3 Common Misconceptions about HRMS Consultants

You’re selecting and implementing a new HRMS and to help you through the (sometimes torturous) process you’ve engaged the valuable advice and expertise of a specialist HRMS consultant. To take an alternative perspective on this particular element in the project, let’s take a look at three misconceptions that might lead to some project-damaging mistakes (purely to help you avoid them, naturally)…

1. They're an HRMS Expert, Therefore They're Expert on Everything

Put like that, it sounds ridiculous. However, when somebody is billed as an expert, is turned to for expert advice, and is paid as an expert, sometimes we unconsciously expect ‘expertise’ in everything. Remember that nobody is perfect, and that although you have a right to see the expertise you’re paying for, there will also be areas in which they may be anything but expert.

Guide: working with HRMS consultants - five steps to success

Your organization, for example. You can brief them well, and connect them to the right people in the hierarchy to facilitate their performance, but they can’t know your workplace like you do. Effective consultancy relies on a partnership being built between the inside and outside perspectives.

2. Consultants Can Be Left to Get on with It

Naturally, you don’t want to get in their way; that would be counter-productive, to say the least. But you do have to manage their performance, just like everybody else’s. As stated above, the ideal is to forge a partnership and if the organisation is a ‘sleeping partner’ then that creates a vacuum that even the most conscientious consultant may not be able to fill, leading to missed targets, milestones and outcomes.

3. It's The Responsibility of the HRMS Expert to Deliver

Absolutely. But deliver what exactly? This is why agreeing highly measurable and specific outcomes up front is critical. Be clear and agree what the consultant must deliver. Agree what support and resources they will need to do so, then provide them. Then measure performance against the agreed outcomes. But that doesn’t mean they’re responsible for the whole project, only for the precisely-defined tasks that you have engaged them for. They’re there to perform a very specific function or functions, provide the expertise and experience you’re lacking and deliver similarly specific results. Like any delegation, you can allocate responsibility (and the appropriate authority to discharge it) to the consultant, but the accountability stays with the relevant people in the organisation.

Of course, you don’t necessarily need an HRMS expert. It’s perfectly possible to find, buy and set up HR technology without outside help. But a well-chosen consultant with the right skill set and attitude, in receipt of appropriate support throughout the project can not only smooth the way but also have a positive impact on the speed with which you achieve your return on investment. But only if the organisation is clear on what the consultant is there to do, and what they are not… and if the consultant themselves has similar clarity.

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Dave Foxall

About the author…

Dave has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years, he now writes on a broad range of topics including jazz music, and, of course, the HRMS software market.

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Dave Foxall

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