In today’s competitive job market, it’s harder than ever to attract and retain high-quality, top performers. As businesses seek to improve their business performance through people, savvier HR leaders understand the value of engaging an HR/talent consulting firm partner such as TalentRise to help them navigate the many—and often complex—decisions they need to make. 

Here are my top four reasons to partner with a talent consulting firm. 

1. Broaden your perspectives. 

Whether  you are assessing current organizational gaps, selecting “right fit technologies,” or transforming the HR or recruiting function to support future talent needs, today’s HR leaders and talent consulting partners both have similar, yet different experiences to address the many important decisions needed to stay current and competitive in the war for talent. 

But what’s the one thing talent consultants bring to the table that an internal corporate HR/talent leader may not be aware they need? Broad industry and/or specialized knowledge and experience that lead to quicker, proven solutions, often with a lower risk of failure 

To compliment and empower HR partners, talent consultants readily share their: 

  • Directly relevant, deep experience with the latest tools and technologies 
  • Industry-competitive intelligence insights inside and outside your industry 
  • Outside-the-box thinking and new perspectives to solving complex problems 
  • Access to problem-solving tools, templates and resources  
  • Structured, proven approach to executing a solution successfully 

By contrast, internal HR and recruiting pros who have worked for the same company (or in the same industry) for a long time tend to rely on familiar policies, approaches, and procedures. And, since some industries are notorious laggards in innovation, sometimes the best solution can be found either outside your industry or could be resolved faster simply by trying a new approach. As a result, by not partnering with an outside HR/talent consultant or firm on important HR and talent initiatives, your organization could lose out on the most current insights, best practices, and tools available.  

Related: How a Consultant Can Turn Your Talent Up to 10 

2. Make better informed, more strategic decisions.  

Keeping up with emerging technologies and tech vendors can lead to headaches and confusion for many internal HR team members and leaders. With experienced talent consulting partners on-hand, it becomes easier and faster to optimize business models and achieve organizational growth objectives. 

Consultants can help HR and business leaders make better, more informed strategic decisions about people, processes, strategy and technology. We can do this because we spend 100% of our time in continuous learning mode. Our livelihood depends on cultivating a stellar reputation as a consultant who is known for successfully completing each project we take on, with a quick turnaround time, and within budget.    

By leveraging external consultants as “trusted advisors,” companies like yours capitalize on our years of experience building an inventory of best practices, innovative approaches, and proven tools to help HR and business leaders: 

  • Align changing business needs to the latest talent management practices 
  • Assess current gaps in technology, process and/or strategy 
  • Avoid making costly tech-related vendor selection or implementation mistakes 
  • Select and implement right-fit HR/talent technologies and AI tools 
  • Push vendors to provide services they typically say “can’t be done” because it isn’t convenient for the vendor 
  • See a big-picture view of future-state mapped to improvement goals 
  • Ensure the HR or recruiting model is optimized to scale with business growth 

Companies that engage consultants can make important decisions faster and minimize the risk of making a bad decision at the same time. 

Related: The 2020 State of Talent Optimization  

3. Free up valuable internal HR resources.  

The answer to most of life’s problems is—well, it’s usually money—but when it’s not money, it’s time. Time is so valuable, and of course, it is the reason we associate its value with the almighty dollar. Hence the expression, “Time is money.” 

Here’s my point: When a time-sensitive or revenue-impacting HR/talent related initiative arises, partnering with a talent consultant or consulting firm will free up internal HR resources. This way, the internal HR efforts are not diverted from focusing on the day-to-day details of  serving the business.  

Don’t get me wrong. I get the business rationale for keeping these initiatives in house as HR and business leaders often view these initiatives as prime developmental opportunities for their teams. However, in many cases, these tasks are added to the already full plate of the person or team the initiatives are assigned to.  

In some cases, this has the opposite effect because it creates more stress and longer hours that can negatively impact the employees’ performance and/or deadlines—not to mention the employees’ work/life balance.  

A better approach would be to partner with an external consultant –someone who becomes your trusted advisor to help drive the new initiative forward, involve the internal staff part-time as stakeholders, and work with your team to understand which parts of the project will align with a customer’s career development  goals When aligned in this manner, everyone wins! 

With a highly specialized talent consulting partner taking care of a particular project or initiative, organizations will be able to accomplish more with a quicker turnaround, so they can start reaping the benefits of the new initiative sooner. Some key benefits of this approach typically include:  

  • Creating opportunities to transfer developmental knowledge between consultants and in-house staff 
  • Streamlining and formalizing the design and implementation of transformational initiatives  
  • Reducing turnover risk associated with overloading an employee with special projects in addition to their day job 
  • Reducing the risk of newly hired, unproven staff or new managers who take a lead on critically important projects when they’re still learning your business 
  • Engaging HR teams in a non-threatening, collaborative manner that fits within their career development goals and schedule 

In short, partnering with a talent consulting firm can provide resource scalability to your internal HR staff and can be faster than hiring additional full-time people to take on the initiative at a perceived lower cost. 

Related: 15 New Recruiting Trends You Should Implement in 2020 

4. Achieve the most worthwhile investment.  

In today’s competitive business environment, I feel it is important to share my perspective on the difference between hiring an individual HR/talent consultant and partnering with a boutique, talent consulting firm. While we have competed with many very good independent HR/talent consultants over the years,  we often win a competitive bid because the independent consultant cannot scale their skills and efforts to meet the urgency and deliver the breadth of skills needed on a complex engagement.   

That said, while it might seem like a more cost -effective option to simply hire just one person to dedicate to the initiative as an extension of your in-house HR team, in many cases, ’s really not. This is because consulting firms have more resources and a broader range of skill sets and experience levels that can be combined in a coordinated manner to achieve the same engagement goals and timeline. 

Here’s what you get from a consulting firm that you won’t get from an independent consultant: 

  • A team-based approach leveraging lower cost 
  • More junior consultants to do lower value administrative tasks and higher cost 
  • More experienced consultants to only bill their time against higher value, specialized work 
  • Collaborative knowledge sharing that complement your internal teams’ areas of expertise 
  • Option for fixed-fee pricing tied to completion of specific deliverables which removes the concern over where and how consultants spend their time 
  • Ability to scale the consulting team and hours up and down to meet changes in completion timeline  
  • Access to other consultants with a different skill set not possessed by the original team assigned when scope changes require their skill set 

Conversely, an experienced independent consultant who is engaged hourly for an agreed upon number of hours per week will typically bill their same hourly rate regardless of the level of work to be done. In addition, when faced with a scope change requiring skills outside their area of expertise, they will often take longer to complete the task or burn additional hours researching information to close their knowledge gap,  

Since we’re talking about dollars and cents here, I’ll give you a clear-cut, practical example: 

If you hired an independent, senior HR/talent consultant, they might charge you anywhere from $300 to $500 an hour. But during the course of their engagement, they could be conducting low-level research, performing simple data analysis or managing administrative tasks such as creating status reports. The question here then becomes, “Why are you paying a high-level price for low-level work?” You could have junior consultants (analysts) doing the lower value work for a fraction of the cost. 

In this instance—if you needed 200 hours’ worth of consulting work—hiring the senior level independent consultant would cost you $80,000 

However, when engaging with a talent consulting firm, you get access to an entire team of pros on your books for 200 hours. Leveraging a team-first approach, the consulting firm will usually bill you only for the level of people and hours needed to complete the various engagement tasks.  

In this instance—for 200 hours’ worth of work from a talent consulting firm—your costs might break down like this: 

  • Analyst consultant: $150 per hour + 100 hours = $15,000 
  • Mid-tier consultants: $295 per hour + 60 hours = $17,700 
  • Consultant team partners: $450 per hour + 40 hours = $18,000 
  • Total cost = $50,700 

Bottom line, I will admit, that larger consulting firms can often cost way more than engaging a boutique firm or independent consultant. But, the point I am making is that these things should be considered when making a decision on who to engage to help you on your next critical HR or Talent initiative. 

Related: Guides for Human Resource Professionals 

For more talent resources from TalentRise, connect with Carl Kutsmode on LinkedIn, or check out our Resources Page

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