Human resource management is a critical part of running any business—no matter the size. However, each company has different models and methods for doing things.
In larger companies, you might have an entire department of HR professionals managing the different aspects of human resources. For a small business, you may have one person managing the entire HR function.
Depending on how you handle your business’s day-to-day operations, you might need either an HR manager or an HR consultant. If you aren’t sure which option is best for your company, don’t worry. We explain the difference between the two roles for you to determine the best solution for your business.
HR Manager vs. HR Consultant: What Is Their Role?
While you might think that an HR manager and an HR consultant are interchangeable, they have two distinct career paths. Knowing the difference between the two can help you figure out which option can help meet your business’s HR needs.
An HR manager is a full-time management employee who oversees all of your human resource functions. These functions include training and development, recruitment, employee relations, compensation, benefits, and anything else related to the employee lifecycle. In larger businesses, the managers typically have other professionals on their team to manage the tasks and responsibilities involved with running the Human Resources department. If you have a small company, your HR manager might be responsible for everything, which may not be sustainable as your business scales.
An HR consultant works with your company to develop a strategic plan. They are typically one of several HR professionals at a consulting firm, and they step in to provide your business with an outsider’s perspective. These HR specialists have strong knowledge of laws and regulations, handling disputes, and optimizing your human resources function. They also use their experience and insight to determine what and how to improve your business overall.
Things to Consider When Hiring an HR Manager
For many businesses, an HR manager can be an excellent option. However, you should be aware of the different considerations that come with hiring an HR manager to oversee your in-house human resource department.
Benefits of an HR Manager
- They are always available to you as a full-time employee.
- A manager has the knowledge, skills, and experience to manage all functions related to HR management, including administrative tasks.
- They know the ins and outs of your business, including company culture and mission.
- They may have more insight into employee retention if they interact with coworkers.
- They can adapt on shorter notice since they work directly and solely with your company.
Potential Drawbacks of an HR Manager
- Hiring and training an in-house manager comes at a significant cost to the company.
- You are responsible for benefits costs and payroll taxes for full-time employees.
- Depending on how you sourced for the role, they may not have a comprehensive understanding or practical knowledge of all aspects of human resources management.
- You have to ensure that the HR department goals align with the overall company.
- Your company might have to deal with bias and complicated internal relationships.
Things to Consider When Working with an HR Consultant
If your company doesn’t need a full-time HR manager or you want a different, external perspective on growing your HR function, then you might want to consider an HR consultant instead. Here’s what you need to consider when opting to partner with an HR consultant rather than an internal hire.
Benefits of an HR Consultant
- You don’t have to commit to a full-time salary for an employee.
- Your company gets more flexibility with access to consultants who specialize in certain areas.
- You don’t have to put time and money into training.
- They have experience strategizing with many different businesses.
- They offer an unbiased, outside perspective.
Potential Drawbacks of an HR Consultant
- They may not be as familiar with your business as an in-house employee.
Should You Hire an HR Manager or Consultant?
The decision is ultimately up to you. Only you know which option is best for your business based on the pros and cons. Of course, you must also consider your budget. However, in many cases, a consultant can help your business in ways that an in-house manager can’t, especially if you are working with a smaller budget.