I think there are too many “generalist” consultants in the market.To be competitive, you need to be able to offer something that others can’t. If so, how do you make sure you comply with legislation abroad? One of my selling points is that I can offer support to companies based in the UK and have operations overseas, requiring support there too.Our reporter, Sergio Russo interviewed Colin Mc Andrew who recently started his own HR consultancy firm, Col HR Ltd and asked him why…?
I think there are too many “generalist” consultants in the market.
What is your ideal strategy to develop a productive relationship?
I am not a salesman selling a product, I am an HR professional selling a unique service.
Today’s consultancy market is extremely competitive and standing out from the crowd can be very difficult. Do you believe it is more important to offer a general consulting service or specialising as a niche consultancy?
I target clients for different kinds of work and for different reasons.
Consider your capabilities, do you have the tenure or experience in HR to make a quick impact in a company?
These are all questions to be asked of yourself and there are a lot more, some that you will ask even once you have established yourself as a consultant. We are learning every day and as the challenges we face within business are changing, HR is constantly evolving to tackle them.The key is having the ability to maintain a good relationship and ensuring that the job gets done. If you are professional and can demonstrate a return on investment, then there is no reason why a client will not give you repeat business.You have to be mindful that some people in a business have considerable knowledge, so to tap into this information and benefit from it you have to show a certain level of respect. Evaluating an assignment is a critical part of the consultancy process, but sometimes it is complicated as it might deal with intangible benefits.I do not go to a client and tell them what they need, sell them unnecessary services and make promises that can not be kept.In order to build trust and gain respect I prefer to keep it simple.Every client is different, so I have to adapt my strategy depending on the client and the nature of the project. In these cases, how can we demonstrate that our involvement matches our client’s expectations? We need to make sure that we listen to what the client is trying to achieve and where they see us fitting in.Only when you have listened to their needs can you evaluate how to support them effectively.The companies who want to work with me are generally companies that are growing or going through significant change.I tend to find that I will be engaged to manage a particular project, which frees up the existing HR resources within the company or I am asked to provide knowledge and expertise on a specific area that the HR professionals within the company don’t have.Honesty, integrity, professionalism and manners cost nothing but make good business sense and provide the foundation to form long lasting relationships.How do you manage those clients who hire you for your expertise, but still want to have a say on how you carry out your work?