Many people are aware of HR consultancy services, but it is frequently assumed that an HR consultant merely offers advice on recruitment. However, the role of an HR consultant can involve a great deal more than simply helping you to take on staff.
A professional HR consultant can offer a wide array of services designed to enable your company to manage staff efficiently, leading to optimum effectiveness and productivity. An HR consultant can give you help and advice, mentoring you in managing HR issues yourself, or the whole process can be outsourced, leaving you to focus on running your business.
So what kind of services can an HR consultant offer?
1) Analysing the Needs of your Business
Before undertaking any recruitment process, it makes sense to consider the wider picture. For a business to run effectively, it's essential to have a clear and efficient structure. An HR consultant can help you to conduct a needs analysis to identify where potential changes need to be made, and formulate a strategy for implementation. An external perspective is often very helpful in identifying issues. As they will have experience across a wide variety of companies, an HR consultant can bring a wider perspective to the process. They will understand the implications of any legal requirements and will have a professional toolkit to enable a needs analysis study to be carried out.
2) Managing the Recruitment Process
Once you have a clear picture regarding the needs of your business, an HR consultant can offer advice prior to recruitment, and will even undertake the process on your behalf. They can handle writing the job adverts (and descriptions), set salary levels, outline benefits and define qualification requirements. They will even conduct interviews and make the final decision if you prefer.
3) Ongoing Performance Management
However, the role of an HR consultant does not necessarily end when staff have been recruited. All aspects of staffing can be managed, including the important area of ongoing performance management - and when it comes to this, many company managers find that outsourcing proves more efficient. An external viewpoint is less likely to be biased. It also helps preserve staff relationships, because difficult messages can be given to staff impartially. An HR consultant may have a more pragmatic view on issues such as job appraisal, bonus payments, salary increases and promotion. They can also help companies to create structured benefits packages, which may include holiday entitlement, sick pay, pensions and additional insurance, such as private healthcare.
4) Continuing Professional Development
Every organisation knows that well focused ongoing training is essential to the growth of the company. Employees who are given regular training will not only be up to date with their skills and knowledge, but are likely to have a more positive attitude to their role, as they know they are valued.
An HR consultant can not only analyse training needs for your company as a a whole, but also oversee the process, thus ensuring that everyone receives their training in a timely manner.
5) Professional Relations
An HR consultant can also help you to maintain a professional relationship with your employees. They can liaise between staff and managers, either as a means of keeping communication lines open, or to handle a specific issue. They will be well experienced in negotiating with trade unions, and understand the legal implications of any decisions made.
They will know about any relevant health and safety legislation and help you to ensure your company meets its obligations. An HR consultant will have a professional toolkit at its disposal to help monitor company performance, such as absence analysis and staff attitude surveys, which will give you early warning of any problems.
6) Managing Growth or Restructuring
HR consultants are invaluable when looking at change within your company. Analysis of your performance will help you to grow your business, focusing on the issues which may need addressing. If a restructure is necessary, a dispassionate external viewpoint can be vital to limiting the negative impact, especially in difficult circumstances such as managing redundancy.
There is no doubt that an HR consultant can bring many benefits to your business operations. So what is the best way to get the services you need, and how much is it likely to cost?
The Best Way to Access HR Consultant Services
Naturally, every business is different, so the best solution for accessing HR services will depend on the needs of your company.
There are three main options to choose from:
1) Retained Service
This options involves the payment of a monthly fee to the HR consultant in return for an fixed service, such as a minimum number of hours or days per month. Consultants usually offer the option of buying in additional services if it becomes necessary.
2) Pay As You Go (PAYG)
Some companies prefer to pay for services as and when they are needed, and consultants will outline a scale of prices for the services they offer.
3) Project Work
Sometimes an organisation needs HR services to undertake a specific project. HR consultants will consider what is required and then quote accordingly.
HR Consultant Fees
Fees for HR consulting will vary between organisations, but it is possible to give some guidelines and examples.
Companies generally offer daily and hourly rates, with some also offering a half-day rate. For example, Qdos Consulting have a scale of charges for their daily services depending on what is required. Strategic level services cost around £700 to £800 per day, mid-range services from £600 to £700, and lower level support between £200 and £400.
The hourly rate is around £80 - £110.
Training can be delivered at a cost of around £900 - £1,000 per day. Individual services can also be purchased, such as drafting an employee handbook (approx £400), drawing up a contract of employment (approx £450), or writing individual letters and policies (£50 - £100).
Some companies charge a flat hourly rate, sometimes varying depending on the agreement you have with the consultancy. For example, Organic HR charge £77.50 for PAYG customers and £62.50 for retained customers.
Choosing the Best Option for your Company
As you can see, there are many factors to bear in mind when deciding how to make best use of an HR consultant. You will need to think about the needs of your business, the services which can be offered, and the best way to access those services in order to help your company operate with maximum efficiency.
But with careful planning and consideration, you can find the best solution for your situation.