logic would suggest you’d want that expertise to be more than in a single HR specialty. We’d suggest you’d want someone with  relevant professional qualifications, deep understanding of HR theory and the experience to put this into practice across your business. After all, if you’re buying a pizza, you’d be pretty sh*tty if you only got one slice, right?

At Bare Bones Consulting, we like to think we’re the full pizza. We back up our claim with genuine HR Management experience across a diversity of industries within corporate, blue collar and FIFO sectors.  Check out our Google reviews then give us a call for a complimentary consultation.  We’ll provide you examples of our results as well as objective advice so you make an informed decision on engaging the right HR Consultant for you.

  • PO Box 3956,
    Burleigh Town 4220,
  • 07 5576 4693
  • 0401 279 065
  • Bare Bones Consulting

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We believe our approach to HR is unique... but then again, so is your business.

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Note: Bare Bones Consulting provides HR services for employers. Employees seeking advice on workplace concerns should contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.