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The “HR expert”: are you getting what you pay for?

As an independent HR Consultant, I occasionally check my competition. While there’s some quality HR Consultants out there, I’ve noticed a growing trend for those in this profession to promote themselves as a “HR expert”.

Delving into where this expertise has been gained often uncovers something a little more ambiguous so I thought I’d offer some tips to save you time, money and dramas when choosing a HR Consultant. You wouldn’t trust your business finances to an Accountant without relevant experience and qualifications; why would you not do similar checks and balances on an “expert” coming into your business to work with your most valuable asset?

The Recruiter

It’s not uncommon for those with recruitment experience to transfer across to the HR consulting field.  Recruitment is a competitive field; mired in commission-only remuneration and a “make the placement at any cost” mentality.  While recruiters are great at their core service, it’s important to recognise that recruitment is not HR. Part of it, yes…but a narrow and specialised part. Using the Accountant analogy again, a Recruitment Manager claiming to be a HR expert is akin to someone with Accounts Payable experience claiming to be an Accountant.  Accurate? Your call.

The Graduate

I’d assume a recent HR graduate from a recognised institution would have knowledge of current HR theory. But what about the knowledge to apply this theory in the real world? In the same way it’s hard to put an old head on young shoulders, it’s hard to make the claim of HR expert without spending significant time in the workplace, working up the HR career ladder. If your current Consultant is a recent graduate, there’s a good chance you’re paying them to learn on your time.

The Administrator

The typical career progression of a HR professional in the workplace might start off as HR Administrator, then to HR Coordinator, then into one or more specialist fields for a period of time: Compensation and Benefits, Recruitment, Industrial Relations, Learning and Development, Employee Relations etc. It takes time to learn the multiple facets of HR.  And that’s the primary reason a genuine HR Manager might be what you’re really seeking.

The HR Manager

A HR Manager has managed the Human Resources function of a business. They know not only the theory behind HR but how this works in a practical sense…how HR integrates with the other functions of a business: Marketing, Finance, IT, Health and Safety, Legal and Operations. HR Managers work within budgetary parameters and are expected to be able to quantify their contribution…just like any other department head. HR Managers are used to dealing with employees and managers across all business units as well as the business’ stakeholders: unions, media and the community. That’s real experience. And how do you gain that? From being a HR Manager. Simple.

Questions to ask your HR Consultant

  • Have you held the title of HR Manager?
  • How long ago was this?
  • In what industries have you worked?
  • Do you have tertiary qualifications in HR?

The bottom line

If your current HR Consultant does not hold genuine HR Manager level experience you could be paying for a substandard product. Check out the Bare Bones Consulting HR experience here then make an informed decision on the level of expertise you want from your HR Consultant. Once you know the right questions to ask, we think it should be an easy choice!

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

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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.