HR Consulting can be a tough role for those new to it - especially in the early engagements with clients. Trying to balance the 'wants' of the client with the often very different 'needs' that they have can be hard to manage. A successful HR consultant is able to find a way through these types of tensions that produces a great result for the client while maintaining their individual professional reputation and that of the business.
In looking for the best outcome for the client, a couple of potential pitfalls need to be avoided by the HR consultant. Here're the three of the most common one that need to be managed carefully.
Many consultants, especially in their initial round of engagements, can tend to deliver what the clients say they want even when they aren't sure that the client is right in their demands. As a consultant, it is legally and professionally important to maintain your integrity and credibility. Your advice must be what the client, in your assessment, needs in order to address the issue that they are seeking advice on. This may not always be what they want.
It's not uncommon for some human resource consultants to promise the world and then struggle to deliver within the requisite time and/or fee parameters. Sometimes this is because the client needs shift after the engagement has begun, sometimes it's because the consultant has underestimated the work required, sometimes something unexpected presents itself. In any case, it's important to try to explicitly set expectations at the start of an assignment, and then to actively manage them over time, especially when one or more of the possible issues identified earlier comes into play.
Investing in yourself and your currency across the HR skill set is vitally important for human resource consultants. Just like other professional service areas like accounting, you must take time to read articles, attend training, conferences and events that offer opportunities to hone your skills and learn new HR management techniques and strategies.