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Top tips: Turning your HR initiative into a money maker

HR experts share their top tips on making HR initiatives profitable externally

  • Concentrate on one HR area of excellence, at least to start with, says business strategist Rita Trehan: “It’s not trying to provide all of the HR services you do internally externally. I’d say: ‘We’re going to excel in no more than three areas and we’re going to do them really well.’ If you look at businesses that are very successful they’re very clear about what they do. So it’s about staying laser focused on picking the right areas.”
  • Be confident in pitching your proposition. “Be confident and resilient, particularly if you’re an organisation where this is new, because it won’t necessarily be welcomed initially,” advises partner in KPMG’s people advisory team Mike Falvey. “Often HR communities are used to constantly negotiating with stakeholders. This is about saying ‘we have the case to support this’.’”
  • Quickly enlist the help of other expertise within the business, such as sales, marketing, finance and procurement.
  • Consider allocating dedicated internal resource or enlisting the help of external partners to deliver execution day-to-day, so as not to detract from HR internally. “You need to make sure that your internal service delivery doesn’t suffer, so you need to carve some roles out that have a dedicated focus on developing that external market, while you protect your existing service delivery,” says partner and head of the Talent Strategy Practice at Mercers Natalie Jacquemin.
  • Perhaps keep the new venture a separate business line for a period of time, advises Trehan: “You probably want to incubate it for a while and keep it separate from your existing organisation. So from a resource standpoint, take a small group and pilot it and see how far you go”.
  • Ensure your business is whiter than white, so that you’re an attractive supplier, advises Unipart’s group HR director John Greatrex: “Quite often organisations want to partner with companies of high repute. Things like how you interact with all your stakeholder groups are critically important.”

Further reading

Commercial HR: How HRDs are cashing in on their expertise

HR departments turn consultant: Warwickshire County Council

HR departments turn consultant: University of Sheffield

HR departments turn consultant: Rentokil Initial