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Choosing a human resources consultant
Human resources consultancies have become invaluable to businesses looking for...
Human resources consultancies have become invaluable to businesses looking for improvements and efficiencies in their operations. This unit explores the issues surrounding how you might go about selecting and using a consultant, examining the risks involved in the venture, fitting the consultant to the task, setting fees and evaluating work. If you are in business and looking to hire a consultant, are a consultant yourself or are studying business at masters level this unit will be useful to you.
After studying this unit you should be able to:
- appreciate the characteristics of consultancy when viewed as a service offered for sale;
- as client, identify suitable contexts for using consultants;
- as client, identify, gather information on, and evaluate the suitability of competing consultants.
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Choosing a human resources consultant
There are a number of reasons for using consultants. These include the provision of interim or other temporary services, specialist expertise such as employment law, and general support such as coaching. They also include more substantial involvement with change, either just at the diagnostic stage or throughout the change process. There are different modes of consulting, of which the process mode is preferable whenever problems are at all complex.
This unit looks both at sub-contracting particular HR services which could otherwise be provided internally, and at change consultancy, where the consultant brings an external perspective which could not be obtained in any other way. HR consultants are often called in initially for their specific expertise but many find that, even in this case, diagnosis is important, and there are often follow-on opportunities for broader organisational development. A masters degree should provide a good basis for expanding into this type of consultancy, and the ability to do so is likely to make a consultancy more financially viable.
I have chosen to start by looking at a key distinctive aspect of HR consultancy – that it is a service. Marketing a service is different from marketing something more tangible. To do it effectively you need to understand the distinctive characteristics of service provision and the impact that these have on how buyers approach a purchase.
This material is from our archive and is an adapted extract from The human resource professional (B855) which is no longer taught by The Open University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other courses we offer in this.
This is an extract from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Human Resources courses or view the range of currently available OU Human Resources courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Thursday, 19th July 2012
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