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 overall 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’re 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 complement 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. 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.
2. Make more informed 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 a continuous learning mode. Our livelihood depends on cultivating a stellar reputation as a consultant who is known for successfully completing projects with quick turnaround time while remaining 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.
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 understand 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 an 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.
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, it’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 handle lower-value administrative tasks
- More experienced, higher-cost consultants are freed up to bill their time against higher value, specialized work that typically requires fewer hours
- 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 the completion timeline
- Access to other consultants with a different skillset not possessed by the original team assigned when scope changes require their skillset
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 may take longer to complete the task or burn additional billable hours researching information to close their knowledge gap.
The bottom line: I will admit that larger consulting firms can generally cost more than engaging a boutique firm or independent consultant. However, these things should be considered when making a decision on who to engage to help you with your next critical HR or talent initiative.