5 Small Business Myths About Hiring External HR Consultants Busted!

Business growth

If you’re the owner or manager of a small to medium business, you may have considered hiring a human resources consultant to help with your HR obligations and challenges. There are a lot of areas where SMBs get into trouble with their HR, such as:

  • Managing grievances e.g. bullying, sexual harassment
  • Unfair dismissals
  • Managing under performance of employees
  • Parental leave and the requirements for the employee and the employer
  • Managing absenteeism
  • Keeping up to date with HR legislation and implementing HR frameworks

.. and the list goes on.

However, there are a lot of myths surrounding the take-up of an external HR consultant. In this post, I bust five myths about hiring external HR consultants.

Myth 1: “I’m not sure they’d have a place in my business.”
Reality: Every business that hires and deals with employees most likely needs an HR consultant at some point. You may need your HR framework drawn up and implemented from scratch, a strategy for recruitment, help managing an employee’s performance, or a business restructure to best facilitate growth and change.

Myth 2: “Hiring an HR person would probably cost me an arm and a leg.”
Reality: Not hiring an HR consultant might end up costing you much, much more. Let’s look at unfair dismissal. In recent times, unfair dismissal payouts cost small to medium businesses sums of five figures or more. A recent sexual harassment pay out was  $130,000. Evidence suggests that these high costs are usually incurred due to a lack of compliant HR policies, procedures or poor documentation. Hiring an HR consultant means you’ll be fully compliant in all these key areas.

Myth 3: “They’ll just give me cookie-cutter advice that won’t apply to my business.”
Reality:  HR consultants come into your business tailoring a solution to your exact needs. For example, you may be managing the performance of your manufacturing manager. How can you manage the risk? HR consultants provide commercially viable and relevant advice helping you deal with any and all HR issues.

Myth 4: “These HR types will try and lock me into some kind of pricey ongoing agreement.”
Reality: HR consultants often work on a once-off or project basis. Depending on what business they assist, consultants don’t need to stick around for months or years on end. HR consultants can provide day-to-day or strategic advice with ongoing HR support.

Myth 5: “There’s no such thing as a freelance HR consultant, anyway.”
Reality: That couldn’t be further from the truth! Just like hiring an ace accountant or marketing pro, you can find many freelance HR consultants out there matching your business needs.


Melissa Behrend

Director at HR On Call

I am a Human Resources professional with over 20 years HR experience, and specialise in assisting small and medium size businesses. Specifically aimed at SME's without in-house HR departments. I have worked across many industries from manufacturing, mining, call centres, marketing and advertising businesses. HR On Call's Services can be tailored to any business, industry or not for profit organisation.

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Ling Lee

Ling Lee, at Digital Marketing and Personal Branding

Hey Melissa, great article! Didn't know freelance HR consultant existed!