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Do you know when it’s time to hire a human resources project consultant?

Do you have a project that is repeatedly re-shuffled to the bottom of your to-do list? We’ve all found ourselves in this situation. How do you stop the re-shuffling and identify when the time is right to bring in external support to accomplish the objective?

Typical example of a recruiting support function that can chip away at an HR department’s time:

Problem Example:Turnover positions create an impossible workload for full life-cycle recruiters. This type of project is not uncommon, but organizations wait too long before hiring help.

Solution Example:Create a quick project needs list. Add in the three key factors for every project – scope, schedule and budget. If you already have a list of consultants that can do this type of work, begin calling on them to see who can fill the quick need. Possible tactics they can complete include posting positions, reviewing resumes, conducting phone screens.

Outcome Example: Your HR team is then able to maximize its time to conduct in-depth phone interviews and partner with hiring managers to identify and select talent.

Here are more key ways to know when to engage a consultant.

It’s time when:

  • You or the team is continuously asked for outcomes you and they don’t have the bandwidth to deliver
  • You want to leverage thought leadership or specialized expertise for the short term
  • You have a discreet task or objective that requires up to 120 days of focused efforts
  • You’re anticipating significant organizational growth or downsizing
  • You need to gauge/assess the impact of organizational change on leadership, managers and staff
  • Your organization doesn’t have a dedicated HR professional to provide strategic and tactical advice on best practices and mitigate risk and it’s all falling to you

Recruiting not challenge for your department? Here’s another example of a function that can chip away at an HR department’s time:

Problem Example: Compliance audit… Form I-9 audits are the last thing on an HR professional’s to-do list, but once you’ve been audited by the federal government the priority suddenly shifts.

Solution Example: Clean up the Form I-9’s really fast in response to a DOL audit and train HR team and supervisors who were helping staff complete the forms.

Outcome Example: Eliminate or reduce stiff financial consequences which could have short and long-term impacts on organization, talent and culture.

The hidden project factor: A key project management topic that is often skipped is quality. Determining quality factors should also be on your list of objectives to discuss with potential consultants.

Remember that project support is about just-in-time expertise and capacity-building.  Increasing your comfort level for calling a search firm when you need help with talent acquisition, and other key functions such as compensation strategy, performance management, compliance audits or thought leadership? We can help you identify other opportunities to utilize outside support.

It’s OK to ask for help.  You’ll be the hero when you deliver the outcomes your organization needs!

Lisa Wright Ponce, MSHR, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, sHRBP
Director of Project Consulting
Nonprofit HR

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