HR Consultants Contributing to Improvement in Organizational Performance and Growth


Introduction

In the modern time, organizations are facing increased competitive pressures both domestically and internationally (Clark, 1998). Moreover, with the advent of globalization there have been changes in the mere way businesses operate. There have been several changes in the past few years in terms of technology, politics, economy and social behaviors (Abdullah et. al., 2011). Organizations are expected to plan for these changes and perform at high levels of productivity to do well in their industry. In addition to this, the tastes and preferences of consumers are also changing constantly. These factors have caused organizations to put in greater effort for emerging competitive in their respective markets (Clark, 1998).

A few years back organizations believed that keeping customers happy and satisfied was the key to achieving success (Beer, 1997). However, in the modern time organizations have realized that keeping employees happy and satisfied is the main criteria for achieving success in the modern business environment. The main reason for this is that employees act as an important link between the management and the customers whereby they represent the organization on behalf of the management (Vloeberghs and Faes, 2003). This makes employees the face of the organization due to which they are essential for passing information between the management and the customers. Moreover, organizations have realized that their human resources should be treated as an asset rather than a liability for the company (Beer, 1997). This is because the employees enable the top management to make their vision a reality by implementing it an effective manner (Abdullah et. al., 2011). This has caused various organizations to move from the hard approach to the soft approach of human resource management whereby they value employees and empower them to keep them interested in their jobs (Berry, 1983). Organizations therefore need to work towards managing their human resources in an effective manner so that they can achieve success in the market. This in turn has increased the value of human resource consultants as these experts enable organizations to effectively utilize their human resources to create a competitive advantage for them in the market (Clark, 1998).

Problem Statement

This report aims at studying the contribution of HR consultant companies in improving organizational performance and leading to growth of organizations. The report also aims identifying the challenges faced by human resource consultants in dealing with organizations in the business world.

Literature Review

Hiring of HR Consultants in the UAE

The liberalization of the UAE economy and the increased inflow of foreign direct investments have changed the way organizations do business in the UAE. This is because the influence of Western companies has brought about increased professionalism among UAE companies. This in turn has caused organizations in the UAE to utilize the services of HR consultants as they have realized the role that human resources play in the development of an organization (Abdullah et. al., 2011). However, this trend is not common among all organizations in the UAE as many organizations still adopt the traditional approach to management whereby employees are considered as a burden. Nevertheless, in the past two decades there has been an increase in the number of HR consultants in the UAE. Some of the most popular HR consultant companies in the UAE are Talent2, Hay Group, Mercer, Kershaw Leonard, Clarendon Parker, and HR solutions.

Top organizations in the UAE utilize the services of human resource consultants as they are ware that these consultants play an important role in enabling organizations to effectively manage their employees. Moreover, they enable organizations to view human resource management from a strategic point of view whereby it should be linked with the vision, mission and business policy of the organization (Abdullah et. al., 2011). HR consultant companies have gained importance in the UAE as organizations are aware that they are specialists in the field of human resources and have tremendous experience in reviving the market positions of various organizations. Furthermore, HR consultant companies provide an opportunity for organizations to make their systems better. They also provide organizations with valuable guidance for designing their policies and procedures in a legal way and monitoring the performance of their resources, machines, material, and human because in this way each person will know his/her exact duties and responsibilities (Vloeberghs and Faes, 2003). Furthermore, UAE organizations realize that HR consultant companies also can help in developing productivity of employees by undertaking small programs such as providing for them the training that they need under the supervision of professional experts (De Alwis, 2010). In addition to this, they can manage grievances effectively by putting in place a grievance mechanism process (Willmott, 1994). Therefore, human resource consultants play an important role in linking the HR strategies of organizations with their business strategy (Bartolome et. al., 2002).

Advantages of hiring HR consultants

Hiring human resource consultants brings about a number of benefits for organizations as they have the expertise and knowledge of effectively utilizing the human resources of the organization (De Alwis, 2010). One of the major advantages of HR consultants for organizations is that they work towards enhancing the productivity of the employees in a company by designing effective training programs for them (Abdullah et. al., 2011). These consultants make the top management realize that learning is an important aspect of organizational growth whereby it enables the employees to keep improving their performance so that they are capable of meeting the changing needs of the customers (Zuzeviciute and Tereseviciene, 2010).

Moreover, human resources consultants enable organizations to bring about positive changes in the organization by giving more importance to quality management and encouraging the implementation of quality initiatives (Clinton et al., 1994). Furthermore, many consultants have contributed towards enabling organizations to automate their HR processes by implementing ERP systems (Maguire and Redman, 2007). This enhances the level of efficiency not only of the human resource processes but also the other operational processes of the organization (Chiah-Liaw, 2003).

Another important advantage of hiring HR consultants is that they work towards identifying the grievances of the employees through employee surveys and interviews. This is because most organizations tend to ignore the problems faced by their employees as they focus on providing a high quality of service to their customers (Clinton et al., 1994). However, human resource consultants act as a mediator between the top management and employees whereby they enable both parties to understand each other’s point of view and strengthen the relationship between them (Vloeberghs and Faes, 2003). Moreover, human resource consultants convince the top management to treat their employees as an asset whereby they encourage them to empower their employees and reduce excessive controls over them (De Alwis, 2010).

Furthermore, HR consultants also encourage leaders to value their human resources and increase the level of transparency in the organization by involving them in the decision making process (De Alwis, 2010). In addition to this, HR consultants also convince the top management to invest in their employees by providing them increased opportunities for training and personal growth (Zuzeviciute and Tereseviciene, 2010).

Moreover, the contribution of human resource consultants would lead to the success of organization as they encourage organizations to adopt effective HR policies and treat their employees in an effective manner. When organizations start valuing the contribution of their employees they put an effort towards understanding their problems and improving their skills and capabilities. This improves the performance of the employees and the overall productivity of the organization. Furthermore, the adoption of effective HR policies increases the level of commitment of the employees thereby creating a competitive edge for the company in the industry and enhancing their success in the long run.

Furthermore, HR consultants also enable organizations to alter their job descriptions and change their job designs. This enables organizations to effectively design their jobs so that employees do not feel that they are involved in boring and monotonous jobs. This also enables organizations to design jobs in a manner that individuals have both accountability and responsibility for the tasks conducted by them.

In addition to this, HR consultants also enable organizations to carry out job evaluations and assessments in an effective manner. This would improve the way in which performance appraisals carried out by organizations by adopting effective methods. The main reason for this is that organizations often take the process of performance appraisals lightly without realizing that these methods prove useful for giving constructive feedback to employees; motivating employees and setting both career and personal goals for employees. Therefore, HR consultants enable organizations to utilize their human resources in an effective manner by giving them the opportunities to grow and remain committed towards the growth of the organization by improving their performance continuously.

Another important advantage of hiring HR consultants is that they assist organizations in the recruitment and selection of employees. This enables organizations to select the high performing employees that can contribute towards the growth and development of the organization. HR consultants also assist organizations in recruiting and selecting the best employees in the industry that can give the company a competitive edge against their competitors in the market.

Moreover, hiring human resource consultants also enables organizations to adopt a strategic view towards human resource management. This is because many organizations fail to link their HR strategy with the business and marketing strategy of the company which prevents the organizations from effectively achieving their corporate goals (Bartolome et. al., 2002). Furthermore, human resource consultants also work towards assessing the HR policies adopted by the company to ensure that these increase the level of satisfaction among employees. In addition to this, the assessment of the HR policies by human resource consultants enables organizations to effectively deal with and avoid HR related problems like low morale, absenteeism, etc. Besides, solving these problems enable organizations to increase the commitment of their employees towards the goals of the organization (Vloeberghs and Faes, 2003).

Furthermore, human resource consultants enable organizations to compare their human resource policies with those adopted by their competitors (Clark, 1998). This in turn enables organizations to retain their star performers and gain their loyalty (Chiah-Liaw, 2003). Lastly, human resource consultants turn out to helpful in terms of implementing major changes in the organization like joint ventures, alliances, acquisitions and so on (Bartolome et. al., 2002). This is because such changes can be effectively implemented with the support and participation of the employees (Caldwell, 2001). Moreover, HRM plays an important role in the process of implementing such changes as they are capable of managing issues such as cultural change in the organization; merging the staff of another company with an existing company; compensation issues; motivating staff and gaining their participation (Caldwell, 2001).

Therefore, the contribution of human resource consultants improves the performance of the employees, the performance of the organization, increases commitment of employees towards organizational goals and improves the relationship between the management and the employees (Vloeberghs and Faes, 2003). These factors result in the overall growth of the company thereby enabling organizations to gain an edge over their competitors (Clark, 1998).

Disadvantages of hiring HR consultants

Human resource consultants are also viewed in a negative light by a number of organizations which avoid using the services of such organizations. One of the main reasons is that not all organizations are able to afford the fees charged by human resource consultants as can prove to be expensive for various organizations (especially small and medium organizations). This is also because many organizations have dedicated human resource departments which they believe are capable to fulfilling the human resource needs of the company and acting as a link between the top management and the employees (Zuzeviciute and Tereseviciene, 2010). Therefore, such organizations find the fees paid to human resource consultants as an added expense to the company which would bring little benefits for them (De Alwis, 2010).

Another reason for is that many leaders tend to avoid human resource consultants as they feel these experts tend to interfere with the decisions of the top management. Moreover, such consultants become the cause of increased expectations from employees without realizing whether the organization has the capability of fulfilling such expectations or not. Furthermore, many leaders also feel threatened by human resource consultants as they feel that these companies can lead the secrets of the organization to their competitors in the market (Clark, 1998).

In addition to this, organizational leaders often feel that the hiring of human resource consultants can make the organization dependent on such services in the long run which can prove to be detrimental to the profits of the company (Wright, 2008). Lastly, many top leaders feel that human resource consultants have minimal knowledge of the industry in which the company operates. This knowledge is also many a times general in nature which can cause human resource consultants to take wrong or ineffective decisions for a company (Wright, 2008).

Criteria for hiring HR Consultants

Organizations need to work towards selecting a suitable and efficient human resource consultant in an effective manner. There are various criteria that need to be considered by organizations before hiring HR consultants (Hunter, 1999). The most important criterion is the years of experience that such consultants have in their field. This is because human resource consultants need to have the experience of dealing with various organizations so that they are aware about how they can solve the problems faced by the company (Hilditch-Roberts, 2012). This would ensure that the human resource consultant can effectively work towards improving the performance of the company and contribute to their growth. Moreover, organizations also need to rank human resource consultants on the amount of fees charged by them. This would enable them to conduct a cost benefit analysis whereby the organization can weigh the costs paid to the consultant against the benefits offered by them to find the value that these consultants would add to the company (Hunter, 1999).

Another criterion is the reputation of the human resource consultant in the market. This is because consultants that have a positive reputation in the market would add value to the existing brand image of the company and vice versa (Kaufman, 2002). Furthermore, ranking consultants for their reputation and history in the market ensures that they have a previous history of handling projects in a successful manner (Hilditch-Roberts, 2012). Moreover, this gives organizations an idea about the type of companies the consultant has dealt with in the past. For example, it would not be feasible for a large scale organization to hire a consultant who has the history of working mainly with small and medium enterprises (Caldwell, 2001). The main reason for this is that it would be difficult for such a consultant to understand the challenges faced by large scale enterprises so that he can work towards overcoming them (Hunter, 1999).

Another important criterion for hiring human resource consultants is the degree of reliability that they have. The main reason for this is that organizations end up sharing important information and trade secrets with consultants which puts them in a vulnerable situation against their competitors (Clark, 1998). Human resource consultants that have an ethical attitude towards their business can be easily trusted by organizations so that the information shared with them would remain safe. This is because if such kind of information is leaked it can have a serious negative impact on the overall profitability of the company (Hilditch-Roberts, 2012).

Furthermore, experience in the industry is also an important criterion for human resource consultants as they should be aware about the dynamics of the industry. The main reason for this is that different industries operate in a different manner due to which it is essential for consultants to have knowledge of the industry in which the organization operates (Hilditch-Roberts, 2012). This is also because many decisions that would be acceptable for all industries but would not be applicable in certain industries. For example, it is advisable to pay incentives to employees working in the sales department however in situations like hiring of security agencies executives cannot be paid incentives as they can try to hire ineffective companies which would threaten the security level of the company (Wright, 2008).

In addition to this, organizations should select their human resource consultants on the basis of the level of commitment and cooperation offered by them (Hunter, 1999). This is because organizations should be sure that once a consultant has been hired they would get the full support of these consultants towards bringing about improvement in the organization (Hilditch-Roberts, 2012). The main reason for this is that many times organizations end up hiring consultants that have busy schedules and are unable to spend enough time and effort towards solving the problems faced by the organization (Kaufman, 2002).

Problems with UAE organizations

Human resource consultants operating in the United Arab Emirates face a number of problems dealing with organizations (Kaufman, 2002). The main reason for this is that many organizations in the UAE still adopt the traditional approach to management whereby employees are considered as a burden (Levin, 1997). This makes it difficult for human resource consultants to convince the top management to make investment towards developing their employees.

Moreover, many organizations in the UAE have a highly bureaucratic structure with a rigid top management (Kaufman, 2002). This makes it difficult for human resource consultants to convince the top management to bring about any changes in their existing systems and policies. However, the top management in such organizations fails to understand that sticking to their old policies would prevent them from bringing about improvement in the company and working towards higher growth (Kitay and Wright, 2007).

In addition to this, another common problem faced by human resource consultants is that every decision taken by the top management in UAE organizations is on the basis of a cost benefit analysis (Levin, 1997). In these cases, the top management often fails to realize that some expenses have to be incurred towards the benefit of employees and in order to gain their commitment like training employees, rewarding them, giving awards, socializing with them and so on (Kitay and Wright, 2007) (Zuzeviciute and Tereseviciene, 2010). The top management in such cases often ignores the fact that these expenses are actually an investment towards creating a healthy working environment, improving the morale of the employees, motivating them to perform better and gaining their commitment towards the organization (Zuzeviciute and Tereseviciene, 2010).

Furthermore, many human resource consultants face the problem of a lack of trust between them and the hiring organization in the UAE. This is because the top management is often reluctant to share any kind of information with the human resource consultants with the fear of their trade secrets being leaked to their competitors (Clark, 1998). However, organizations fail to realize it would become difficult for human resource consultants to bring about a change in the organization with insufficient information about their operations and their policies. Many human resource consultants complain that they have to work a great deal towards gaining the trust of the top management and the managers in UAE organizations (Kitay and Wright, 2007).

Lastly, human resource consultants also face resistance from UAE organizations towards bringing about changes in the organization. The main reason for this is that organizations in the UAE have a high level of reluctance towards changes whereby they tend to resist any upcoming opportunity that would change the way they operate (Kitay and Wright, 2007). This makes it difficult for human resource consultant to convince the top management and the employees to give their full support and participation towards a change initiative. This is also because the top management in UAE organizations is more likely to give preference to daily tasks rather than developmental tasks that would require a high level of planning and organizing. However, human resource consultants working in the UAE are aware of the attitude of most companies and have learnt to deal with such problems by showing previous successful cases of other organizations to the top management (Zuzeviciute and Tereseviciene, 2010).

Methodology

This report will be based on information from two kinds of research mainly primary research and secondary research. The group members would ensure that equal importance is given to both these sources as each one of them would generate different kind of information. Primary research would be able to generate first hand information about the topic enabling the team members to study the opinion of HR consultants and organizations in the UAE. On the other hand, secondary information would be able to generate second hand information about the topic enabling the team members to study the response other researchers on this topic.

Primary Research

The primary research method will use three tools to gather information which are surveys, interviews and observations.

The surveys would be conducted among HR consultants and organizations in the UAE to understand their views and opinions about hiring HR consultants and working with organizations in the UAE. The tool used to conduct surveys would be questionnaires that would enable the group members to get quantitative information about the topic. Surveys are appropriate methods of getting information as they enable researchers to study the responses of several people. These responses can then be tabulated and presented in various graphical formats like graphs, pie charts, etc. The group members will target employees working in UAE organizations and getting their opinion on the topic. In addition to this, the group members would also visit HR consultants to understand the problems faced by them.

Interviews are another method for collecting information and understanding the views of HR consultants and organizations in the UAE on this topic. The type of information gathered from interviews would be qualitative in nature which cannot be tabulated or presented in graphical formats. However, it is appropriate for the group members to conduct interviews as it would enable them to conduct an in-depth analysis about the experienced of HR consultants and organizations for working with each other. The group members will target HR consultants by visiting their offices in the UAE and getting their opinion on the topic. In addition to this, the group members would also visit organizations in the UAE to get their opinion on the topic.

In addition to this, observations are also a method that would be used by the group members to get primary information about the effectiveness of human resource consultants in the UAE.  The group members would visit several organizations and HR Consultants in the UAE. This would enable them to how the HR consultants and organizations work with each other in real life. It will also enable them to understand the challenges faced by each party in working together. This method is appropriate to achieve the purpose of the project and get real information about the kind of HR consultants that should be hired by organizations in the UAE. This would enable the group members to authenticate the information provided by other researchers on this topic. Moreover, this method will enable the group members to gather qualitative information which cannot be tabulated or presented in graphical formats.

Secondary Research

The primary research method will gather information from four sources mainly newspapers, books, internet websites and online databases. Newspapers are a good source of second hand information whereby they would enable the group members to get updated information about the hiring of HR consultants by various organizations in the UAE. It would also enable the group members to understand what criterion should be kept in mind by organizations while hiring a HR consultant. Moreover, newspapers will enable the group members to get both qualitative and quantitative information about the topic. The group members plan to access newspapers by visiting the library of Zayed University and conducting online research on the websites of specific newspapers in the UAE.

Books are another source that would be used by the group members to find information about the benefits and problems associated with hiring HR consultants in organizations. This source is appropriate as the group members would be able to study the opinions of other authors on this topic. Moreover, books will enable the group members to get both qualitative and quantitative information about the topic. The group members plan to access books on this topic by visiting the library of Zayed University.

Internet websites would be accessed through online search engines like Yahoo, Google and so on. This source is appropriate as the group members would be able to get updated information about the organizations that are hiring HR consultants in the UAE. However, the group members would ensure that they only access authenticated websites that belong to reputed organizations as this would guarantee the quality of the information. Moreover, internet websites will enable the group members to get both qualitative and quantitative information about the topic.

Online databases are another source of information which can be accessed through the online library of Zayed University. Online databases like Proquest, Jstor and Emerald would present reliable and academic information about the topic which makes this method of research appropriate in nature. The group members can access various academic articles and journals on this topic. Moreover, online databases will enable the group members to get both qualitative and quantitative information about the topic.

Ethics of the Research

The researcher has conducted the research for this project while considering the ethical issues. Firstly, the researcher aims at maintaining anonymity by not disclosing the identity of their respondents. This encourages respondents to give their opinions in unbiased manner knowing that they would not be judged or blamed for their opinions. Secondly, the researcher has included any element in the report that would potentially hurt or cause embarrassment to any party directly or indirectly related with this report. Thirdly, the researcher has validated all the data on a personal level to ensure that the figures or data have not been manipulated in any way. The data presented in the report is therefore accurate and reliable to be used for the purpose of future research. Fourthly, the researcher has not rejected any responses from the respondents in order to present the desired results. Fifthly, the researcher has not offered money or forced any respondent to get involved in this researched. The respondents have been involved in this research on a voluntary basis to give their opinions about human resource consultants in the UAE.

Findings of the Primary Research

The graph below (Graph 1) shows the number of respondents chosen from different levels of management. The results of the survey show that equal numbers of respondents were chosen from all levels of management. The survey was conducted among 60 top level managers, 60 middle level managers and 60 low level executives. Therefore, the research was conducted equally among all levels of managers.

Graph 2 shows the type of organizations that are selected for the purpose of the surveys. The results of the survey show that private, government and semi-government organizations were chosen for the purpose of this research. The survey was conducted among 60 employees from private organizations, 60 employees from government organizations and 60 employees from semi-government organizations. This shows that private, government and semi-government organizations were equally represented in this research.

The graph below (Graph 3) shows the opinion of respondents and their organizations towards HR consultants. The results of the survey show that 100% of the respondents are working in organizations that have are hiring HR consultants or have hired them in the past. Moreover, the survey also studies the opinion of respondents about hiring HR consultants in organizations that already have human resource departments. The results of the survey show that 66.7% of the respondents agree with the fact even organizations that have human resource departments need the services of HR consultants. The balance 33.3% of the respondents is of the opinion that organizations that already have human resource departments do not need the services of HR consultants as they would not add value to their existing systems.

Furthermore, the survey also studies the opinion of respondents about hiring HR consultants in their organization in the future. The results of the survey show that 66.7% of the respondents would consider hiring HR consultants in the future. On the other hand, 25% of the respondents are not interested in hiring HR consultants in the future and the balance 8.3% of the respondents are not sure about hiring HR consultants in the future.

The graph below (Graph 4) studies the opinion of respondents about whether HR consultants add value to existing HR departments. The results of the survey show that 38.3% of the respondents strongly agree with the fact that HR consultants add value to organizations even though they have human resource departments and 21.7% of the respondents agree with this statement. Moreover, 16.7% of the respondents disagree that those organizations that already have human resource departments need to hire HR consultants as they would not add value to their existing systems. 15% of the respondents strongly disagree with the fact that HR consultants benefit organizations that already have human resource departments and the balance 8.3% of the respondents are not sure about the role of human resource consultants. Therefore, the results of the survey show that 60% of the respondents realize that HR consultants can even be useful for organizations that already have HR departments and only 31.7% disagree with this statement whereas 8.3% of the respondents are not sure about this issue.

The graph below (Graph 5) shows the reasons why organizations consider hiring HR consultants. The results of the survey show the ways in which HR consultants add value to organizations. The results of the survey show that among the top level managers 30% of the respondents believe that believe that HR consultants add value to the organization by acting as mediators between the management and the employees. 21.7% of the top level managers are of the opinion that HR consultants encourage the top management to invest in their employees by organizing trainings to develop their skills and capabilities. 13.3% of the top level managers believe that HR consultants increase the level of transparency between the employees and the management. 13.3% of the top level managers believe that HR consultants enable organizations to compare their HR policies with that of their competitors which gives them the opportunity to improve their HR policies.

In terms of the middle level managers, 26.7% of the respondents believe that HR consultants play an important role as they enable organizations to compare their HR policies with that of their competitors. However, 21.7% of the respondents believe that HR consultants act as good mediators and 16.7% of the managers believe that HR consultants are a useful source of knowing what kind of HR policies are adopted by the other companies in the industry especially the competitors of the organization.

On the other hand, the low level executives have a different opinion about the role of HR consultants in organizations. 25% of the respondents believe that HR consultants increase the level of transparency between the employees and the top management. 21.7% of the low level executives believe that HR consultants enable organizations to compare their HR policies with that of their competitors. 13.3% of the respondents are of the opinion that HR consultants encourage organizations to invest in their employees by training them and looking after their welfare.

Overall, majority of the respondents (20.6%) felt that HR consultants were effective in comparing the HR policies of the organization with that of the competitors, 18.9% believed that HR consultants acted as mediators and 17.2% believed that HR consultants would encourage organizations to invest in their employees.

The graph below (Graph 6) shows the advantages that are experienced by organizations that hire HR consultants. The results of the survey show that among the top level managers 30% of the respondents believe that HR consultants enable organizations to effectively manage their employees and 21.7% are of the opinion that the hiring of HR consultants improves the overall performance of the organization. 13.3% of the respondents believe that human resource consultants enable the top management to adopt a strategic view towards human resource management. 13.3% of the respondents believe that HR consultants work towards improving relations between the management and the employees.

In terms of the middle level managers, 26.7% of the respondents believe that HR consultants are effective in solving the human resource related problems faced by organizations. 21.7% of the middle level managers are the opinion that HR consultants enable them to effectively manage employees. 16.7% of the respondents believe that HR consultants are helpful in enhancing the commitment of the employees towards the organization.

On the other hand, the low level executives have a different opinion about the advantages experienced by organizations that hire HR consultants. 25% of the respondents believe that HR consultants work towards improving relations between the management and the employees. 21.7% of the respondents are of the opinion that HR consultants are effective in solving the human resource related problems faced by organizations. 13.3% of the low level employees believe that HR consultants are helpful in enhancing the commitment of the employees towards the organization.

Overall, majority of the respondents (34%) felt that HR consultants benefit organizations by enabling them to effectively manage their employees, 32% believed that HR consultants are helpful in solving the HR related problems faced by organizations and 27% of them believed that HR consultants are helpful in improving the relations between the management and the employees.

The graph below (Graph 7) shows the disadvantages that are experienced by organizations that hire HR consultants. The results of the survey show that among the top level managers 30% of the respondents believe that HR consultants increase the expectations of employees which create problems for organizations as they are required to work towards meeting these expectations. 21.7% of the respondents are of the opinion that HR consultants interfere with the decisions of the management. However, 18.3% of the respondents from the top level managers fear that HR consultants are capable of leaking the secrets of the company to their competitors.

In terms of the middle level managers, 30% of the respondents believe that HR consultants can leak the important trade secrets of the company to their competitors. 21.7% of the middle level managers believe that HR consultants increase the expectations of employees. 18.3% of the respondents are of the opinion that the company becomes dependent on HR consultants for making all their human resource related decisions.

On the other hand, the low level executives have a different opinion about the disadvantages experienced by organizations that hire HR consultants. 30% of the respondents believe that HR consultants might lack experience of the industry that the company is operating in which can prevent them from making effective suggestions to the top management. 25% of the respondents are of the opinion that HR consultants cause the company to become dependent for making all their human resource related decisions.  21.7% of the respondents believe that HR consultants can leak the important trade secrets of the company to their competitors.

Overall, majority of the respondents (23.3%) felt that HR consultants are capable of leaking the secrets of the company to their competitors, 18.9% feel that HR consultants increase the expectations of employees and 17.2% believe that the company becomes dependent on HR consultants for making all their human resource related decisions.

The graph below (Graph 8) studies the criteria that should be considered by organizations for hiring HR consultants. The results of the survey show that among the top level managers 25% of the respondents are of the opinion that HR consultants should be hired on the level of commitment that they have towards the organization. 21.7% of the respondents believe that HR consultants should be hired on the basis of their experience in the industry. 18.3% of the respondents are of the opinion that HR consultants should be selected on the basis of their reputation in the market.

In terms of the middle level managers, 30% of the respondents believe that HR consultants should be hired on the basis of their experience in the industry. 25% of the middle level managers are of the opinion that HR consultants should be hired on the level of commitment that they have towards the organization. 15% of the respondents believe that HR consultants should be hired on the basis of their reliability in terms of keeping trade secrets and information about the company.

On the other hand, the low level executives have a different opinion about the disadvantages experienced by organizations that hire HR consultants. 30% of the respondents believe that HR consultants should be hired on the basis of their experience as a human resource consultant and 18.3% of the respondents believe that HR consultants should be selected on the basis of their history of success. 16.7% of the lower level executives believe that HR consultants should be hired on the level of commitment that they have towards the organization. 11.7% are of the opinion that HR consultants should be hired on the basis of their reputation in the market.

Overall, majority of the respondents (22.2%) felt that HR consultants should be hired on the level of commitment that they have towards the organization, 20.5% believe that HR consultants should be hired on the basis of their experience in the industry and 15.6% believe that HR consultants should be hired on the basis of their experience as a human resource consultant.

The graph below (Graph 9) studies the problems faced by HR consultants in dealing with organizations. The results of the survey show that among the top level managers 25% of the respondents are of the opinion that organizations adopt a cost benefit approach towards every policy which prevents HR consultants from promoting the welfare of the employees in such companies. 21.7% of the respondents believe that organizations are reluctant to invest in their employees as they treat their employees as a liability instead of an asset. 18.3% of the respondents are of the opinion that the top management is reluctant to share information with HR consultants which prevents them from effectively analyzing the problems faced by the company.

In terms of the middle level managers, 30% of the respondents are of the opinion that organizations adopt inflexible policies which makes it difficult for HR consultant to change these policies for the benefit of the organization. 21.7% of the respondents believe that HR consultants face problems with organizations as they have a rigid top management that refuses to understand the perspective of other parties. 18.3% of the respondents are of the opinion that organizations are reluctant to invest in their employees as they treat their employees as a liability instead of an asset.

On the other hand, the low level executives have a different opinion about the problems experienced by HR consultants in dealing with organizations that hire them. 30% of the respondents believe that organizations have a high level of resistance towards change which prevents HR consultants from improving their performance. 20% of the respondents are of the opinion that organizations adopt inflexible policies which makes it difficult for HR consultant to change these policies for the benefit of the organization. 16.7% of the respondents believe that the top management in organizations is reluctant to share information with HR consultants which prevents them from effectively analyzing the problems faced by the company.

Overall, majority of the respondents (20.6%) felt that the inflexible policies of the organizations prevented HR consultants from performing effectively, 19.4% felt that organizations are reluctant towards change and 16.7% felt that organizations are reluctant to invest in their employees as they treat their employees as a liability instead of an asset.

 Analysis of the Research Findings

The analysis of the survey results shows that human resource consultants add value to the overall operations of organizations. Due to this, organizations that already have human resource departments are also keen on hiring HR consultants. The main reason for this is that human resource consultants enable organizations to adopt a different perspective towards managing their human resources.

The survey results showed that majority of the organizations hired HR consultants because of three main reasons. The first reason is that HR consultants enable organizations to compare the policies of the organization with the HR policies adopted by the competitors of the company. This gives organizations an opportunity to improve their HR policies and retain their high performers. This in turn enables organizations to gain an edge against their competitors. The second reason is that HR consultants add value to the organization by acting as mediators between the management and the employees. This enables the employees to clearly voice their opinions and their grievances to the management. Due to this, HR consultants are able to bring about improvements in organizations by solving the problems faced by employees. They are also able to change the policies of the organization which enhances the commitment of the employees towards the organization. Moreover, HR consultants encourage the organization to organize more social activities that would give the top management and the employees the opportunity to interact with each other. This enables HR consultants to establish strong relationships between the top management and the employees. The third reason is that according to the survey results respondents believed that HR consultants encourage the top management to invest in their employees by organizing trainings to develop their skills and capabilities. Organizations are often reluctant to invest in extensive training programs as they do not want to spend too much money on such activities as it would have a negative impact on their profits. Organizations set aside fixed budgets for training activities which are often limited in nature. However, HR consultants encourage organizations to invest in improving their employees as this would benefit organizations by improving their productivity levels and their profits.

The results of the survey showed that there are three main advantages enjoyed by organizations that hire HR consultants. The first advantage is that HR consultants enable organizations to effectively manage their employees. This is because organizations are able to adopt effective policies that increase the level of satisfaction among employees. Due to this organizations are able to effectively motivate their employees and encourage them to contribute towards the goals of the organization. Moreover, the adoption of better HR policies enables organizations to increase commitment among employees towards the company which enables them to retain their high performers. The second advantage is that HR consultants are helpful in solving the HR related problems faced by organizations. The main reason for this is that HR consultants enable organizations to identify the grievances of the employees and understand how these end up creating HR related problems such as low morale, absenteeism, employee turnover etc. The process of solving these problems enables organizations to solve these problems and work at higher levels of productivity. The third advantage is that HR consultants are helpful in improving the relations between the management and the employees. The main reason for this is that HR consultants enable the top management to understand the perspective of the employees and vice versa. In addition to this, HR consultants encourage the top management to value their employees whereby they should work towards empowering them and involving them in the decision making of the company.

The analysis of the survey results highlight that organizations in the UAE are reluctant to hire HR consultants because of three main reasons. The first reason is that top level managers fear that HR consultants are capable of leaking the secrets of the company to their competitors. This can cause the company to face huge problems as information about their existing and future strategies can be leaked out which would end up putting the company in a vulnerable situation whereby their profit levels can be affected in a negative manner. However, this reluctance of the top management to share information with HR consultants prevents consultants from effectively conducting their jobs. The second disadvantage is that HR consultants increase the expectations of employees which create problems for organizations as they are required to work towards meeting these expectations. This is because HR consultants work towards promising better policies and improved compensation levels to employees. However, the organization might not be willing to invest in making such changes. This causes increased dissatisfaction among employees and clashes between the employees and the management. The main reason for this is that the hopes of employees are raised by HR consultants and then shattered by the management which worsens their relationships with the management. The third reason is that HR consultants can cause the company to become dependent for making all their human resource related decisions. This is because HR consultants provide increased support and guidance to the top management and HR executives in the company which causes them to become used to their suggestions and advice in the short run. This can cause HR departments to become lazy and reluctant to make their own decisions. In such cases HR executives often influence the top management to continue hiring the services of HR consultants for a long period of time even after the problems faced by the company have been solved. This results in unnecessary expenses for the company which increases their costs and reduces the efficiencies of the human resource department.

Moreover, the analysis of the survey results shows that organizations need to thoroughly review the profile of various HR consultants before selecting one to assist them with their human resource related activities. The survey results highlight that there are three main criteria that are mostly considered by organizations in the UAE before hiring HR consultants. The first criterion is the level of commitment that HR consultants have towards the organization hiring them. Organizations in the UAE want to make sure that the HR consultant would be highly committed towards solving the problems faced by the organization. The top management expects HR consultants to extend their full support and participation whereby they can guide the organization towards a better performance and increased success in the industry.  The second criterion is the level of experience that the HR consultants have in the industry where the company is operating. This knowledge is essential for HR consultants because in the absence of this knowledge they would be unable to formulate effective strategies as they do not understand the dynamics of the industry. Furthermore, it is also likely that those HR consultants that have no knowledge of the industry would end up making mistakes while managing human resources or formulating strategies for the company. The third criterion is the experience that the human resource consultants have in their own field. This is because human resource consultants that have the experience of dealing with organizations and solving their problems would be more equipped to help the hiring organization in improving their current growth rate. This would provide an assurance to hiring organizations that the HR consultant has the relevant experience in the field. Therefore, the analysis of the survey results show that HR consultants are hired on the basis of their commitment towards the organization, their experience in the client’s industry, and experience in their own field.

On the other hand, the analysis of the survey results shows that HR consultants also face a number of problems with organizations. HR consultants in the UAE claim that there are three main problems faced by organizations while dealing with organizations in the country. The first problem is that organizations adopt inflexible policies which prevent HR consultants from performing effectively. This attitude makes it difficult for HR consultants to change these policies for the benefit of the organization. The HR consultants are therefore unable to introduce new policies that would solve the existing problems of the organization. The second problem is that organizations have a high level of resistance towards change which prevents HR consultants from improving their performance. This reluctant towards change makes it difficult for HR consultants to introduce change in the organization which causes organizations to remain stuck with their existing problems. The third problem is that organizations are reluctant to invest in their employees as they treat their employees as a liability instead of an asset. Organizations are often reluctant to invest in extensive training programs as they do not want to spend too much money on such activities as it would have a negative impact on their profits. Organizations set aside fixed budgets for training activities which are often limited in nature. However, HR consultants can work towards encouraging organizations to invest in improving their employees as this would benefit organizations by improving their productivity levels and their profits. Moreover, HR consultants need to put in a great deal of effort towards changing the mindset of the top management so that they start valuing their employees and realize that their contribution and commitment would enable them to achieve their organizational goals and a leading position in the market.

Recommendations

This section recommends strategies for both organizations and HR consultants in order to enhance their efficiency levels. This is because human resource consultants in the UAE can only perform effectively and bring about an improvement in the performance of organizations if both HR consultants and the organizations work towards changing their approach.

Recommendations for organizations

Organizations are recommended to implement the following strategies so that they are able to experience of benefits of hiring HR consultants and improve the way they manage their human resources:

  • Carefully select HR consultants – Organizations should carefully hire HR consultants after having a thorough selection process. They should select HR consultants on the basis of various criteria such as their reputation in the market, experience in the customer’s industry, history of success, charges for their services, level of commitment, degree of reliability, and so on. This would enable organizations to effectively HR consultants that can positively contribute to the organization.
  • Treat employees as an asset – Organizations should work towards treating their employees as an asset rather than a liability. They should work towards empowering their employees and reduce excessive controls over them. Furthermore, organizations should value their human resources and increase the level of transparency in the organization by involving them in the decision making process.
  • Invest in their employees – Organizations should work towards investing in their employees by providing them increased opportunities for training and personal growth. They should realize that these funds invested in their employees will improve their skills and capabilities which in turn would improve their productivity levels and their profits.
  • Help employees to grow along with the organization – Organizations should work towards helping their employees by providing them with increased career development opportunities so that they can achieve growth in their personal lives while working towards the goals of the organization.
  • Review HR policies – Organizations should also work towards reviewing their human resource policies from time to time. This would enable them to ensure that the HR policies adopted by them are having a positive effect on their employees. Moreover, this would enable organizations to change ineffective policies so that they do not cause problems within the organization. Furthermore, these reviews would also enable organizations to compare their HR policies with that of their competitors so that their policies can be improved which would increase their competitiveness in the market.
  • Conduct employee surveys – Organizations should regularly conduct employee surveys as this would enable them to identify the problems and grievances of their employees. The top management can then work towards solving these problems so that the employees are satisfied with the organization and have a high morale for the company.
  • Get employee feedback – Organizations should work towards getting feedback from their employees about various strategies and policies implemented by the company. This would enable the top management to understand the expectations of the employees and get their opinions on various topics. This would enable the organization to improve their policies and bring about changes that would lead to increased satisfaction and commitment among the employees.

Recommendations for HR consultants

Human resource consultants are recommended to implement the following strategies so that they can effectively deal with organizations that hire them and bring about improvement in their performance:

  • Study culture of organizations – Human resource consultants should work towards studying the culture of organizations that they are working with. This would enable them to understand the type of work environment that they provide their employees and the attitude of the top management towards managing employees.
  • Work towards changing the attitude of top management – Human resource consultants should work towards changing the attitude of the top management towards their employees whereby they should be encouraged to value their employees, empower them and involve them in the decision making of the company. This change in attitude will benefit the organizations in the long run as they would be better capable of managing their human resources in an effective manner.
  • Conduct market studies – Human resource consultants should conduct market studies to get detailed information about the industry where their client is operating from. This would enable human resource consultants to have clear information about the dynamics of these industries and would enable them to make effective decisions for their client organizations. Moreover, the conducting of these studies would also prevent human resource consultants from making any mistakes while formulating HR strategies for their clients.
  • Enhance relationship between the employees and the management – Human resource consultants should work towards establishing strong relationships. This can be done by organizing more social activities that would give the top management and the employees the opportunity to interact with each other.
  • Encourage strategic view towards HRM – Human resource consultants should work towards encouraging their organizations to view human resource management from a strategic point of view whereby it should be linked with the vision, mission and business policy of the organization. This is because many organizations fail to link their HR strategy with the business and marketing strategy of the company which prevents the organizations from effectively achieving their corporate goals.

Conclusion

In conclusion, hiring human resource consultants brings about a number of benefits for organizations as they have the expertise and knowledge of effectively utilizing the human resources of the organization. One of the major advantages of HR consultants for organizations is that they work towards enhancing the productivity of the employees in a company by designing effective training programs for them. Moreover, human resources consultants enable organizations to bring about positive changes in the organization by giving more importance to quality management and encouraging the implementation of quality initiatives. Another important advantage of hiring HR consultants is that they work towards identifying the grievances of the employees through employee surveys and interviews. This is because most organizations tend to ignore the problems faced by their employees as they focus on providing a high quality of service to their customers. However, human resource consultants act as a mediator between the top management and employees whereby they enable both parties to understand each other’s point of view and strengthen the relationship between them (Vloeberghs and Faes, 2003). Moreover, human resource consultants convince the top management to treat their employees as an asset whereby they encourage them to empower their employees and reduce excessive controls over them (De Alwis, 2010). Therefore, the contribution of human resource consultants improves the performance of the employees, the performance of the organization, increases commitment of employees towards organizational goals and improves the relationship between the management and the employees (Vloeberghs and Faes, 2003). These factors result in the overall growth of the company thereby enabling organizations to gain an edge over their competitors (Clark, 1998).

However, organizations need to thoroughly review the profile of various HR consultants before selecting one to assist them with their human resource related activities. The survey results highlight that there are three main criteria that are mostly considered by organizations in the UAE before hiring HR consultants which are the level of commitment that HR consultants have towards the organizations hiring them; the level of experience that the HR consultants have in the industry where their client is operating; and the experience that the human resource consultants have in their own field.

On the other hand, the analysis of the survey results shows that HR consultants also face a number of problems with organizations. HR consultants in the UAE claim that there are three main problems faced by them while dealing with organizations in the country. These problems are that organizations adopt inflexible policies; they have a high level of resistance towards change; and they are reluctant to invest in their employees as they treat their employees as a liability instead of an asset. However, HR consultants can work towards encouraging organizations to invest in improving their employees as this would benefit organizations by improving their productivity levels and their profits. Moreover, HR consultants need to put in a great deal of effort towards changing the mindset of the top management so that they start valuing their employees and realize that their contribution and commitment would enable them to achieve their organizational goals and a leading position in the market.


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