HR managers often go outside the organization for professional assistance from qualified consultants. These consultants are hired to solve a variety of HR prob­lems. In the past most consulting firms specialized in one or two areas of exper­tise, though many have now broadened their backgrounds in order to meet the expanding needs of their clients more effectively.

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The areas for which consul­tants are used most frequently are pension plans, executive recruitment, health and welfare plans, psychological assessment, wage and salary administration, job evaluation, and executive compensation.

When using the services of a consul­tant, it is important to select an experienced, reputable individual, to educate him or her about the corporate environment, and to have a clear and mutual un­derstanding of what the consultant is to do.

In recent years, outsourcing (the practice of contracting with outside firms to handle some HR functions previously performed in-house) has become a trend at companies of all sizes.

 

Outsourcing practice of contracting with outside vendors to handle specified HR functions

 

Unlike one-time vendor contracts, outsourcing contracts require months of study and negotiation to make certain that all the major and minor issues have been carefully examined and resolved. When outsourcing is used, the vendors are actually integrated into the firm.

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