Human resource (HR) management is at the heart of every organisation. It’s the department that keeps processes running smoothly, ensures employees are adhering to goals and maintains compliance. Important though these areas are, a small and growing business may not have the necessary time to invest in HR activities. They need to focus their attention on generating revenue, without which the whole business would crumble. As such, it is generally uncommon for a company of fewer than 100 employees to have a dedicated HR team.
Ignoring HR responsibilities entirely is a recipe for disaster. Employee relation issues and performance management concerns should not fall to a single manager who is unlikely to possess all the necessary skills and knowledge of an HR professional. With this in mind, many growing businesses decide that HR consulting is right for their company. Investing in this expertise can help take businesses from strength to strength, while freeing up management time to focus on increasing profit margins.
HR consultants can help with the recruitment process
Recruitment is no game, and the cost of making the wrong hire can seriously damage a business. On top of the financial commitment, each new hire requires onboarding, with the average new hire taking eight months to reach full productivity. For this reason, there are a number of critical considerations to bear in mind during the recruitment process: essential skills, employment history, communication skills, cultural fit, and attitude, to name a few.
HR consultants are well acquainted with the importance of selecting the right candidate, and they have recruitment down to a fine art. They can assist with the slow, tedious hiring process and conduct interviews that will highlight employees with potential. Importantly, due to their training, they are familiar with what can and cannot be asked during the interview stage.
HR consultants can also advise on what it takes to attract top talent in the future. This all boils down to a combination of company reputation, personalised training, excellent employee experience, productive performance management processes and the incorporation of employee recognition schemes, which will be discussed below.
HR consultants can help to reduce staff turnover
High turnover can impact morale, employee engagement levels and overall productivity. Companies that gain a reputation for high turnover can have difficulties recovering from this image, thereby damaging future recruitment efforts. To make matters worse, it comes at a high financial cost.
Any HR management professional is aware that retention begins with improved recruitment. A business also needs to ensure that employees feel listened to, appreciated and supported. HR consultants can advise on these areas to make sure a company is running smoothly and the employees are engaged and motivated.
HR consultants can assist with organisational change
At times, it is necessary to introduce certain business changes, but when they aren’t handled delicately and with precision, companies can experience widespread negative effects. By nature, people are resistant to change. Organisational change needs to be communicated clearly, slowly and tactfully, while the situation is kept under control. HR consultants are specialists in change management, and they can help with mergers, acquisitions and restructures. They can also assist with the introduction of new processes in relation to performance management.
HR consultants help organise reward and recognition schemes
Over the past few years, businesses have been waking up to the importance of employee recognition. It has been closely linked to employee satisfaction and higher retention levels, yet this critical performance management consideration is often overlooked.
If your business wants to introduce reward and recognition schemes, you want to make sure your bonus and incentive schemes are well-thought-out. HR consultants can help you create a balanced benefits package and roll it out through the company.
HR consultants detect and resolve employee engagement concerns
All modern organisations are well aware of the benefits afforded by increased levels of employee engagement. It has been linked to increased productivity, morale and discretionary effort. But what steps are your company putting in place to make sure employee engagement and employee experience are being prioritised? It might be that you need a consultation with an experienced professional who is aware of the latest research and knows what will positively impact engagement levels.
To determine the status of employee engagement in your company, consultants can help your business design and launch engagement surveys and hold focus groups. This will help you pinpoint areas for improvement, which will significantly improve long-term employee engagement and retention rates.
HR consultants help with performance management
Performance management is a constantly evolving field. As our understanding of psychology and motivation advances, so does our application of it. New HR trends are constantly developing, and companies who fail to keep up ultimately lose out to their competition.
One notable change over recent years is the abandonment of annual performance appraisals for a more agile performance management style. This process incorporates regular performance discussions. When a company decides to hire an HR consultant, this professional can help you design a new appraisal process, develop competency frameworks and ensure you have a suitable goal-setting process. Paying attention to performance management means you will benefit from more motivated employees, who are more empowered to carry out the function of their roles.
Increased adherence to compliance
How can any SME get ahead and thrive when they are forced to spend hours researching and adhering to rapidly evolving employment laws? This is a near-impossible feat, particularly for an unqualified professional. HR consultants can offer peace of mind in this area, as it is their business to know about the current laws regarding hiring, firing, and health and safety processes. Ignorance of these areas could end up costing you dearly in legal fines.
Marc Bishop is the MD and owner of PlusHR Limited