Why do I need consultancy skills?

The
role of HR within organisations is changing and HR professionals need to adapt
to increase their marketability, says Kevin Kerrigan, managing director of HR
consultancy SHL

A
recent survey by psychometric assessment specialists SHL has highlighted that
HR professionals are under increasing pressure to change. The survey, which
questioned 350 HR professionals attending a series of roadshows held by the
company across the UK, showed that HR departments believe they are still seen
as process-oriented and divorced from the business by managers.

According
to respondents, HR departments are seen as an obstacle to the business, rather
than a facilitator of change. Being ‘slow and bureaucratic’, ‘caught up on
legislation’ and ‘not understanding the needs of managers’ were cited as some
of the most common perceptions of the HR department. Respondents also felt HR
was perceived as ‘insufficiently strategic’ within the business as a whole.

This
perception of the HR department, along with a continued tightening of budgets,
means managers are looking increasingly hard at HR, which is traditionally seen
as an overhead. This is compounded by an increase in competition from different
professionals such as management consultants and occupational psychologists.

Now
is the time for HR professionals to move away from this negative image.
Ultimately, HR needs to be better at providing consultancy within the business
to become a strategic function, rather than simply ‘servants’ to the
organisation.

Developing
consultancy skills and showing a strong impact on the bottom line are of
uppermost importance to HR professionals today. There are steps HR
professionals are beginning to take seriously which can improve their image and
show their impact on the business. These techniques involve using traditional
consultancy training combined with an application to the HR world. Pulling
techniques from consultancy training, HR professionals should concentrate on
the following stages of consultancy: scouting, entry, contracting, diagnosis,
planning, negotiating interventions, taking action and evaluation.

The
traits that effective consultants have which can be adopted by HR professionals
– such as showing an awareness of the business as a whole, taking a proactive
approach, being non-judgemental, listening and accepting data without
contradicting the client – can make a real difference to how HR is perceived by
managers. For example, instead of waiting for the line manager to approach HR
with a problem, HR must research inside the business and approach managers with
information on the issues they face. Above all, HR needs to focus on developing
client-centred, collaborative relationships.

For
more information on developing consultancy skills go to www.shlgroup.com

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