“I’m so glad I didn’t try to become an HR consultant by myself”

This was something one of our consultants said to me a while ago. She said I was free to use it as a tagline and while I haven’t gone that far, I thought it was a worthwhile thought to write about. The context was a complicated disciplinary issue for a new client, involving a second, separate offence after proceedings had started for the first offence, and a number of other complicating factors.

I spent some time talking the situation through with her, we exchanged emails on some of the technical legal points and ultimately I also got involved in helping out with an appeal hearing as well. She found it really useful to be able to talk through the dynamics of the case, the best approach to dealing with the two different disciplinary issues and the right procedure to use.

This is something HR professionals working in a team usually have access to but those who are lone self-employed consultants often don’t. Online forums can be useful for peer support but having access to someone you can talk through the specifics with, explain the personalities/approach of the client and other involved parties, and share relevant information with provides a greater level of support.

This is particularly valuable in the early days of setting up your consultancy but does carry on past then – I’ve had a conversation with another of our consultants recently about two disciplinary issues she is dealing with for a client – she wanted to run her planned approach past me for a sanity check which I was more than happy to do.

And it doesn’t just extend to general HR sanity checking or employment law details; especially in the early days this kind of personal support can be invaluable in providing guidance on how a consultant’s approach to a client issue needs to differ from how it would have been working in-house in a traditional HR manager role. The relationship between HR consultant and client is different, involves a different perspective and does sometimes change the advice that needs to be given or the level of involvement it is appropriate to have, and in the early days that balance can be tricky to get the hang of.

Similarly, although we provide lots of training on marketing and lots of downloadable instructions and guidance, being able to talk through a possible marketing opportunity, or business partnership prospect, with someone who’s been through it before can make a huge difference and can help avoid making the wrong decision or flag up things a new consultant might not have even thought of.

If you’d like to hear more about setting up your own HR consultancy with bags of support, do get in touch.