Do You Need Strategic HR Advice?

August 25, 2016

Most owner managers and mid sized private companies would answer no, mostly because they do not know what it means or understand how it could benefit their organization. Human resources means payroll, people policies, and compliance. Many founders for example think that no one understands their people and the issues that they face better than them and so the question of a second opinion never arises. We get that and for most of the time that's how it should be. For most tightly run or emerging businesses there is no need for the extra horsepower.

However, sometimes an objective perspective can be the breakthrough that a challenging issue needs or pave the way to higher productivity or profitability. Every person that enters your office, be they senior executive, advisory board member or investor has an agenda and so where does that independent perspective come from? Sometimes you need someone to tell you like it really is, someone who can provide an objective, forthright critique on tough people or organizational design matters. Someone who will get out of your hair once they have and won't charge you an arm and a leg for the privilege.

We work typically with owner managers and private company CEOs directly or to supplement in house HR when significant business change is being considered. We have significant experience in working with executive management and boards and how we provide advice as much as what we actually do is what keeps our clients engaged.

We designed our business to accommodate the business cycle. We maintain a low overhead by having no high priced office or full time employees. Our long term partners contribute and get paid as needed and our clients avoid paying for their idle time. We compare favorably with both our competitors and internal resources and our model allows us the flexibility that competitors do not have. Clients experiencing difficult financial times for example continue to receive advice and executives in transition get help on job hunts and resume preparation all for no fee. We have been buyers of consulting help, previously having worked in large corporations and we appreciate the value of partnership over suppliership which you cannot do if you have never worked anywhere other than in consulting.

Our objective is practical help in a timely manner and we figure that if we do that well we will be invited back. Examples of the type of work we are asked to perform include:

  1. People Strategy - all companies understand the importance of strategy. Where these plans fail is in consideration of the people issues involved in transitioning from here to there. We help identify the right skills, training needs, how a new organizational model will impact culture and productivity plus a myriad of other implications.
  2. Compensation Policy - helping CEO's develop a pay philosophy and policy that addresses internal equity, job evaluation, pay at risk, incentive design, competitive positioning, and market comparisons. Common to successful companies is a clear and transparent pay system.
  3. Legacy Practices - companies in difficult times make decisions that they would never consider as a more successful enterprise but legacy practices somehow get overlooked and the longer they survive they become harder to replace and even recognize and do increasingly more damage. We work to facilitate consensus, audit and refresh policy and practices.
  4. Organizational Alignment - even the best companies fail to periodically realign pay incentives and people policy to their strategy. In our experience this prevents progress and at worst can destroy value and cause dysfunction. We work with clients to identify and correct misalignment.
  5. Mergers and Acquisitions - most fail to deliver their expected ROI because of people issues. The fundamental issues are all in place but acquirers fail to manage integration effectively, retention of key personnel, or nurture a new workplace culture. On the sale side we help owners stage their business for sale to secure a higher price with fewer conditions.

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