HR consulting and change management consulting are offered by large consulting firms as part of their range of services and also by firms which specialise in this area alone. While strategy consulting focuses on issues such as efficiency and profitability, HR and change management consulting focus on particular areas specifically related to people management. These include:
- introducing new work practices successfully
- motivating staff
- developing new job descriptions
- developing compensation and benefits packages
- introducing performance management and incentive systems
- developing talent management and leadership programmes
- introducing HR technology systems and organisation development programmes (also known as OD).
This area focuses almost exclusively on people: what they do in their job and how they do their job. The work will vary depending on the project in question, but will generally involve a lot of interaction with a client’s employees. For example, you may be assessing current work practices with the aim of establishing which areas need to change and ensuring that these changes are introduced efficiently and effectively.
Typical activities include:
- communicating with multiple departments within an organisation
- delivering presentations
- introducing and managing performance appraisals
- writing and summarising reports
- communicating with external HR contacts such as recruitment agencies.
The skills needed for working in HR and change management
- Communication and interpersonal skills: well developed negotiating and listening skills and the ability to build relationships.
- Organisational ability and time management skills.
- Excellent attention to detail, as you may need to conduct or interpret salary surveys and analyse data.
- Excellent professional responsibility and ethics, as the work may involve reference checking, dealing with employment legislation and maintaining confidential records.
- Sound commercial awareness, in order to understand the wider business context that the firm is operating in.
- Strong numerical ability, for roles that focus on the more financial or numerical aspects of HR, such as compensation, benefits and pensions.
Salaries in change management or HR consulting are usually very similar to strategy consulting salaries as graduates are often employed by the same firm but in different divisions.