Characteristics of a great Human Resources consultant

07 January 2015

In a recent article, Angela O’Connor, the CEO of the HR Lounge consultancy and former chief people officer at the National Policing Improvement Agency, revealed eight characteristics that in her view are key for being a great Human Resources (HR) consultant. presents a summary.

Eight characteristics of a great HR consultant:
1. Being an expert HR practitioner may not translate well into being a good HR consultant, those looking for the stability of regular work and income, need not apply.

2. Organisational skills are not a preference - but a must. Juggling skills are required, with no one there to pick up dropped balls - be prepared to travel at short notice and do your best perform at any time.

Human Resources

3. Loving your clients and their work is a must, being fully invested in their success is your success. Working for clients you don’t respect does not work.

4. Bureaucracy is not gone, don’t treat it like it’s something that only affects lumbering giants. Being insured and having tax advice are a must, be ready to run your business competently within the legal guidelines, shortcuts with the tax authorities are dead ends.

5. Be pragmatic, textbooks won’t help you overcome the fact of the real world. Knowing the theory is not enough, the problems facing clients are multi-dimensional asking a variety of skills to create workable solutions that your clients will believe in.

6. Understanding the bottom line is a must to succeed, have the business sense to survive a fickle reality.

Angela Oconner - The HR Lounge

7. You are your profession, hold yourself to the highest ethical standards, be confidential, have integrity and be confident. In a consulting role, you’ll see the essence of your client’s business and their trust is imperative for full disclosure.

8. Being a great networker is a key, through meeting and greeting you’ll come across clients, hear about problems and offer your services as solution. Be sure to collaborate with other consultants.

Angela O’Connor launched the HR Lounge in 2011 - a boutique consultancy that offers a blend of HR services to a range of private and public sector organisations. Prior to that, she served as the Chief People Officer for the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA), her remit covering learning, development and leadership, people strategy and Organisation Design for a customer base of 240,000 police officers and staff in 43 independent police forces. Besides her consultancy work, O’Connor is a visiting professor and HRM course patron at London Metropolitan University.