In last week’s blog, I looked at the number of HR people to employees and discussed the difficulty of identifying a common ratio as there are so many variables.

In this post-pandemic period, there are many macro-environmental pressures that HR must respond to; in this new world, everything needs to be revised, from organisational design to pay and recruitment and leadership development. Moreover, we must be ever mindful of the ESG agenda, and the importance of health and wellbeing, especially at this time when people have been through so much.

These pressures on HR raise a key question for me; is the HR consultant now in the ascendency? There is much value to engaging HR advisors, with the ability to bring in new expertise, as well as new perspectives being at the top of the list. HR covers such a wide field it is impossible for even the most seasoned practitioner to keep abreast of it all. Enter the HR advisor. HR people, however, are often hesitant about letting people around the firm know they are using advisors. They see it as a weakness. Often, people are wary of showing flaws and weaknesses to the HR advisor whom they see as an outsider. Moreover, corporate HR people often cannot imagine that an external HR advisor can feel any commitment to the organisation. So here are my top tips for working with an external advisor:

  1. Treat your advisor as a member of your team – they just have the advantage of not being on your payroll and you can draw on them whenever you need them. Advisors do feel committed to their client’s success and to the success of the individuals they work with. The more the advisor knows and understands your organisation, the better.
  2. Be clear about the expertise that you need and that you are therefore buying in. Make sure your advisor is up to date with developments in their field. The post-pandemic is vastly different from the pre-pandemic one.
  3. Keep in touch between assignments and follow-through on the projects. Consultants are engaged for a project but do not stay for the implementation and follow-through. Whatever you do, keep it going. Nothing ever works beautifully first time but too often HR gives up, or changes tack when the first hurdle appears.

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©Janice Caplan 2020