Disrupting long-stable industries can be invigorating, but for many of those industries’ incumbent organizations, it’s also a sudden wake-up call. Businesses that are bigger and better-established often struggle to pivot, because they’re not as nimble as the disruptors. Those who succeed do so because they’ve succeeded in building organizational agility, allowing them to quickly acclimate to unexpected market shifts and new industry trends.
Incumbents tend to struggle because agility requires the systemic, strategic integration of new mindsets and new processes. Technology alone is a temporary fix, whereas a thoughtful, coordinated shift will yield more sustainable results. And at the heart of this strategic shift? People. People who can help develop new products or new use cases for existing products. People who can identify and test new markets. People from those very same startups who could benefit from the reach and resources offered by an M&A deal. And, perhaps most importantly, people to find those people.
Most top organizations already have a robust HR department, but during these critical times, many are looking to freelance HR consultants for additional support. Talent strategy and management isn’t the only reason why businesses bring in independent HR consultants, however. At BTG, executives have tapped our experts for support with a wide variety of HR and organization planning projects, such as:
- Compensation strategy
- Culture transformation
- Employee communications
- HR transformation
- Interim executives
- Organizational design and development
- Performance management systems
- Training & development
Yet there are a number of myths and misconceptions about freelance HR consultants that often prevent companies from seeking the help they need. Here are the top four:
1. Independent HR consultants will drag down morale.
Some executives worry that bringing in an independent HR consulting team will be perceived as a loss of faith in the internal team’s abilities. They also worry that other departments might see it as a smoke signal that their jobs could be outsourced, too.
But whether it’s an expansion or a business transformation, the fact remains that you’re going to need more people to help manage it. Employee satisfaction will suffer if your business grows but your staff doesn’t, making the fear of poor morale a self-fulfilling prophecy. What’s more, if your HR department is understaffed, you could wind up with gaps in training, potentially leading to quality issues and increased turnover.
If growth comes via a merger or acquisition, hiring might not be a concern, but there are other matters to address: cultural integration, role redefinement, new management hierarchies, etc. These types of projects require specific types of expertise that the internal HR team might not possess.
Bringing in an independent HR transformation consultant can help bridge the gap while laying a strategic foundation that will ultimately strengthen your internal HR processes. The key is to bring in a team that will complement your internal team’s strengths and actively collaborate with other departments to smooth the transition.
2. An independent consultant won’t understand our values or strategy.
We’ve already discussed the potential pitfalls of relying entirely on the internal HR team during times of rapid growth or transformation. It seems the other option implied would be to make a permanent hire.
Unfortunately, finding the right person—or people—for a permanent position takes significant time and resources. And until your new hire is fully onboarded, they won’t be experts on your mission, values, or strategy, either.
Spending time up front with a freelance human resources consultant can go a long way toward helping them fully understand your corporate vision and your business’ genetics. At BTG, many of our independent consultants possess a consulting background as well as extensive corporate HR, change management, and operational development experience, which allows them to quickly assess a company’s position and tailor their strategies to specific business goals.
3. My employees won’t get the face-time they need.
Your HR department is, internally, the face of your organization, so obstructed access is a reasonable cause for concern. Fortunately, many consultants can—and do—come into the office as needed. If you already have an internal HR team, an independent HR consultant can help free them up to handle employee relations, too.
The goal when hiring any consultant is to find someone whose skills and experience complement and enhance what your team already has. For example, you could have your freelance human resources consultant handle strategic projects while your internal HR team manages the administrative side of things.
4. An outsourced HR consulting team will be too expensive.
Again, this concern is more about perception than reality. First, the freelance hiring model actually promotes cost-efficiency, because it saves time, frees up internal resources and reduces overhead. At BTG, our independent HR consultants can ramp up or down as needed and work remotely or onsite, all without the recruiting and training costs of a permanent hire—or worse, a bad hire.
Second, organizational development is meant to be a long-term strategy, not a band-aid. A freelance HR consultant can help develop processes that promote greater efficiency and flexibility across your entire organization. They can help reduce organizational redundancy to help eliminate waste and unnecessary complexity. Or develop effective ways to measure performance and drive accountability. If they’re solid strategies, they won’t be temporary.
The bottom line is, don’t wait until your internal teams are struggling to support them. Hesitation could hurt you. Instead, set your teams up for success by making smart decisions about how to support them.
With Business Talent Group, you can pick from a robust pool of expert HR strategists who hail from the world’s best consulting firms. The team you assemble can be selected based on background, skill set and experience level, allowing you to secure specific domain expertise without the hassle and expense of big consulting firms. It’s why more than 40% of Fortune 100 companies come to us in the first place, and why 97% of our clients come back.
Get in touch when you’re ready to get started!
Emily is an award-winning writer who specializes in B2B marketing. She has been helping global brands reach targeted audiences to drive sales and awareness for more than 15 years. As a small business owner herself, she understands what it's like to source a team that can scale with sudden growth.