Time Better Spent: How to Create More Value as an HR Consultant

HR & OD Consultants are under a great deal of pressure to provide services at the lowest possible cost, in the quickest possible time, and in the most impressive fashion. This is a constant client expectation that is not likely to go away any time soon (if ever!).  Clients will always ask for what’s better, faster and cheaper out there.

In order to increase understanding, it is typical for consultants to conduct employee surveys.  But to be effective, many find themselves in the predicament of poring over many spreadsheets for days on end, analyzing and interpreting numbers, translating data into more meaningful and actionable insights, and presenting them in a PowerPoint deck (or similar). Factor in the process of polishing and beautifying the slides, and the task can easily extend to weeks!  The problem is the cost of delivery.

While data accuracy and presentation clarity are non-negotiables in any project, consultants should keep in mind what matters most to clients – the result of the project. Ultimately, the gauge by which you are measured against is whether you successfully addressed your clients’ concerns, or not.

The best way to add value is to CONSULT

Aside from the hard-data analytics, the best value-adding consultancy work should also involve a lot of dialogues with employees and management to better understand the situation and develop the appropriate corrective strategies. After all, an online survey can only ever provide a part of the picture that needs additional qualitative data.  At the same time, you also need to digest all that data into visually appealing and understandable reports to effectively get the message across.

In your pursuit of an impressive client report, you must effectively manage your time between delivering an output in style without compromising on substance. That balancing act oftentimes seems unreachable when you have limited resources on your hands. Many times, a lot of the valuable dialogue is cut out because of the limited time available to work on the report data and presentation aesthetics.

This presents an interest dilemma, and a trade-off of sorts.  Given that budgets are rarely increasing, how does one go about adding more value?   One option is to reduce the cost of non-value-added tasks, like the collection and presentation of employee survey results.  But how?

Let Technology Work for You

Compromising substance over style may not be an issue any longer for the HR Consultant. If you are in the business of collecting and measuring employee feedback as part of your consulting projects, there are online survey tools available to the HR Consultant (ie. EmployeeLife) that deliver on accuracy, aesthetics, and speed at a fraction of the cost.

As an example, an existing HR consultancy customer of EmployeeLife conducted an employee survey with 2,177 respondents. 50 reports were required, one for each manager, displaying results compared against both the previous survey and the overall result. Previously, this would have been an involved exercise taking several weeks to finalize.  But with a new shareable dashboard feature (such as this sample dashboard) that EmployeeLife just recently launched, the need to create PowerPoint presentations and charts manually may no longer be necessary. Adjusting the charts online and emailing the link of the shareable dashboard can now be completed in just a few minutes, and the two and a half weeks normally spent on report preparation can now be better spent on activities that add further value (for the same budget).

Timesavers abound

Aside from technology, there are a great number of timesaving options that can help you take the non-value-adding work off your plate.  Take, for instance, Virtual Assistants. There are a number of outsourcing companies worldwide (such as Kinetic Innovative Staffing) that provide highly-skilled remote staff who can do your data tables, graphs and presentations at a highly reduced cost as compared to how much you may charge for your own services. There are also outsourced experts specializing in managing surveys who can conduct the entire survey for you for a fraction of what it might already be costing.

The old adage “Don’t work hard, work smart,” will pay off immensely with just a little research and creativity. By shifting your time and focus (with the help of new technologies and trends) towards more value-adding work, your clients, their employees, everyone’s bottom line, and your reputation, will all come out as winners.