Core Skills for HR Consulting

In earlier days the Human Resource department used to be more about record keeping, compliance, payroll administration, and event planning. This confined HR to be in a monotonous job with limited skill sets required to deliver the job. Even now I notice some organizations viewing HR in the same traditional cocoon of an administrative and transactional function, but the good and smart ones see it as a more strategic function. In my previous article, I talked about the changing economy and the need for HR to adapt and transform them as specialized HR Consultants. I will try to focus on the required skill sets for HR’s to maintain pace with the change and remain strategically important for the respective department and organization

The role of HR is more complex as of now. Today’s HR leaders are now expected to be a broader thinker, tech-savvy, adaptable, and agile enough to deal with a diverse and multi-generational workforce. The focus for HR is now to become a worker-centric function, spending their energies in building the organization culture and becoming a trusted workforce advisor. The organization today expects HR to be more influencing, data-driven, and credible concerning stakeholder management and workforce planning. This pushes HR to up-skill in critical areas and thrust on a more promising consulting role to manage human capital effectively. HR professionals will need to equip themselves with following skill for future success –

  1. Business and Financial Acumen – HR professionals should focus on understanding the organization’s business, functions, and external environment in which it operates. HR needs to identify the Why, What, and How of any business as this will help in taking decisions aligned with business goals. In all the organizations I have worked I used to devote ample time with the Business Managers in understanding different mandates to understand the role, responsibilities, and the alignment of position with business results. This always helped me in identifying a suitable fit. Designing of processes was also easy with an acquaintance of the Manager’s pain points.  The Financial domain is one of the important aspects which an HR should focus on. HR should be able to understand the cash flow statement, Balance Sheet, P&L account, and other metrics like Financial Ratios, ROI, Earnings, and Budgeting. A good way to gain this perspective is to consult with colleagues in Finance, regularly discussing the issues faced by the Managers and brainstorm supportive HR initiatives. Understanding the Business and Financial perspective can support HR in providing Consultation to senior management and help HR in aligning the HR activities
  2. People Analytics – HR people are now expected to be more analytical and data-driven. HR is fortunately involved in collecting a vast amount of people’s data, (almost 80% captured at the time of recruitment) which often remains unused. But the recent trends made HR analyze this data and link this with people’s problems. This can be used to attract, manage, and retain employees and improves on the ROI. To cite an example, an organization would be more capable of deciding on an appropriate pay mix if it is aware of the workforce demographics. The Recruitment process can be improved by the use of proper hiring metrics like CPH and Yield Ratio. Furthermore, analytics also help in testing the effectiveness of various HR policies and interventions. Companies like Ford, American Automaker, relies on insights gained through analytics in decision making for its workforce. HR can leverage the power of data analytics to make a better work environment, maximizing the productivity of the current diverse workforce of Millennials, Contractors, and Freelancers. The designing of proper programs, policies, and benefits for the current Gig workforce can also be addressed by creating a measurement system through data analytics
  3. People Skills – Technology doesn’t make the HR redundant, there is always a room for value addition if HR focusses on people. I see the future HR Managers as more of a Coach, Trainer, Motivator, Influential Leaders, and Change Managers. The current scenario of COVID-19 spread has impacted lives throughout the world, transforming the traditional workplace into a virtual world, making the workforce vulnerable to emotional distress and anxiety. Ensuring productivity and engagement now are primary concerns for every organization. In times like these HR should focus on social connection and engagement to maintain productivity levels, along with ensuring that employees feel supported, connected, engaged, and can take care of themselves and family. HR Should so focus on a new Consulting and influencing role equipped with skills of empathy, coaching, and leadership. A people-oriented HR professional would be able to guide individuals in their career prospects as well and coach Managers in becoming better people leaders
  4. Design Thinking – The concept of Design Thinking is transformational for HR as it brings a Human-Centric Approach to problem-solving. It brings an innovative approach to HR deliveries by organizing work and finding appropriate solutions based on people’s needs. Keeping the employee at the center of its delivery model HR identifies new approaches to design processes that deeply resonate with them. The process of Design Thinking starts with understanding the needs and frustration of customers with empathy, defining the problem, brainstorming solutions, choosing the most appropriate ones, and testing the applicability of suitable ones
  5. Compliance Mastery – Laws and policies are ever-changing and vary from state to state. The Corona virus pandemic has also impacted employee rights and lives together with employment conditions at workplaces. HR’s need to pay careful attention to relevant labor regulations while hiring, appraising, disciplining, and firing staff, failure to which can lead to heavy fines, expensive lawsuits resulting in discontented employees. HR needs to stay abreast of compliance issues by researching HR legislation and changes, attending appropriate training, seminars, and network with professionals who are tasked with the same HR responsibilities. In addition to this HR should also be flexible enough to comply with laws related to the Gig economy and remote workers to address concerns of the new economy
  6. Marketing or HR Branding – Marketing activities help HR in better talent management. HR professionals should be able to market the benefits, culture, and values of the organization. They should partner with the marketing team to develop scripting phrases, videos (like Employee Speak), and promotion on various media platforms. This helps HR in building an employer brand and creates a high-value proposition for the organization

All the above skills indicate that HR should transform as more specialized Consultants to cater needs of the rapidly changing world of work. As Specialists, they should equip themselves with a new range of skills, introduce new bold strategies, tools, processes, and metrics to create and sustain a successful employee experience for existing and future workforce

The Four Dimensional Human

Human Personality – A Four-Dimensional Game

Human personality is a blend of multiple dimensions. Each dimension contributes to the quality of our life and affects the overall health of a person. Talking on a broader concept it is a full integration of our well being mainly into Physical, Intellectual, Spiritual, and Emotional domains of everyday lives. Career, Environmental, Financial and Social domains sometimes are also included, but they are external to one’s personality. The result of all this integration is to achieve and sustain a higher level of well-being and characterize an individual, family, and community as healthily, happy, and prosperous. The focus here is on individual personality domains with ideas for improvement in each. Considering the internal domains every human being is characterized by four important Dimensions as below –

  • PQ – Physical Quotient
  • IQ – Intelligent Quotient
  • SQ – Spiritual Quotient
  • EQ – Emotional Quotient

Physical Quotient (PQ) – This is the physical dimension that defines how healthy the person is. Your hearth is very important and so is to build strength, flexibility, and endurance. To achieve a healthy PQ one should focus on practicing healthy daily habits. In my view, there are four things which help you develop high Physical Quotient

  • Taking appropriate food at the appropriate time and in appropriate quantity
  • Physical exercise for at least an hour daily
  • Taking sound sleep for at least 6-8 hours daily
  • Spending leisure time with friends and family to feel relax and lighter

Intelligent Quotient (IQ) – This pertains to the level of Knowledge, reasoning, intellect, problem-solving, and decision-making skills of a person. This can be improved by maintaining a learning attitude so that your future becomes better than your present. We should always try to be a student throughout life be it Cognitive Domain, Skill Domain, or Attitudinal Domain. Small learning every day with an active and open mind leads to a life filled with passion and purpose. It also sharpens your mind and keeps your brain healthy and happy

Spiritual Quotient (SQ) – If we see it from a religious perspective its spirituality, but here I am not linking it to any organized religion or faith, rather trying to connect it with our inner self, our core thoughts and emotions. This dimension strengthens us to find inner peace of both mind and heart by adding purpose to our life, develop concern for other living beings and nature. People having high SQ can seek meaning and purpose in life with an open mind and inner peace. To cite an example – There is a Doctor who is working very hard but his intention is merely to earn money and have a luxury lifestyle, on the contrary a person in a similar profession is working to eradicate malnutrition from a country or whole world. Now both are working with the same efforts, making the same money and career but the later has a high SQ because the purpose is bigger and intended for well being of humanity. So developing a high SQ focuses on enriching our lives and that of others by sharing our special gifts, skills, talents, and resources with others through work or volunteering. Lastly I believe that we humans are built-in with spirituality within our core, it’s what, when we identify it and start living up to our potential for better, more satisfying lives

Emotional Quotient (EQ) – This refers to the emotional power and stability of a person. Emotional Intelligence is our ability to understand and regulate our own emotions in a positive way to communicate effectively, empathize with others, and handle conflict. People with high EQ find it easier to create interpersonal relationships, fit in group situations, and effectively deal with life uncertainties. They are apt in understanding their psychological state and correlate with the feelings and emotions of others to develop a win-win situation. Developing high EQ can help you excel in personal and professional life, forge stronger relationships, lead and motivate others. Some people are naturally good at EQ while others need to work on them. But the good news is that anyone can get better and improve their emotional intelligence. To improve on EQ one should work on below areas of emotional intelligence-

  • Self-Awareness – It’s about recognizing, evaluating and managing own emotions
  • Self-Management – Ability to get along with others and manage conflict effectively
  • Motivation – Resilience to stay determined towards goals even after failures
  • Empathy – Ability to put ourselves into someone else’s situation and responds to their feelings
  • Social Skills – Includes communicating clearly, listening carefully, inspire and influence others

We naturally have our priorities, approaches, and aspirations to live life fully, however, research shows that it is important to maintain a balance among all these Dimensions to lead a fuller, more satisfying life. An integrated and holistic approach towards all these dimensions allows you to become the best kind of person as per your potential, skills, and talents.

So what dimensions do you feel are strongest and which areas do you like to work on? What are you going to do to optimize all these dimensions to feel more fulfilled and contented? Feel free to seek out for support from a friend, family, or a Counselor

I wish you the whole person’s health in all areas of well-being

Being an HR Consultant


Over the years HR has tremendously evolved from being a record-keeping department to more strategic in driving employee engagement, company culture, and major changes. From a mere corner in the organization HR has moved to the Boardroom making it to be a valuable member of the executive team. Automation has been a boon in evolution by completing all mundane tasks more efficiently without any human intervention allowing the human effort to be saved. However there are many strategic HRM areas where automation has no role to play enabling the HR involvement into decision making roles impacting the organization and its functioning. This demands HR to come up with new skill sets adding value to the highest levels of the organization. It is so imperative for HR to equip themselves with Business acumen, Financial Intelligence, Analytics, Change Management, and a hybrid Leadership role. This will transform HR into more specialist HR professionals catering to the business needs of future organizations. To behave and act as a trusted advisor to business, HR should portray them as more specialized HR Consultants helping to build the future HR organization


An HR Consultant is a Management Professional who specializes in addressing human resource management tasks and decisions. They work with the motive of enhancing the efficiency of HR operations by devising and implementing appropriate policies and procedures highly compatible with the organization. Viewing the organization through Eagle’s Eye approach they can work to completely overhaul the organization’s human capital ensuring it serves the best interest of the company. An HR Consultant also performs the role of Organizational Development and Change Consulting thereby establishing a tested control system compliant with business processes and HR strategy


To be able to succeed in an HR consulting role, individuals must be armed with a solid HR education (A Bachelor or Master’s degree in Human Resource field) and plenty of experience. To deliver a successful holistic HR model an HR Consultant should have a clear understanding of all organizational functions and its alignment with HRM to easily identify related issues and inefficiencies and offer advice to remedy them. Apart from education and experience, one should have

  • Organizational and People Skills
  • Active Listening and Speaking
  • Critical Thinking
  • Negotiation
  • System Analysis & Evaluation
  • Time Management
  • Problem Solving
  • Service Orientation Approach

As a Senior Certified HR Professional from The Society of Human Resource Management I endorse the SHRM’s HR Competency Model because it portrays a comprehensive approach of both behavioral and technical competencies required for HR professionals


An HR Consultant addresses the actual HR issues with strategic thinking by analyzing a company’s current HR programs and recommending solutions. HR Consultant leads many diverse HR projects and provides effective human capital advice. They help the companies optimize almost every HR process as well as implement strategic HR plans and technology. According to the SHRM an HR consultant will “Perform advanced, specialized and administrative duties in a designated human resource program or section area” and is responsible for providing high-level support in the administration of a human resources program.” Human resource consultants thus shoulder the responsibility of creating and developing a robust HR Model, advise on its implementation and act as a custodian to it. From addressing questions on policy to conducting training sessions on complex HR procedures, HR consultants are largely responsible for setting up a highly compliant HR system concerning business requirements


Automation is one of the important forces which is transforming the nature of work in current organizations. Companies are now looking for new workforce strategies to maintain productivity with reduced costs. I was talking to an HR Lead of an organization a few days back, She shared her organization strategy of reducing the Recruiter job and hiring of Freelance HR Recruiter on lower cost as compared to existing staff. Often such decisions are painful and disruptive but this could be beneficial for the organization as it increases the cost and time efficiencies of the organization. Additionally it also helps the company to hire on-demand expertise even if they don’t have the budget to hire them full time, access global talent, and get the work delivered round the clock. This has given rise to a new business model called the Freelance / Consulting model which is extremely growing fast. More and more companies are now relying on this model to save on hiring expenses, reduce benefit-cost, and expedite their operations with quality deliveries throughout the day. This leaves a great opportunity for HR Consultants to emerge as a great talent pool with their knowledge and expertise as Specialists to different domains of HR


The beginning of this new decade is witnessed with the advent of start-ups and the emergence of an independent and agile workforce, with a shift from a full time 9-5 job to remote and project-based work, done by mobile and independent workers. This gave rise to a Gig Economy which consists of a large segment of self-employed, freelancers, independent contributors, and part-time workers. Where the Gig economy allows the companies to hire better talent off the balance sheet, on one side, it also helps the workers get more convenience, flexibility, and additional income. Consequently the Gig economy is becoming a norm with more countries as they start relying on more mobile workers considering it to be the most practical based solution. At the same time this has become a sweet spot for all those freelance professionals who are ready to sacrifice the corporate job and opt for the work they love and improve on their skill set. This could help them customize their services as per the needs of the organization. Companies are now counting on this Freelancer Tribe to get an immediate workforce, reduce cost, and innovate faster. The advent of this Gig economy is pervasive as it is also shaping the future of HR.


The “Gig Economy” has become a new world of employment dictionary stretching from Uber Drivers to freelance professionals. Organizations globally are reaping the benefits by offering their client a strong bench of Consultants with diverse talent and expertise. A recent study carried by Flexing It,   as ‘Professional Gig Economy 2018-19 Report Card, highlights the Gig economy as a prime feature of India Inc’s strategy. Large Indian corporates and professional services firms emerge as the largest user of flexible talent accounting for 72% of projects in 2018- 19. The top three skills in demand which account for 50% of the projects were Strategy, Technology, and Marketing followed by Finance and Human Resource. This shows that a lot of people in India also are joining the movement of the Gig workforce and are adding to the pool of talent accessible with flexibility. But the question is what does this highly flexible working culture offer to HR?? Although this possesses numerous organizational challenges it provides HR an opportunity to add value to the organization by taking on a new role as a Specialist or Consultant. The HR professionals have a great opportunity to take on a more strategic role by embracing the model first to themselves with specialist skills to serve the future organization. HR professionals have had a lot on their plates. But is the HR fraternity ready to adapt to this Gig workforce model as compared to 9 to 5 jobs? Are HR professionals ready to render their services as specialized HR Consultant?