How to become an HR consultantOn 21 Sep 2004 in Personnel Today You also need to gain the attention of the people that havethe power to buy your services. This can be achieved by demonstrating thebenefits that will result if they change their business approach with yourhelp. Where do I start? How do I know if itis right for me? If your preferred route is to join an existing consultancy,it will be seeking proof of your analytical skills, desire to learn,self-motivation as well as your track record in implementation. “You needto have something extra to offer that a company can’t easily get for itself andbe able to demonstrate the value of your work,” says Patel. Should you join acompany or set up on your own? 1 Present a professional image What otherconsiderations are there? What could they bedoing better and how can you help? Related posts:No related photos. What if I want towork with other consultants? Where can I get moreinfo? Managing and growing a business demands a certain kind offlair as well as business management skills. Regular invoicing, paymentchasing, staying abreast of self-employment regulations and professionalindemnity insurance are just a few of the things you will have to becomefamiliar with. If you lack experience, consider attending seminars or a shortcourse to brush up your knowledge of running a business. It is highly likely atsome stage you will experience difficulties with cash flow and have to shouldera few hard knocks. So it is important to have a rainy day fund equal to atleast three months’ salary to see you through leaner times. Fully understand the company you are working for. Study itsfinancial reports and business strategy to pinpoint its needs and where supportis lacking. Having a handle on organisational culture will inform you of how tooperate smartly within the company framework. For the relationship to succeed,you need to establish that the company is strongly committed to the project.Clarify goals and put down clear benchmarks for each stage. Agree on how frequentlyyou will communicate and start out with some short-term, achievable goals toboost the morale of those involved. What key advice wouldyou offer any would-be consultant? 3 Clarify goals and establish ground-rules To remain effective, you need to ensure your knowledge andexpertise is current so keep up-to-date with the latest management and HRthinking by attending key seminars and conferences. Smart consultants will alsoinvest in extra training when necessary. There are a huge variety of options, so be clear about whatit is that you want to achieve. Make sure that any role you consider will allowyou to gain the knowledge and experiences that you want to develop at thisstage of your career before you take the plunge. Compensation and benefits, to ensure existing employees areadequately compensated and less prone to leave the organisation are alsoimportant. To prosper as a consultant, you have to be able to marketyour knowledge and skills. Even if you have highly sought after expertise and asolid record of achievement, if you can’t back it up with a persuasive storyabout your ability to deliver, you will risk losing work to rivals. Use yournetwork to drum up as much work as possible. There are probably two main reasons why you might becontemplating moving into consultancy. The first is if you have a desire towork independently, choose your own hours and experience new and diversechallenges. The other is as a temporary measure to gain new skills to jack upyour career. Regardless of the reasons, consultancy work is likely to provideexperience and learning way beyond anything you will pick up on a trainingprogramme. What’s your personalstrategy for attracting business? What else do I needto know? What HR skills arepresently most in demand? Books 2 Learn how to analyse situations – Be A SuccessfulConsultant, Susan Nash, How To Books, £12.99, ISBN 185703807X If you only do fivethings Institute of Management Consultancy, www.imc.co.uk Comments are closed. How should I managethe project? Principally, you need to have a firm understanding of whyyou want to make the move into consulting. Is it to widen your experience or tocapitalise on particular expertise? Are you keen to vary your work or do youwant to consolidate existing knowledge and experience? Carry out research,attend specialist events and talk to as many consultants as you can to workthis out. The majority of organisations have either been tooconservative in their recruitment or made too many redundancies in recenttimes. With the employment market now buoyant, a key priority for HR is talentacquisition, to re-build the workforce. Lastly, organisational development is keyto ensure employees are coping with change brought about by the rapid growththat many organisations are now going through. – How to Succeed as anIndependent Consultant, Timothy RV Foster, KoganPage, £13.99, ISBN 0749438665 “Good consultants constantly think about the commercialneeds of their clients as well as the day-to-day practicalities. So if youdon’t have an interest in shaping or developing companies, then you’re notsuited to a career in consultancy,” says ParimelPatel, European talent acquisition specialist at Capital Consulting. This means identifying the needs of the companies in thesectors that you want to target. What are they doing wrong? Website – Value-based Humanresource Strategy: Developing Your HR Consultancy Role, Tony Grundy &Laura Brown, Butterworth Heinemann, £21.99, ISBN 0750657693 A consultant’s job is to effect significant business change,and in today’s fast-paced business environments that usually means within shorttime frames. As well as bringing new insight, you will need to be at ease withmaking multiple decisions on the hoof and be able to quickly take stock ofambiguous, sometimes difficult, situations and turn them around. Your clientswill expect to see the results of your solutions in measurable terms. 5 Ensure your knowledge and expertise is up-to-date What if I want tostart my own consultancy? Parimal Patel is the Europeantalent acquisition specialist at Capital Consulting for Dun & Bradstreet.He moved into talent acquisition consulting following a career in investmentbanking and in-house HR roles at Goldman Sachs and Barclays Global. To set up on your own you must be an established expert inyour field and confident that there’s a gap in the market for what you canoffer. Question yourself and your business model to be sure that this is whatyou really want to do. Make sure that there is a genuine opportunity for youand not just a gap in the market because no one wants to buy that particularsolution. Expert’s view: Parimal Patel on becoming an HR consultant Previous Article Next Article 4 Build trust If you have chosen a period of consultancy to boost yourcareer path, ensure it is going to equip you with skills and experience thatcan be leveraged in the future. Finally, if your intention is to return to anin-house HR role, don’t leave it too long before moving back - four or fiveyears should be the maximum.