How To Start an HR Consulting Business

How to become an HR Consultant

Starting an HR consulting business is a natural progression for many professionals with a solid background in human resources. If you’ve been contemplating how to become an HR consultant, it’s essential to recognize that both your academic background and practical experience in the field will serve as your strongest assets.

Your real-world exposure to HR roles provides invaluable insights into the multifaceted challenges organizations face.

Think about it: how can one advise on conflict resolution without having navigated workplace disputes firsthand? Or suggest effective hiring strategies without truly grasping the intricacies of the recruitment process? It’s the hands-on experience in roles spanning recruitment, employee relations, and organizational strategy that translates your theoretical knowledge into actionable consultancy skills.

As you consider setting up an HR consultancy, remember that your past roles have prepared you for this step. Now, it’s about harnessing that expertise to guide businesses and solidify your presence in the HR consulting realm.

As you go through this article, if you find everything a bit overwhelming, or you are still not sure where to start, reach out to me. I have over 25 years of experience in building successful HR consultancies internationally and can help you do the same.

Click to book in your free consultation.

Choosing a career as an HR consultant is about more than just a title—it’s about passion, expertise, and the drive to make a tangible difference in the world of business. But who exactly is well-suited for this endeavor? Let’s delve into the mosaic of roles and careers that often provide a smooth transition into HR consultancy.

What do HR Consultants do?

In the dynamic arena of business, where organizational nuances and workforce complexities converge, HR consultants emerge as pivotal architects. The heart of a successful and thriving business. But what, precisely, do they do on a day to day basis?

An HR Consultant is involved in:

  • Strategic Human Resource Planning: They’re not just about solving immediate HR issues. These consultants craft long-term strategies, aligning the workforce with overarching business goals and visions.
  • Talent Management: From acquisition to retention, HR consultants strategize to attract the best talent, ensure their integration into the organizational fabric, and foster an environment where they can thrive.
  • Training & Development: Recognizing skill gaps and orchestrating training programs, they empower employees to continually evolve, enhancing both individual and organizational prowess.
  • Compensation Analysis: Ensuring that remuneration packages are competitive and aligned with industry benchmarks, these experts facilitate the attraction and retention of top-tier talent.
  • Organizational Design: Whether it’s restructuring teams, crafting new roles, or streamlining hierarchies, HR consultants provide insights to optimize organizational structures.
  • Employee Relations: Mediating between management and staff, they address grievances, foster open communication channels, and ensure harmonious workplace dynamics.
  • Diversity & Inclusion: Championing a holistic workforce, HR consultants advise on creating workplaces that celebrate diversity and promote inclusivity.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Navigating the maze of labor laws, they ensure businesses remain compliant, mitigating risks and protecting organizational reputation.
  • Change Management: As businesses evolve, these consultants help smoothen transitions, ensuring that changes—be they technological, structural, or cultural—are seamlessly integrated.
  • Performance Management: By designing appraisal systems, feedback mechanisms, and performance metrics, HR consultants facilitate the objective evaluation and growth of employees.

How much do HR Consultants make?

Compensation in this field often mirrors the depth of expertise, adaptability, and the value provided to clients. As businesses increasingly recognize the strategic importance of HR, consultants equipped with the right skills and knowledge can find themselves well-compensated indeed!

Some factors that play into the amount of money HR consultants make:

  • Experience Matters: A novice HR consultant might start with a modest salary or project fee, but as experience accrues, so do earnings. Mastery in niche areas, a strong client portfolio, and a track record of success can significantly amplify compensation.
  • Specialisations Pay: HR consultants specializing in sought-after areas, such as diversity and inclusion, leadership training, or remote workforce strategies, often command higher fees. Staying attuned to industry trends and upskilling accordingly can boost earning potential.
  • Geography and Market: The locale of operation and the target market play crucial roles in determining salary. International consultancies or those operating in bustling business hubs often witness elevated pay scales.
  • Value Beyond Salary: Beyond the direct compensation, a successful HR consultancy career offers intangible rewards. Building robust client relationships, impacting organizational cultures, and contributing to business success stories provide a satisfaction that transcends monetary gains.

So, how do you start an HR consultancy?

Below we are going to cover 6 core areas to focus on when starting your HR consultancy. So let’s get started with…


1. HR Training and HR Education

Your background in HR, perhaps with a Bachelor’s degree in HR or Business Administration, provides a solid foundation. But setting up an HR consulting business necessitates a deeper, more specialized understanding.

Consider furthering your training and deepening your knowledge with:

  • Advanced Studies: To deepen your expertise, consider further academic pursuits such as a Master’s or even a Doctorate in HR-related disciplines. These often encompass comprehensive subjects like strategic human resource planning, advanced HR analytics, and organizational behavior.
  • Certifications: Showcase your proficiency in HR niches with certifications. Institutions like the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) are renowned for their courses. Acquiring certifications like the SHRM-CP or the SHRM-SCP can spotlight your skills in operational and strategic HR management.
  • Focused Learning: Workshops, specialist business coaching programsMasterclasses, Masterminds, seminars, and online platforms like Coursera, Udemy and LinkedIn Learning offer opportunities for targeted growth. These platforms & opportunities not only enhance your HR toolkit but also offer networking chances, exposing you to the latest in HR challenges and innovations.

Mastering HR Skills: Staying Ahead of the Curve

With those elements under your belt, you now want to move into mastery of those aspects and other skills you’ll need for a successful consultancy. This is where the real magic lies, in mastering the various facets of human resources.

Here are eleven actionable ways to elevate your professional HR skills:

  1. Engage with HR Industry Publications: Regularly read industry magazines, journals, and publications such as HR Magazine and Harvard Business Review. They provide insights into current trends and best practices.
  2. Online & Offline HR Networking Opportunities: Join HR forums and groups like or local HR associations. Engage in discussions, share experiences, and learn from peers.
  3. HR Coaching & Mentorship: Seek out a mentor or coach in the HR field. Their guidance, drawn from years of experience, can be invaluable. For more information on how we here at Mindability can help in this respect, click here.
  4. Soft Skills Training: Emphasize communication, negotiation, and leadership skills. While these may not be HR-specific, they are crucial for effective consultancy.
  5. Engage in HR Webinars: Platforms like HRWebinars offer online sessions on a plethora of topics, allowing you to deepen your knowledge from the comfort of your home.
  6. Real-World HR Practice: Take on challenging roles or projects in your current HR position. This hands-on experience will hone your skills more than any theoretical course can.
  7. Stay Tech-Savvy: The HR tech landscape is ever-evolving. Familiarize yourself with tools like HRIS (Human Resource Information Systems) and advanced analytics platforms.
  8. Legal Know-How: Regularly update yourself on employment laws and regulations. Websites like SHRM often provide updates and explainers on these topics.
  9. Continual Feedback: Continually seek feedback on your work. Constructive criticism can be one of your most potent tools for improvement.
  10. Continued Education: The world of HR is dynamic. Consider pursuing advanced degrees or certifications every few years to stay updated and to be seen as the authority in your space.
  11. HR Books: HR focused books & eBooks, such as my ebook ‘Know and Sell Your Worth’, will give you the clarity, confidence and skills you need to excel in this space.


Hungry for more content to grow your HR consultancy?

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2. Setting Up Your HR Consultancy

After solidifying your knowledge base and mastering vital HR skills, the next step in your journey is translating this expertise into a thriving consultancy.

Setting Up Your HR Consultancy is about seamlessly merging your rich human resources background with the intricacies of entrepreneurship.

As you pivot from an HR specialist to an HR consultancy business owner, understanding the entrepreneurial realm becomes paramount. This encompasses everything from pinpointing market opportunities to navigating legal complexities and harnessing the latest technological tools. Let’s delve into the specifics of establishing your very own HR consultancy.

Understanding the Human Resources Market

Before launching your HR consulting business, it’s essential to grasp the industry’s heartbeat. This may include:

  • Pinpointing the Right Target Audience: Given your rich HR background, identify businesses in dire need of HR consulting. Is your region bustling with startups? Maybe it’s the SMEs without an in-house HR team or even well-established firms seeking specialized HR services?
  • Scoping Out the Competition: A deep dive into competitors’ offerings provides clarity. How do they price their services? Which HR areas are they majorly focusing on? This insight helps tailor your offerings and potentially outshine them in quality and cost.
  • Finding Your Unique Space: In the vast HR consulting realm, what’s your edge? Maybe you bring expertise in leadership coaching or diversity initiatives, setting you apart.
  • Gathering Preliminary Feedback: Early engagement, like concise surveys or group discussions, can yield insights into prospective clients’ expectations, refining your offerings from the get-go.

Legal Foundations for Your HR Consultancy

Setting up an HR consulting business means navigating a web of legalities with precision. This may include:

  • Business Entity Decision: Whether it’s a sole proprietorship, LLC, or corporation, this choice has ramifications on tax, liability, and operations.
  • License Acquisition: Depending on your location and service spectrum, specific licenses are mandatory. Engaging with local business counselors or legal experts can be a game-changer here.
  • Mastering Labor Laws: Given the nature of HR consultancy, a deep dive into local employment laws is non-negotiable. Staying updated ensures your guidance remains compliant and relevant.
  • Risk Mitigation with Insurance: Safeguard your consultancy with options like professional liability or E&O insurance. This protection is vital, given the advisory nature of your role.

Embracing Technology in your HR Consultancy

In today’s digital era, the fusion of technology and HR expertise can set your consultancy on a trajectory of success.

  • HR Software Integration: Platforms aiding in applicant tracking, benefits administration, or performance assessment, like BambooHR, can enhance your consultancy’s efficiency manifold.
  • Optimal Client Relations: CRMs such as Salesforce simplify client interaction tracking, ensuring you never miss a beat with leads and current clients.
  • Harnessing HR Data Analytics: Leverage tools that turn HR metrics into actionable strategies. This forward-thinking approach doesn’t just benefit clients but also solidifies your consultancy’s modern stance.
  • Tech Prowess Maintenance: Staying updated is the name of the game. Ensure you’re abreast of the latest HR tech through continuous learning, webinars, or even HR tech-specific certifications.


3. HR Business Model: How To Establish Yours

Embarking on the HR consultancy path requires a strategic foundation that extends beyond core HR competencies. At the heart of your venture’s triumph is a fluid, yet robust, HR consultancy business model and blueprint.

Such a business model not only sheds light on your pricing mechanics but also encapsulates the core of your consultancy – the suite of services, client collaboration strategies, and the unparalleled value proposition.

Let’s unpack the key components of an effective HR consultancy business model.

Your ‘HR Consulting Services’ Spectrum

Your consultancy’s efficacy hinges on a meticulously designed service spectrum, encapsulating the vast realm of HR solutions that is specific to those you have chosen to target and focus on .

Here’s a closer examination of the aspects you could include in your HR business model.


Strategic Recruitment Consultancy

Talent alignment is about bridging an organization’s mission with candidate aspirations. You could offer:

  • Proactive Recruitment Design: Marry a company’s vision with a recruitment strategy resonating with future growth.
  • Talent Reservoir Creation: Maintain a ready pool of potential fits, streamlining the hiring process.
  • Expert Headhunting: Handpick professionals for senior or specialized roles.
  • Recruitment Data Harnessing: Leverage analytics to optimize recruitment, evaluate hiring avenues, and anticipate future talent needs.

Leadership Capacitation

As organizations evolve, leaders need tailored skill sets. You could offer:

  • Emotion Mastery Training: Facilitate leaders in comprehending and navigating emotional landscapes.
  • Guided Decision-making: Arm leaders with methodologies syncing decisions with business aspirations.
  • Conflict Navigations: Equip them to transform disagreements into team-building moments.
  • Nurturing Future Leaders: Construct pathways to spotlight and groom emerging organizational leaders.


Enterprise Evolution

Organizational architecture and cultural essence significantly dictate success trajectories.You could offer:

  • Transformational Guidance: Offer strategies for profound shifts, from tech adaptations to mergers.
  • Cohesion Crafting Workshops: Design experiences that bolster team synergy.
  • Culture Tailoring: Work alongside enterprises to mold and amplify a resonant company culture.
  • Performance Enhancement Mechanisms: Foster regular, constructive feedback loops for employee growth.

Holistic Employee Well-being

Nurturing employees’ multifaceted well-being directly influences productivity metrics. You could offer:

  • Mental Wellness Initiatives: Services like professional counseling or decompression workshops.
  • Harmonizing Work-Life Dynamics: Advocate flexible schedules, remote roles, or recharging breaks.
  • Physical Health Endeavors: Options range from health assessments to wellness classes.
  • Financial Well-being: Host enlightening sessions on money management and investment strategies.

Championing Diversity & Inclusivity

In our interconnected age, diversity amplification and inclusivity are business imperatives.

  • Diversity Enlightenment Workshops: Educate about the intrinsic value of diverse workspaces and address latent biases.
  • Fair Recruitment Architectures: Foster hiring avenues that welcome diversity.
  • Cultural Respect Training: In global teams, cultural nuances become pivotal touchpoints.
  • Promoting Diverse Leadership: Champion diverse voices at decision-making echelons.

Each service facet offers a tapestry of opportunities, and there are more within each category that you could include and tailor to your audience.

By immersing into their depths, your consultancy stands poised to not merely offer solutions but also curate transformative journeys for your clientele, leading to a long and sustained career as an HR Consultant.

Engagement Models: How Will You Charge For Your HR Consulting Services?

The way you engage with your clients is as crucial as the services you offer. Your engagement model should reflect your business ethos, client preferences, and market dynamics.

Here are a few models to choose from:

  • Retainer-Based Model: This is a consistent, long-term engagement where clients pay a fixed fee, often monthly, for a set of services. It’s ideal for clients looking for ongoing HR consultancy, such as large corporations or rapidly growing startups. The predictability of revenue is a boon, but it also means committing to consistent, high-quality service delivery.
  • Project-Based Model: Here, you provide HR consultancy for specific projects. For instance, a company might hire your services solely for leadership training or recruitment drives. This model provides flexibility and allows you to work with multiple clients simultaneously. However, it might lead to variable revenues as projects begin and end.
  • Hybrid Model: A fusion of the retainer and project-based models. You might have a base retainer fee for specific services and then charge additionally for particular projects. This offers a blend of revenue predictability and the flexibility to take on diverse assignments.
  • On-Demand Model: Evolving in the digital age, this model allows clients to seek your services as and when needed, often leveraging digital platforms. It’s the most flexible but requires you to be agile and responsive.


4. Attracting Clients for Your HR Consultancy

As you will be well aware, a thriving HR consultancy is built not just on the services it offers but also on its ability to attract the right clientele. While your expertise forms the core of your HR business, showcasing it effectively is essential.

Here are some tried and tested avenues to help you attract new hr clients.


Build Your Network & Expand Your Reach

In the realm of HR consultancy, your network is often synonymous with your net worth.

Establishing and nurturing professional relationships can open doors to untapped opportunities. To begin to build this network, try these three strategies/outlets below:

  • HR Conferences: These gatherings are goldmines for networking. Attend local, national, and even international conferences to gain insights and meet potential clients and collaborators. Besides gaining clients, you might find mentorship opportunities or even potential partnerships.
  • Join HR Associations: Being a part of professional bodies, such as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) or the International Association for Human Resource Information Management (IHRIM), lends credibility to your consultancy. These associations often have networking events, webinars, and workshops that you can benefit from.
  • Partnerships and Cross-Referrals: Form strategic alliances with businesses that offer complementary services. For instance, an HR tech firm might refer clients to you, and in return, you could suggest their software solutions to your clients. Such symbiotic relationships can significantly expand your client base.


Creating & Marketing Your Content: Establish Thought Leadership

In the digital age, your online presence is a reflection of your expertise. Crafting valuable content can position you as a thought leader in the HR domain. So why not try:

  • Blogs & Articles: Regularly publish content on pertinent topics. Articles like “the evolving role of HR in a post-pandemic world” can attract a readership that includes potential clients.
  • Infographics: Visual content, especially infographics that distill complex HR data or trends, can be widely shared, increasing your online visibility, trust and authority.
  • Webinars & Workshops: Hosting or participating in HR related webinars showcases your expertise in real-time. It’s an opportunity to provide value, answer queries, and subtly market your HR consultancy services.
  • Social Media Engagement: Platforms like LinkedIn are crucial for HR professionals. Share insights, comment on industry trends, and engage with peers and potential clients.


Build HR Client Case Studies & Reviews

As you’ll also be aware, trust is a cornerstone in any consulting business. Potential clients are more likely to engage with you if they see positive feedback from previous clients. So you should actively:

  • Encourage Reviews: After successful project completions, gently nudge clients to leave reviews on platforms relevant to your business, like Google, Glassdoor, or even your HR consultancy’s website.
  • Showcase Client Reviews: Dedicate a section on your website to client testimonials. These first-hand accounts serve as powerful endorsements of your services.
  • Create Case Studies: Document the success stories where your HR consultancy made a tangible difference. Case studies offer prospective clients a window into your problem-solving approach, strategies, and results.
  • Promote Referral Programs: Consider establishing a referral program where existing clients can refer others in exchange for some benefits, like discounted services.

Attracting clients to your HR consultancy is a continuous process that combines strategy with genuine value delivery. By diversifying your approach and always staying attuned to the needs of your target audience, you can build a clientele that not only values your services but also advocates for them.


5. Ongoing HR Consultant Training & HR Consultant Mentoring

In the ever-fluctuating domain of Human Resources, stagnation is not a luxury one can afford. Defined by its swift pivots—rooted in socio-cultural evolutions, tech innovations, and sector-specific transitions—the HR arena calls for unwavering dedication to growth and agility.

The essence of an accomplished HR consultant is not merely anchored in their foundational expertise but in their drive to mature with the industry’s tides.

While structured courses—like those provided by renowned establishments or platforms—offer a meticulous grasp of contemporary HR issues and solutions, self-driven growth remains paramount.

Immersing oneself in industry updates, attending seminars, webinars, or even contemplating higher academic pursuits ensures you’re perpetually ahead of the curve.

Speaking of structured courses and platforms, Mindability Consulting is a specialist in HR business coaching and mentoring. We have structured HR business training programs and mentorship initiatives, ensuring HR professionals and consultants are perfectly positioned to start and grow their HR consultancy.

For full information on who we are and how we can help you, head over to our About Page Here.

Starting an HR consulting business is just the beginning of an exciting journey. Its long-term success and relevance come from a deep commitment to ongoing growth and learning. By continually investing in education and keeping abreast of industry changes, you solidify your consultancy’s position as a respected leader in the Human Resources sector.

6. Your Personal Guide to a Successful HR Consulting Business

The path to being a standout HR consultant blends expertise, adaptability, and fostering genuine connections. Whether you’re launching your new HR consultancy or looking to enhance an established one, a guiding hand can save you a lot of time and potential heart ache.

Mindability Consulting has over 25 years experience in building successful HR Consultancies internationally. From our ebook, masterminds, monthly training programs and one-to-one coaching, you are bound to find support for whatever stage your consultancy is currently in.

Our specialized services demystify HR consulting intricacies and position you at the forefront of industry trends. In the ever growing world of Human Resources, we believe continuous learning and expert mentorship can transform proficient consultants into absolute trailblazers.

eBook Available: A Must Read for New HR Founders

Ready to start or scale your HR consultancy business? Book in your free consultation call and let’s see how we can make that happen.

Ready to start or scale your HR consultancy business? Book in your free consultation call and let’s see how we can make that happen.

FAQs around HR Consulting

HR consulting refers to a specialized service where experts offer advice, strategies, and solutions to businesses in relation to their human resource functions. These functions encompass everything from recruitment, benefits administration, training and development, to workplace culture, compliance, and organizational design. HR consultants bring an external, objective view to help companies enhance their HR operations and align them with their business goals.

Anyone with a deep understanding of human resources, its functions, and its challenges can contemplate starting an HR consultancy. This often includes seasoned HR professionals, organizational psychologists, labor relations specialists, talent acquisition managers, and many others who have had careers that overlap with HR functions. However, what’s crucial is not just experience but also a genuine passion to help businesses navigate the complexities of human resource management.

An HR consultant offers expert advice and solutions to businesses for their human resource challenges. Their responsibilities can range from crafting effective recruitment strategies, advising on compliance and labor laws, designing training and development programs, to creating workplace policies that foster a positive culture. They may also specialize in areas like diversity and inclusion, compensation analysis, or change management, providing targeted solutions based on their expertise.

The earning potential for HR consultants can vary based on several factors including their expertise, specialization, geographical location, the scale of projects they undertake, and their reputation in the industry. On average, the median salary for HR consultants in the U.S. is between $60,000 to $100,000 annually. However, this figure can increase significantly for consultants with niche specializations or those who cater to large corporations. Additionally, independent consultants may charge hourly or project-based fees which can also influence their annual earnings.

A good HR consultant possesses a combination of deep industry knowledge, strong interpersonal skills, and a proactive mindset. They should be adept at understanding the unique challenges faced by different businesses and crafting tailored solutions. Analytical skills to interpret data, the ability to stay updated with HR industry trends, and a genuine desire to drive positive change within organizations are also vital. Above all, a good HR consultant listens to their clients, communicates effectively, and operates with integrity and transparency.

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