What Does an HR Transformation Consultant Do?
The HR transformation consultant helps companies make substantial changes to their general HR strategy and HR processes through change management.
Human resources are a dynamic industry, but companies often implement strategies that become stale over time. So that the HR transformation strategy doesn't hurt daily work, organizations hire transformation consultants.
The HR transformation consultant needs to stay on top of the latest changes in HR services, technology, practices, and general understanding.
HR modification is a much more substantial change than an incremental improvement such as updating HRIS. The transformation often follows other significant organizational design changes that aim for high performance inside the company.
The modern HR transformation journey revolves heavily around technology and has four main segments:
- Digitize data and information
- People analytics
- Digital interactions and communications
The article will provide everything modern HR change consultants do and the requirements to become one. Let's start.
What Exactly Does an HR Transformation Consultant Do?
In the 1990s and early 2000s, HR transformations focused on high efficiency and low costs. Modern HR business transformation aims to do the same thing. But instead of doing it through different HR functions, today, professionals achieve it through maximizing employee contribution.
To deliver measurable improvements, the HR transformation programme needs to possess thorough information regarding the timeline, budget, and possible issues that can appear.
For a new payroll or workforce strategy to effectively impact, a broad range redesign of human capital must precede. Learning the consultant's role is helpful to seasoned HR professionals and those aspiring to become one. So, let's cover what transformation consultants do.
Minimize Manual & Administrative Work
According to American Psychological Association, 79% of employees experience work-related stress. Transformation consultants don't just advise about improving workforce strategy inside the HR department but across the company.
To improve efficiency, the advisor will advise and help implement technology that minimizes manual and administrative work. By doing so, a business aims to reduce costs and the time to finish a job.
The HR consultant does so by analyzing the current workforce status and what are the primary business needs. They can also do performance benchmarking to understand employees' performance better.
After assessing the situation, the advisor will often suggest solutions to reduce the load of manual and administrative work.
People Analytics as a Key HR Strategy
The HR department relied on experience and instinct to make critical business and employee decisions for a long time. With the technological spur in HR, more and more departments started using analytics to support their decision-making.
But since many departments lack analytical knowledge, an organization often needs consulting and support to get any benefits from the information. Some might not even be aware of the innovation. The HR consultant helps by implementing the HR process and HR technology into the existing operating model.
People analytics is an innovative HR tool and requires an understanding of tools outside the usual HR toolset. So the consultant can also help with coaching so that employees master the needed skills.
That doesn't mean the consultant necessarily is the one who does the training. Their main goal is change management. In other words, they are providing innovative and strategic ideas alongside the means of achieving these ideas.
As part of the consulting services, the professional will suggest services to help achieve the transformation. The same goes for other consulting jobs.
Increase Data Security
With digitalization comes the risk of a data breach. To ensure the HR modification doesn't hurt the business, the consultant also advises clients on ways to secure their information.
Some of the common tactics to increase digital security that the consultant might advise are:
- Partner IT & Legal Team - By developing a steady flow of information between the IT and legal teams, digital security becomes more efficient.
- Permission Administration- Instead of giving everyone unrestricted access, the consultant might advise giving only the necessary permissions.
- Encryption - While most HR technology encrypts files, that's not the case for files your HR department exports from Excel. As part of digital security, the consultant can advise encrypting such files.
- Security Training - Compromise might happen due to an employee becoming a phishing victim. Coaching sessions prevent that from happening.
Unlike a management consultant, who works strictly with team managers and employees higher in the hierarchy, the consultant works with the entire staff if necessary for the particular company's HR modification.
Legal & Regulatory Compliance
According to PWC, 60% of executives see digital transformation as the leading growth factor. As companies rush to digitalize every HR function, they can forget that digital changes are immune to regulations.
While growth is necessary, it's also essential to stay on top of any current and future legal changes. Before progressing with any significant shift, the HR transformation consultant should inform the client about any possible compliance steps and support during the process.
Although not the most active job, it should be essential for consulting services.
Analyze Talent & Employee Requirements
A company's talent pool might function on the same rules for years. Same as the work approach becomes stale and inefficient, so can the employee management. In cases like that, the consultant can advise changing the current roaster.
Some parts of business transformation aren't pleasant. Realizing that you need to transform how you manage employees or even the top management itself can be harsh.
Replacing the old operating model with a new one can also mean creating a more competitive salary system to attract new talent and other similar processes.
Since clients might disagree with such a change, the HR transformation consultant must include thorough planning in their change management.
Presenting issues, benefits, costs, and a strategy is essential for delicate processes and shifts.
A significant shift doesn't just impact the business but also the employees. Although it can seem the consultant's job is over once the transformation is over, this can leave the company in shambles.
Every team inside the company needs to adjust to the transformation. Adjustment requires stellar team management and support. It's the consultant's job to advise clients on transformation development and post-transformation collaborations.
Collaboration is the quickest way for a team to master new tools and systems. As part of change management, the consulting professional must help their clients implement solutions and use the results.
Role Requirements & Skills
HR change management is a long and delicate process. An HR transformation consultant doesn't need expertise in every required segment of a successful transformation. But they must possess the knowledge of how to achieve the goal.
Furthermore, every company has unique requirements, forcing the consulting professional to adjust to every client specifically. Here are the requirements and skills you must have to excel in the position.
Experience in Redesigning HR Processes
Since the core of any transformation is change management, the consulting professional must have substantial experience in managing and implementing new technology, strategies, and similar development tactics.
The requirement is a robust mix of soft skills such as leadership, communication, and experience.
Not all HR professionals participate in implementing changes, so if you hope to move to the consulting position, aim to gain as much experience as possible.
Great Consulting Skills
Consulting skills tie to soft skills. While you can have the "know-how," it's of little use if you don't know how to communicate the strategy both to managers and employees.
A professional consultant should possess the following soft skills:
- Proactivity & strong work ethic
- Stellar oral & written communication
- Team player
- Conflict resolution
- Persuasion & negotiating
Although you can always add additional soft skills, these are the core ones for any consultant.
HR Department Experience
Although the focus is on consulting and transforming the business, the core is still HR. Meaning that the HR consulting professional needs to have experience with daily HR.
This means that the consultant must have experience with at least some primary HR segments. Segments are:
- Compensation & benefits
- Recruitment & onboarding
- Training & development
Direct experience with HR is mandatory to offer proper services.
MS Office Proficiency
Since the consultant spends a lot of time presenting results and development progress to clients, they need extensive knowledge of the MS Office Suite (Word, Excel, Powerpoint).
You can use other text and presentation software. Still, since an average business uses MS Office, it's advisable to focus on those or similar ones such as Google Slides and Google Docs.
The HR transformation consultant must have a bachelor's degree in HR, project management, or any related field.
Furthermore, clients prefer HR professionals who possess specialized consultant certifications such as CHRC or any general HR certification from a reputable organization like SHRM.
Finally, the consultant can benefit from a master's degree, although the degree isn't mandatory for the job.
Here are the most commonly asked questions and answers about HR transformation consulting.
What is a transformation strategy?
A transformation strategy is a plan that describes the complete process of adjusting HR and other business segments to improve efficiency. The plan acts as a blueprint and includes all vital information such as the developing process, costs, timeline, and roles.
What is the average HR transformation consultant salary?
According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary in the US is $101,674. The highest recorded salary is $121,060 per year, while the lowest salary is $49,012 per year.
What is digital HR transformation?
HR digital transformation is automating manual tasks inside the HR department and implementing a data-driven approach to decision-making concerning hiring, employee productivity, etc. The digital modification works best when it encompasses the entire business instead of a single department.
Josh Fechter is the founder of HR.University. He’s a certified HR professional and has managed global teams across 5 different continents including their benefits and payroll. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.