Tips for Selecting a Human Resources Consultant
As with any profession, not all HR professionals are created equal. Diverse backgrounds, education and length and breadth of work experiences have a direct impact on the success of the consulting engagement. The following key attributes are guidelines for hiring the right HR consultant and firm for your company:
HR Consultant Expertise and Longevity
HR professionals may consult as a bridge to their next full-time, in-house position or may be working part-time as a lifestyle choice or transition into retirement. Others have established a business around consulting, incorporated their company and have a website and support staff.
Consider what you want the HR consultant to do and for how long. A consultant with a strong track record of success in HR consulting will be more committed to seeing your project through as they have for previous clients.
Ask how long they have been consulting and why they became a consultant. How long has their company been in business? Learn more about their industry experience. Ask about similar past projects that were successful, as well as those that were not successful and why.
The HR profession is governed by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). In addition to continuing education, they provide HR-specific certifications. Check to see if your HR consultant is a member of this association, is actively engaged and learning, and if they have any HR certifications.
Formal education matters. Did the HR consultant go to college? If so, what did they major in? Is the major directly related to HR? Do they have any advanced degrees? Have they continued their education and stayed current with the many changes in HR?
Corporate HR Experience
Relevant experience in the corporate world and familiarity with corporate and organizational dynamics, project deliverables and balancing capacity and capabilities is a necessary skill set for an HR consultant. Learn more about the HR consultant’s previous corporate work history. Did they work in a variety of industries or only one?
Generalist vs. Specialist
The HR profession tends to describe those with broad-based HR experience as Generalists, and those who specialized in a few areas, such as recruiting or employee benefits as Specialists. Consider the diversity of the consultants HR background and how that experience aligns with your project needs.
Ask for client references for previous projects and check them. Look at social media sites such as Linked In for recommendations. Review the company’s website.
Integrity and Trust
Trust is the foundation of any professional relationship. The HR consultant should be able to tell you the truth when it comes to specific aspects of your organization and its function.
Ensure that the HR consultant meshes with your culture and your employees. Does the HR consultant reflect the image you want to project to job applicants, a board of directors and third-party vendors?
HR is gray, not black and white. Every organization is unique and the approach to HR should be customized to your business needs and culture.
Mary Beth Hartleb is the founder and CEO of Prism HR – Global Management Group, LLC. Founded in 2003, Prism HR provides full human resources support for small to mid-size business as well as project- based work. Contact us today at https://www.prismgmg.com