Becoming the Concierge-Minded HR Consultant


By Murad Salman Mirza

HR consultants are increasingly becoming indispensable assets for organizations striving to maintain relevance in a world increasingly driven by ubiquitous digital technologies.
The incessant demands of dividend-hungry shareholders coupled with the vagaries of jittery customers have caused mindful companies to gravitate towards risk-mitigation practices, especially, in terms of: prioritizing strategic imperatives for quicker profitable returns; streamlining business processes to maximize operational efficiencies; and refining talent management practices for optimizing human capital.

Consultancy Saves and Costs
Consequently, most expense-intensive/non-value-added/minimum-valued-added functions are being actively outsourced to willing consultants who are happy to oblige in fulfilling organizational demands. However, such delegation comes with a price since significant number of consultants end up being “curative addictions,” rather than “galvanizing enablers” for resuscitative purposes.
This has a detrimental impact on both sides since such an association generally leads to stunted growth in increasingly dependent corporate entities and complacency on the part of consultants. However, this deterioration in professional prowess is usually masked by the lure of getting “hired help” at a perceived lower cost from the organization’s point of view, while the consultant is comforted by the thought of getting “consistent business” for earning a sustainable livelihood.

The Concierge Consultant
Interestingly, beyond the facade of the glamour, glitter and galore of professional credentials, such a penchant for routine “dogmatic consultancy” bears strong resemblance to the steadfast approach expected from a well-conditioned concierge.

This can be appreciated as follows:

Basic Functions of a Conventional HR Consultant Basic functions of a Dedicated Concierge
  1. Harvest and engage clients amicably and confirm scope of work.
  1. Welcome customers upon entrance and confirm reservations.
  1. Act as the focal point and expert for all agreed areas of facilitation.
  1. Act as the point of reference for guests who need assistance or information and attend to their wishes and requirements.
  1. Understand client needs and expectations to provide customized service offerings.
  1. Understand customer needs and provide them with personalized solutions by suggesting activities and facilities provided by the hotel.
  1. Achieve comprehensive learning and understanding of own and client’s industry to engage in effective resolution of challenges.
  1. Acquire extensive knowledge of the premises and the nearby venues and businesses to make the most suitable recommendations.
  1. Ensure the efficient utilization of necessary resources to achieve the “preferred-relationship” factor with clients for long-term association, e.g., in terms of repeat business.
  1. Arrange events, excursions, transportation, etc., upon request from hotel residents.
  1. Be accessible to the client at all the agreed times and introduce a “delight factor” for being approachable during odd hours in case of emergencies.
  1. Answer the phone and make reservations, take and distribute messages or mail and redirect calls.
  1. Ensure high responsiveness to client complaints/feedback backed up by effective remedial actions to preserve affirmative engagement and incentivize positive “word-of-mouth” for gaining additional business from the client’s professional network and/or impressing any reference-checkers from prospective clients.
  1. Respond to complaints and find the appropriate solution.

So, how to avoid the perils of complacent consultancy and apply the concierge-mindset to maximum advantage for all parties?

Fundaments of a Concierge-Minded HR Consultant

  1. Understand why a client has chosen you as a consultant and work on building upon those magnetizing qualities.
  1. Refrain from conventional hand-holding and facilitate innovative experimentation to engender trust and confidence of learning from failures and celebrating justified ownership of success.
  1. Study client’s present and future challenges and collaborate on developing a robust and effective solution that is aligned with the strategic imperatives.
  1. Venture beyond the client’s industry and research disruptive innovations that have the potential to radically impact the client’s business and advise on proactively safeguarding long-term relevance.
  1. Harness the attainable resources, professional networks and fruitful associations to become the “ultimate galvanizing enabler” and convert formal business relationships into informal affable friendships.
  1. Inculcate a problem-solving mindset in the client organization as part of the consultative process to minimize energy-sapping engagements on non-valued-added/minimum-value-added concerns.
  1. Proactively install ‘alarm bells’ within the project parameters/milestones/KRAs/KPIs to address any emerging concerns at the earliest possibility without waiting for their formulation into stinging complaints or sobering feedbacks.

Keep Doors of Learning Open
Being a consultant is not just about providing quality services to clients; it is also about growing as a sound professional through a process of honest self-reflection and effective re-calibration. No human can be the comprehensive repository of all existing and emerging knowledge, therefore, there is always a dynamic need to keep the doors of learning open and allow the permeation of new lessons to become a true master of the consultancy profession.

Shall we enter?

Murad Salman Mirza is an innovative thinker and an astute practitioner of areas within and associated with the fields of Organisational Development, Talent Management and Business Transformation. He has lived, studied and served in different regions of the world, including the US, Australia, South Asia and the Middle East. Murad has more than 15 years of multi-disciplinary experience and has rich exposure to multiple sectors within the corporate world. Currently, he is engaged as a Board Member with two US-based organizations. His LinkedIn profile can be viewed at: Murad Salman Mirza.

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