The impact of HR consultancy on operational success

By Tom Fisher

One of the greatest challenges for any growing organisation is keeping pace with rapid evolution. When you’re focused on managing the day to day, it’s easy to miss opportunities to improve operational efficiency and drive transformational change. Staying ahead of the curve and remaining competitive is essential to operational success. 


So how can you achieve this?


According to the Financial Times, around 90% of the UK's top 300 companies now use consultants. This statistic underscores the growing recognition that consultants add value to organisations, offering specific, high-value solutions to the complex challenges faced by businesses. As the heartbeat of your organisation, your HR function must evolve to drive operational success.


In this blog, we delve into the transformative power of HR consultancy and its ability to future-proof organisations and propel them forward. We'll explore some of the innovative strategies that go beyond the status quo, helping you navigate the complexities of modern business with confidence and agility. 


Let’s get started.

How HR is evolving

The role of human resources (HR) has been undergoing a profound transformation in recent years. HR is no longer a support function, confined to administrative tasks and compliance. Instead, HR plays a pivotal role in shaping organisational strategy, driving employee engagement, and fostering a culture of innovation and growth. 


Successful HR is paramount to the overall efficiency and effectiveness of any organisations greatest asset, their people and actively contributes to the achievement of organisational goals. 

1. Strategic workforce planning

HR professionals are expected to be strategic advisors, aligning HR initiatives with the overall business strategy. They are tasked with attracting and retaining top talent, developing leaders, and creating an inclusive and engaging workplace culture.


However, navigating this new role comes with its own set of challenges. Rapid technological advancements, such as artificial intelligence and automation, have disrupted traditional HR practices, requiring HR professionals to adapt quickly to new tools and processes. 


Additionally, the talent market is more competitive than ever, with a growing emphasis on skills and diversity. People are beginning to understanding their value, and now have higher expectations of their employers. No longer content to turn up to a workplace where they feel underappreciated, many are choosing lower pay scales in favour of positive company cultures that offer continuous learning and opportunities for professional growth. This puts additional pressure on HR to attract top talent, offer comprehensive learning initiatives and create strategic succession plans. 


Organisations are also facing increased pressure to innovate and stay ahead of the competition in a constantly evolving market where efficiency equals improved productivity and growth.

The challenge

In the face of these challenges, HR consultancy has emerged as a valuable resource for organisations seeking to optimise their HR function. HR consultants bring specialised expertise and fresh perspectives to the table, helping businesses navigate the complexities of the modern HR landscape. From implementing cutting-edge HR technology, designing talent acquisition strategies, or driving organisational change, HR consultancy offers tailored solutions to meet the unique needs of each client.


By partnering with HR consultants, organisations can gain access to the latest industry trends, best practices, and innovative strategies. These partnerships empower businesses to overcome obstacles, seize opportunities, and achieve operational success in an increasingly competitive business environment. 


In the following sections, we'll explore some of the specific challenges that consultants help to address.

The solution

Effective strategic workforce planning begins with a deep understanding of the organisation's objectives and challenges. By working closely with clients, HR consultants gain insights into their business goals, culture, and industry dynamics. This collaborative approach allows consultants to tailor solutions that are specifically aligned with the organisation's unique needs and aspirations.

How HR consultancy can elevate your operations

Strategic workforce planning is about more than just filling roles; it's about aligning your workforce with your organisational goals and future needs. Through a collaborative approach with clients, HR consultants can help organisations analyse their talent landscape, identify skill gaps, and develop comprehensive plans for talent acquisition, development, and retention.


One crucial aspect of strategic workforce planning is anticipating future talent needs. This has become more apparent in the last year as the emergence of AI has created a requirement for new skills to be developed while also making some existing skills obsolete. Keeping abreast of changes and analysing these market shifts, workforce demographics, and emerging skill requirements, HR consultants can help organisations to proactively identify the talent needed to achieve their long-term objectives.


HR consultants work with clients to assess their current workforce and pinpoint areas where skills are lacking. This involves evaluating existing company data on skill sets, competencies, and potential development opportunities. Surprisingly less than half (46%) of employers use data to identify skills gaps in their organisation, according to a new report by the CIPD and Omni. Consultants analyse data to identifying skill gaps early on and suggest proactive steps to address them. This could be through upskilling initiatives or sourcing talent to fill those gaps and ensure their clients have the right talent in place to drive business growth.


Armed with these insights organisations are better positioned to develop comprehensive plans for talent acquisition, development, and retention. Consultants can then support them to redesign their recruitment strategies, implement training and development programs, and introduce initiatives to enhance employee engagement and satisfaction so that they can hold onto their existing talent and create data management strategies so that they can continue to make informed decisions about their workforce.


Long-term strategic planning is an area where HR consultancy can offer added value to organisations. This is because their HR workforce are typically bogged down with administrative and support tasks which take up the majority of their time and human capital. Consultants offer the expertise and support needed to navigate these challenges effectively, ensuring that practises continue to evolve with the organisation.

Analysing future talent leads

Change is inevitable in today's business landscape, and effective change management is a must have for organisations that stand any chance of being adaptable. It involves helping organisations navigate complex changes such as mergers, acquisitions, and cultural transformations. HR consultants help organisations to develop comprehensive change strategies, engage with stakeholders, and equip leaders with the necessary skills for successful transitions. 

2. Change management and organisational design

Change management is essential for ensuring that organisational changes are implemented smoothly and effectively. Roughly 70% of change initiatives fail, making it more likely that change implementation fails than succeeds. What it really comes down to is poor change management. Fail to plan and you’ll plan to fail. HR transformation consultants offer an analytical, strategic and non-biased perspective to the table, coupled with their expertise in managing change processes, helping organisations anticipate challenges, mitigate risks, and maximise the success of change initiatives.


4. Employer branding and talent acquisition

Leveraging HR technology is essential to organisational and operational success. Consultants like ours play a vital role in guiding organisations through the process of identifying, implementing and optimising their HR technology to streamline processes, enhance efficiency, and drive strategic decision-making.


HR technology offers a whole host of benefits, from automating routine tasks to providing valuable insights into workforce trends and improving the employee experience. When technology is tailored to the needs of the workforce it has the power to unlock their full potential. The role of a consultant is to help organisations gain the most impact from their platforms, streamlining their processes, reducing manual work, and creating a more efficient and agile HR function.

Assessing client needs

The first step for any consultant is to understand the unique needs and objectives of their client. They work closely with organisations to assess their current processes, identify pain points, and determine the most suitable solution to meet their requirements. 


For some organisations this may involve advising on alternatives to their current platform through a vendor selection service which includes helping to define your requirements, preparing a request for proposal (RFP), negotiating with vendors and support in throughout the implementation process. Other organisations may require systems optimisation, improving on the systems they already have in place, utilising capabilities they didn’t know existed in their systems and suggesting changes in their approach to improve efficiency.  

3. HR Technology implementation and optimisation

digital learning technology

5. Leadership development and succession planning

Measuring the effectiveness of any initiative is crucial to understanding its success. HR consultants assist organisations in tracking key metrics such as candidate satisfaction, time-to-fill, and offer acceptance rates to gauge the success of their employer branding efforts. Based on these insights, HR consultants work with clients to adjust strategies, refine messaging, and reallocate resources to maximise the impact of their employer branding initiatives.


Employer branding and talent acquisition are crucial to the operational success of any organisation. Enhancing the candidate experience, leveraging digital platforms, prioritising diversity and inclusion, help organisations to thrive in a competitive market where traditional methods just wont cut the mustard anymore. 

The ROI of HR consultancy

6. Employee engagement and well-being initiatives

Lastly, but my no means least are employee engagement and well-being strategies. These are crucial factors in creating a positive and productive work environment and enhancing overall operational success. 


In fact, recent research by Deloitte, highlighted that organisations that prioritise employee engagement are 21% more profitable than those that don't.


Consultants like ours specialise in implementing initiatives that enhance employee engagement, promote work-life balance, and foster a culture of well-being throughout the organisation, but these initiatives need to be supported and adopted from the top down in order to be truly effective. 


Let’s explore some for the ways consultants can help organisations achieve this goal. 


Support from leadership


Effective employee engagement and well-being initiatives require buy-in and support from leadership. Consultants work with company leaders to champion these initiatives, communicate their importance, and lead by example. When leaders prioritise employee well-being and actively participate in engagement efforts, it sends a powerful message to the entire organisation and encourages widespread adoption of these practices.


Tailored well-being programs


Consultants help to design tailored well-being programs that address the specific needs and challenges of the organisation and its employees. These programs may include initiatives such as stress management workshops, mindfulness training, and fitness challenges. By understanding the unique demographics and work environments within the organisation, consultants can create programs that resonate with employees and have a meaningful impact on their overall well-being.


Promoting work-life balance


Work-life balance is essential for employee satisfaction and productivity. HR consultants assist organisations in promoting work-life balance by implementing flexible work arrangements, encouraging time off, and setting clear boundaries around work hours. Consultants also provide training and support for managers to help them effectively manage workloads and support their teams in achieving balance between their professional and personal lives.


Building Communication Channels


Open and transparent communication is essential to engage employees and fostering trust within the organisation. Establishing effective communication channels, such as town hall meetings, employee forums, and regular updates from leadership create opportunities for employees to voice their opinions, ask questions, and provide feedback. 


Well-being initiatives and a positive work culture are vital to enhancing the employee experience and engagement, supercharging productivity and ultimately driving greater operational success. 

About the author


Tom Fisher


Tom is Head of Client Engagement at Vitro which covers two key aspects: focus on maintaining and developing client relationships and using his experience as an implementation Consultant to lead solution ideation. Tom was a client within the construction industry before joining the team in 2018 and appreciates the importance of Vitro being a trusted partner. 


Tom actively supports clients to achieve their goals, reviews Cornerstone’s latest developments and seeks out new initiatives for clients which add value, and make a real difference to their strategic operations.  With a CIPD qualification, Tom specialises in learning and development and enjoys delivering a first-class relationship service.



Strategies to improve diversity

The market is saturated. Organisations seeking to attract and retain top talent must stand out.  Successful employer branding is all about positioning your organisation as the top choice for candidate in your industry. With the right strategy, you’ll have a long line of talented professionals knocking on your door, excited for the opportunity to work with you. 


But it’s not easy. 


In today’s environment the average employer expects much more of their employee than ever before, and this is particularly true. Culture and values play a key role. A study by Workbuzz found that 45% of UK employees list a “great” culture as the most important factor when looking for a new job. Consultants can offer organisations a critical analysis of their culture, and recruitment strategies and implement changes to improve their talent acquisition practises.

Enhancing candidate experience

The application process is possibly the first direct interaction that a candidate has ever had with your organisation. A positive candidate experience is essential to attracting the right people and ensuring the brand reputation remains strong. 


There's nothing worse than a complex, convoluted recruitment process. Consultants help organisations to streamline their process, ensure clear communication, and provide a seamless candidate journey from application to onboarding. Leveraging digital platforms such as applicant tracking systems and online assessments can help organisations create a user-friendly and engaging recruitment experience that leaves a lasting impression on candidates.


Consultants assist clients in leveraging their technology, social media, job boards, and company websites to showcase their culture, values, and career opportunities. Creating compelling content, engaging with potential candidates with patience and empathy, and leveraging targeted advertising campaigns can position an organisation as the employer of choice in today’s digital landscape.

Mentoring high-potential employees

Diversity and inclusion are key drivers of organisational success and innovation. HR consultants help organisations develop strategies to attract that diverse talent. This may include implementing inclusive recruitment practices, fostering a culture of belonging, and providing opportunities for career development and advancement for underrepresented groups. 


By prioritising diversity and inclusion in employer branding efforts, organisations can build a diverse workforce that reflects the communities they serve and drives business success.

Measuring impact and adjusting strategies

Succession planning is vital for ensuring continuity and stability within an organisation. Organisations should be prepared for such eventualities by developing comprehensive succession plans and talent pipelines to identify and prepare successors for key leadership positions. Addressing those skill gaps early on, and providing development opportunities can ensure a smooth transition when leadership changes occur. This minimises disruptions and maintains momentum towards achieving organisational objectives.


HR consultants help organisations cultivate a culture of leadership excellence and prepare them for the challenges of tomorrow.

Effective leadership is the backbone of any organisation. Leaders set the tone in any organisation and are just as responsible for developing a strong company culture as HR. Through leadership development and succession planning, HR can play a significant role in developing and nurturing future leaders. This creates a steady pipeline of talent ready to step into key roles when needed. Consultants can assist HR leaders to design tailored programs that develop leadership competencies, mentor high-potential employees, and facilitate smooth leadership transitions.

Leadership development

HR consultants collaborate with organisations to design and implement leadership development programs that align with their specific needs and goals. These programs may include workshops, seminars, coaching sessions, and experiential learning opportunities tailored to cultivate the skills and qualities required for effective leadership. 


Focusing on areas such as communication, decision-making, and strategic thinking empowers employees to grow into future leaders who can drive organisational success.

Succession planning

Identifying and nurturing high-potential employees is essential for building a strong leadership pipeline. HR consultants work with organisations to identify individuals with the potential to excel in leadership roles and provide them with targeted mentoring and development opportunities. Through one-on-one coaching, exposure to senior leaders, and stretch assignments, high-potential employees are groomed to take on greater responsibilities and contribute to the organisation's long-term success.

Importance of change management

Navigating complex change

Mergers, acquisitions, and cultural transformations are among the most challenging changes that organisations can face. These changes can impact employee morale, productivity, and organisational culture. HR consultants work closely with organisations to assess the impact of these changes, develop tailored change management plans, and support employees through the transition process.

Developing comprehensive change strategies

HR consultants develop comprehensive change strategies that address the specific needs and objectives of the organisation. This may involve conducting stakeholder analysis, identifying change agents, and designing communication plans to ensure that key messages are effectively communicated throughout the organisation. Involving stakeholders from the outset fosters buy-in and commitment to the change process.

Engaging stakeholders and equipping leaders

Engaging stakeholders is critical for the success of change initiatives. HR consultants facilitate open communication and collaboration between leaders, employees, and other stakeholders, ensuring that everyone is aligned and committed to the change goals. Consultants also provide training and support to equip leaders with the necessary skills to lead their teams through change effectively.

Implementing and optimising systems

Switching to a new HR system can be extremely daunting. Consultants help oversee the implementation process to ensure a smooth transition. This includes configuring the systems to align with the organisation's workflows, migrating data, and providing training to employees.


But it doesn’t end there. Once a new system has been implemented it should be carefully optimised to maximise its potential. Systems must be continually monitored to assess performance, identify areas for improvement, and provide ongoing support to users. In doing so, organisations can automate repetitive tasks, gain real-time insights, and make data-driven decisions that drive business success.


With the guidance of HR consultants, organisations can leverage technology to drive efficiency, improve employee experiences, and achieve strategic objectives.

Quantifying the impact of HR consultancy on organizational success is essential for demonstrating the value of these services and justifying investment in them. HR consultants help organizations measure ROI through metrics such as employee retention rates, productivity improvements, and cost savings. Additionally, case studies and success stories provide tangible evidence of the benefits of implementing HR consultancy strategies.


Measuring ROI Metrics


HR consultants work with organisations to identify key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with their business objectives enabling them to directly measure the impact of their initiatives. 

These metrics may include:

  • Employee retention rates
  • Employee engagement rates
  • Productivity improvements
  • Cost savings
  • Reductions in time-to-hire

Tracking these metrics helps you hold your consultants to account and calculate the value they add to your operational success. Quantifying the impact of initiatives allows organisation to make more informed decisions about investing in consultancy services.


As we navigate the complexities of the modern business landscape, it's clear that the innovative approaches and high level advisory offered by HR consultancy can both elevate and even redefine operational success for organisations. 


Partnering with consultants who have a deep understanding of your unique needs and challenges can help them unlock the full potential of their workforce and drive sustainable growth.


We encourage organisations to embrace the opportunities our consultancy services present and leverage them to create a workplace where employees feel valued, supported, and empowered to succeed.


Ready to take that next step? 


Reach out to us and supercharge operational success in your organisation.

digital learning technology

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