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When I tell people I’m an HR consultant, most people smile and nod… and they have no idea what it means.  What do HR consultants do? Why might you need an HR consultant? 

The question takes me back to May of 2010, when I called my first prospect to tell him I was starting a consulting firm. I was still deciding whether I wanted to specialize and which services I should offer, so I asked my prospect, the CEO of a 5,000-employee organization with over $100 million in revenue, “If you wanted to hire an HR consultant, what would you want them to do?” His answer was, “When can you start? My HR director just resigned.” I didn’t realize it at the time, but he had no idea what kind of help he needed. He just knew they had an open role, it would take some time to fill it, and he needed someone to figure out what needed to be done.

When I started Purple Ink, I assumed that HR teams and business leaders would have a need and call me to assist. It didn’t take me long to figure out that many of our clients and prospects knew there was a problem, that something was not working, or that they needed help, but they didn’t necessarily know what the solution might be. For example:

  • Their team was not working well together
  • They were not able to find good talent
  • They didn’t know what to do with a low or high performer
  • They were growing to over 50 people and realized they needed help from someone to stay in compliance or handle ongoing people issues
  • They needed help but didn’t know what kind of help they needed

In addition to our services in recruiting, outplacement, leadership training, and employee development – most of which most people have some understanding of – we also have this bucket called “consulting,” which can be tricky to define. Our clients or prospects might ask questions like:

  1. New recruits or employees are asking us, “How are we focusing on or prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion?”. What should we be doing?
  2. With starting salaries and wages getting higher and higher, what should we do about salary compression?
  3. We have a performance management process, but it’s long, difficult to get managers to complete, and/or not effective. What should we do?
  4. We are not attracting strong candidates for our open positions. We have the staff to do the recruiting, but can you help us with our branding and processes?
  5. We don’t have anyone responsible for HR, or our HR person just resigned, or we want to expand our HR team, but we are not sure what skills or requirements we need for the new hire. Can you help us figure that out?
  6. We have a transition in HR and we’d like the new hire to come in knowing where we stand on compliance and processes, as well as understand their priorities. Can you help us assess where we are?
  7. Two years ago we had a strong leadership team, but throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we became disconnected and struggled to agree on COVID protocols. I need us to move forward with a strong team. What ideas do you have?
  8. I love the book The JoyPowered® Organization, and in reading it, I realized we are not one. Where do we start?

This is why when someone nods and smiles after I tell them I’m an HR consultant, it’s a lot to explain.  It encompasses every issue, challenge, or success involving your employees.  What are your people issues, and how can we help? Learn more about our consulting services here, or reach out to us to discuss what we can do for your team.

JoDee Curtis
JoDee Curtis
JoDee Curtis is the Founder of Purple Ink, Powered by Purple Ink, and the ink pad, author of four books in the JoyPowered® series, and co-host of The JoyPowered® Workspace Podcast. She has a passion for helping organizations and individuals discover their talents, do more of what they do well through her speaking and training, and find joy in their work.

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