Even before you start a Consulting Assignment

As a HR consultant I work with several companies simultaneously and design HR solution that fits the client. It requires me to understand client’s priorities and business situation and culture as quickly as possible. Of course we talk to clients to understand their priorities but what is said is not always sufficient. Here are a few things I do to understand my clients better:

  1. Understand the industry in which the company is operating and see what kind of advice is given in whitepapers focused on the industry. Check how the market operates – fragmented or monopolistic
  2. Look at the annual document to understand how much does the company speak about its people. Most companies write about their people challenges and goals
  3. Look at company’s attitude towards its vendors and stakeholders. It could tell if the company is trying to be dictatorial or friendly as a way of operations
  4. Check what kind of reports the company delivers to its leaders. The MIS team can quickly share at least their templates
  5. Look up for its policies such as maternity/paternity, education breaks, IJP (Internal Job Postings). It will demonstrate how much cost the company is willing to bear for employees
  6. Understand the company’s supply chain and how the company makes its margin. Identifying the source of its margin gives an idea on what will sell with the key stakeholders. Key to margin may be prudent capital management, R&D and Innovation, Capital, Control or licence, size and scale of operations etc.
  7. What does the company’s clients really want from the company? May be cheaper product, convenience, and exclusivity.

Seldom do we get time to do the right thing and we end up focusing mostly on the urgent things. Avoid the trap to improve your effectiveness as a consultant and start spending some time on understanding the client. This will save time from iterating solution and winning client’s trust.


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