Being a successful HR consultant for small business involves being commercially aware in the advice you give and the decisions you make. But what does that actually mean? It means focusing on the desired end result for the business, but how exactly do you define that?
It can be easy to define a good end result as being “Whatever the client wants”. But small business owners are very personally involved in their businesses, and often have close relationships with their employees, and therefore sometimes find it difficult to take a dispassionate view of an emotionally-charged, challenging situation.
If the client feels an employee is unjustified in a complaint they’ve made, or is doing something wrong, a small business owner can find this very tough, and this influences what they want to do. Sometimes they can, understandably, lose sight of defining a good end result for the business, and allow personal emotions and a sense of ‘justice’ to creep in, wanting to make a (often perfectly valid) point.
And this can also happen with consultants. Although as a small business HR consultant you don’t have the personal involvement the client has, and aren’t part of the business as such, if you have been involved in a long and difficult grievance process, for example, and perhaps an employee or their representative has pushed your buttons a bit, it can also be easy to let your own sense of justice influence your advice, your decisions and your actions.
At these times it’s important to take a step back, and focus on the organisation, rather than the client or you as a person. It’s the organisation who is your client, and your role is to assess the situation, including the likely behaviour of the employee in question, not necessarily to focus on who’s right and who’s wrong. Focus on what end result the business needs, and then guide the client to take the best actions to achieve that.
Taking that dispassionate, pragmatic and genuinely commercial view is one of the most valuable things you can bring as an external consultant to a small business where that is often lacking. And once the best end result is defined, at that point your technical expertise can help the client achieve that outcome.
If you’re interested in talking to us about becoming a partner with face2faceHR with bags of support, do get in touch.