RANKING & REVIEWS
BEST HR CONSULTING FIRMS
Intro: Why Would You Need an HR Consultant? What Does an HR Consulting Company Do?
There are many reasons to use HR consulting firms, which offer services aimed at addressing a wide range of human resources management decisions and tasks.
An outside HR consultant would be someone who would come into a business and help develop more effective human resources processes and programs, as well as potentially aiding in the development of new workflows.
The goal of hiring an HR consultant is to develop more strategic objectives relating to human resources and human capital and to maximize performance based on the implementation of best practices.
Some of the service areas that the best HR consulting companies focus on include:
- HR services like employee healthcare and benefits
- Overall human capital, including the implementation of rewards and incentives. HR consulting firms can also assist in areas of recruitment and general talent management
- If there are mergers and acquisitions on the horizon for a company, an HR consultant may come in to make the transition more seamless
- HR consultants can also assist businesses with general communication and employee behavior issues
- If a business needs to outsource talent, HR consultants can help them in doing so
Continue reading to see a list of the best HR consulting firms, including information on what to look for during the process of finding a top HR consulting firm.
Award Emblem: Top 7 Best HR Consulting Firms
Top 7 Best HR Consulting Firms | Brief Comparison & Ranking
Top HR Consulting Firms
|Aon Hewitt||Globally efficient business model & structure||
|Cambria Consulting||Data-based assessment services||
|Deloitte Consulting||Wide range of business advisory & HR services||
|Hay Group||Robust set of actionable HR consulting services||
|Mercer||Strong focus on workplace & careers services||
|Oliver Wyman||Wide range of tailored, specific industry sectors||
|Willis Towers Watson||Proprietary human resources software||
Table: Top 7 Best HR Consulting Firms | Above list is sorted by rating
How to Select the Right HR Consulting Firm
If your goal is to address any of the needs listed above, you may have already begun your search for the best HR consulting firms.
Here are some tips to help you narrow it down, since the process of finding HR consulting firms tends can be difficult to navigate:
Reputation is Key
When you’re searching for a consulting firm, begin narrowing down the top HR consulting firms by seeking recommendations whenever possible.
If you can’t find personal recommendations, look for reviews online that will indicate the professional reputation of any firm you’re considering.
When it comes to the HR industry, certifications are extremely important to ensure high-quality and up-to-date HR services.
For example, you might want to consider looking at the firms which have HR consultants holding the Senior Professional in Human Resources Management (SPHR) certification.
This demonstrates that the professionals within that firm have knowledge on all the most essential areas of human resources on an executive level.
You can check HRCI.org to determine whether individuals within a firm hold this designation.
Abundant publications can also demonstrate that members of HR consulting firms have a strong, authoritative reputation in their industry.
You’ll often find that some of the most sought-after professionals from top HR consulting firms will have written extensively for trade publications, and may have even written books or been part of regular engagements for HR-related professional associations.
You may require an HR consulting firm that specializes in a particular area. For example, maybe you need help managing a mergers and acquisitions scenario.
In this case, finding a firm that specializes in mergers and acquisitions would be a pivotal element of your search as you narrow down the list of HR consulting firms.
Ask for References
When you’re selecting a firm, whether it’s one of the largest HR consulting firms or a boutique agency, it’s important to ask for client references.
These firms should have a long list of clients to demonstrate their quality of work, and you should ask for references with work most similar to your needs.
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Detailed Review – Top Ranking Best HR Consulting Firms
Below, please find a detailed review of each firm on our list of best HR consulting firms. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these top HR consulting firms to score so high in our selection ranking.
Click on any of the names below to go directly to the review section for that firm.
- Aon Hewitt
- Cambria Consulting
- Deloitte Consulting
- Hay Group
- Oliver Wyman
- Willis Towers Watson
Click below for previous years’ rankings:
Aon Hewitt Review
Aon Hewitt is a global consulting firm focusing on risk management, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, and a variety of human resources and outsourcing services and solutions.
Aon’s focus isn’t just on human resources in general – the company specializes in managing areas of risk.
It employs 50,000 people and is one of the leading HR consulting firms in the world, with a global presence in 120 countries.
Key Factors That Led to Our Ranking of Aon Hewitt as One of the Top HR Consulting Firms
Below, please find a detailed overview of the key factors that influenced our decision to include Aon Hewitt on our list of best HR consultants.
With offices around the world, Aon maintains a strong presence and delivers a highly customized level of service to each company or business it partners with.
This globalized framework helps Aon provide unique HR consultancy services, with each service catered for individual regions and cultures.
Aon combines not only a worldwide presence and a globally-driven mindset but also localized solutions: a diverse set of intellectual capital and innovative technology to create the solutions people need to achieve their goals.
Human Resources Solutions
Aon’s HR branch of services are split into three categories: Talent, Rewards and Performance, Retirement and Investment, and Health and Benefits.
Perhaps the most diverse group of services comes from Talent, Rewards and Performance, including (but not limited to):
- Broad-based Compensation—Ensures pay programs are effective, competitive, and aligned with company goals
- Sales Force Effectiveness—Helps target customers effectively, develop talent management strategies, and incentivize sales people
- Employee Selection—Uses assessments, latest technology, development, and validation to drive results and find the highest quality talent
- Employee Engagement—Includes everything from survey design to planning and implementation to gain insight and create fulfilling outcomes
- HR Effectiveness—HR strategy consultants identify specific needs and opportunities to boost effectiveness, efficiency, and results
One of the greatest HR challenges comes from finding dynamic talent to help an organization thrive amidst an ever-changing economic environment.
As one of the best human resources consulting firms, Aon provides a thorough human capital strategy to provide effective talent solutions. This strategy includes six components:
- Strategy—Align and optimize programs, risk management, and organizational culture to drive business objectives
- Assessment & Selection—Uncover key personality aspects to predict fit, value, and high performance
- Management—Reflect the firm’s unique culture by aligning performance and rewards with talent strategy
- Engagement—Measure and improve employee engagement to drive results
- Leadership—Ensure a healthy and growing pipeline of talent through leadership positions
- HR Effectiveness—Build, strengthen, and improve HR functions
Aon Hewitt is one of the most well-known HR consulting firms, with decades of experience and clients spread across the globe.
What makes Aon particularly compelling is their range of HR consultancy services, providing organizations with everything they need to recruit, develop, and retain top talent and best business practices.
With a keen eye on the importance of staff development and talent recruitment, our review gives Aon Hewitt a full 5-star rating.
Cambria Consulting Review
Founded in 1985, Cambria Consulting has over three decades of experience providing expert HR consultancy services for Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, and government organizations.
Their approach centers on effectively developing talent by executing strategic programs and solutions, all fully customized to fit the unique needs of their clients.
The firm’s headquarters are in Boston, Massachusetts, although Cambria maintains worldwide alliances and networks to strengthen their HR consultancy services for global companies.
Key Factors That Led to Our Ranking of Cambria Consulting as One of the Top HR Consulting Companies
Below, please find a detailed overview of the key factors that influenced our decision to include Cambria Consulting on our list of best HR consulting firms.
Wide Range of Notable Clients
Cambria has worked with an impressive range of high-profile clients from a wide range of industries, including:
- Biotech & Pharmaceuticals
- Consumer Products & Retail
- Engineering & Manufacturing
- Financial Services
- Media & Publishing
- Nonprofit & NGO
- Professional Services
- Public Sector
Some of these clients include Bayer, Nike, ExxonMobil, GE, MasterCard, Hyatt, MetLife, The Wall Street Journal, NASA, and the Social Security Administration.
Interestingly, some of Cambria’s most notable clients include competing consulting firms, like Accenture, Ernst & Young, and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The firm publicly posts reviews from their clients, and provides detailed case studies to help potential clients determine whether their HR consulting services are right for them.
Not only does this show that Cambria is committed to transparency, but a wide range of notable clients validate their expertise and authority within the HR services industry.
Executive Assessment Services
As an objective, data-driven HR consulting firm, Cambria provides a range of assessment services for company executives.
Assessment services available from this top HR consultant include (but are not limited to):
- Executive Assessment—Gain a full picture of the capabilities, risk factors, and long-term potential of current, potential, and outside candidates
- Leadership Inventory™360—Evaluate mid-level and senior managers with local or global responsibilities based on fourteen essential aspects
- Management Inventory™360—Evaluate first and mid-level managers with organizational unit or team responsibilities based on eighteen essential aspects
- Custom 360 Instruments—Create an assessment based on competencies and behaviors that are uniquely important to your success
These in-depth assessments range from behavioral interviewing to assess senior role candidates to providing developmental feedback on management skills, providing valuable data for organizations of all sizes.
Not only does Cambria Consulting deliver evidence-based, comprehensive HR consulting services, but they also have an impressive track record of clients to back their expertise.
Additionally, the firm maintains an active repository of educational and informative documents, including blog posts, videos, presentations, eBooks, and whitepapers.
With a strong focus on client education and a history of delivering successful strategies, Cambria is one of the best human resources consulting firms to consider partnering with this year.
Deloitte Consulting Review
Chances are, you’ve likely heard of Deloitte Consulting, another one of the top HR consulting firms in the world.
Deloitte and its subsidiaries have approximately 245,000 employees spread across 150 countries and territories, all with a single-minded dedication to helping clients tackle their most difficult challenges.
The HR consulting company had a recorded revenue of $36.8 billion for FY2016, offering solutions across more than 20 industries.
Key Factors That Led to Our Ranking of Deloitte Consulting as One of the Top HR Consulting Firms
Below, please find a detailed overview of the key factors that influenced our decision to include Deloitte Consulting on our list of best HR consulting firms.
When using audit services from Deloitte, businesses and clients can improve their levels of trust when they invest in both public and capital markets, and the focus is on both quality and innovation.
The professional audit team works to give clients independent financial statements and control audits that are in-line with the most updated standards.
Consulting services fall into three main categories: human capital, strategy and operations, and technology.
Regardless of the complexity or difficulty of a business solution, Deloitte works to find answers that will keep an organization moving ahead with strong actions that deliver results, ensuring it remains one of the most respected HR consulting firms.
See below for an overview of human capital and strategy and operations services, two unique HR consultancy services offered by Deloitte.
In terms of human capital, Deloitte has a team dedicated specifically to this area to help manage talent and create programs that will maximize employees, develop strong leaders, and create programs that improve both performance and revenue.
Specific human capital focus areas include benefits, culture, and training.
Strategy & Operations
Strategy and operations services are designed to give senior executives a platform from which to approach and solve their most difficult problems.
Some of the subcategories within this service area include business model transformation, finance, and mergers and acquisitions.
Businesses continue to face an environment dominated by increasingly complex regulations.
Deloitte provides regulatory services that help businesses not only ensure that they are compliant, but also to manage the impact these regulations have on them.
Rather than viewing regulations as an obstacle, it’s the hope of Deloitte’s regulatory specialists that they’re able to help businesses view these as potential opportunities. Specific regulatory service areas include energy and resources, enterprise compliance, and financial services.
Deloitte is consistently applauded as one of the top HR consulting firms in the world, providing industry-leading tax, audit, advisory, and consulting services across the globe.
What sets Deloitte apart is their extensive network of independent firms, global outreach, and research-driven approach to HR consulting.
No matter the location or consulting needs, clients can trust this top HR consulting firm has the resources and industry expertise to help them achieve their goals, earning Deloitte Consulting a full 5-star rating.
Hay Group Review
Hay Group was founded in 1943 and, since then, has been providing outstanding global services based on a combination of great people and innovative technology.
Hay Group is billed as one of the top HR consulting firms, and it helps businesses within all areas of its “people strategy”. This includes delivering insight into how people work, how they should be paid, and how companies can attract and retain the best talent.
Solutions offered by this HR consultant are designed to deliver a workforce that is engaged and productive.
Key Factors That Led to Our Ranking of Hay Group as One of the Top HR Consulting Firms
Below, please find a detailed overview of the key factors that influenced our decision to include Hay Group on our list of best HR consultancy services.
As well as being people-centric, Hay Group ranks on our list of the best HR consulting firms because it’s driven by data.
A great example of this is their employee survey services, aimed to measure employee engagement and unlock performance. These HR consultancy services offer a few specific advantages:
- Unrivalled knowledge
- Deep understanding
- Robust benchmarking
- The right results
- Expert support
Aside from integrating data analysis, employee survey services are also a great example of how Hay Group demonstrates a keen awareness of interpersonal dynamics.
Employees that are frustrated or dissatisfied can subconsciously hinder an organization from reaching its full potential, and failing to recognize these issues can dramatically stunt growth over the long run.
HR Consulting Services
When it comes to HR consultancy services, the top HR consulting firms should offer a diverse set of HR consultancy services to benefit a variety of client needs.
Services offered by Hay Group, one of the top HR consulting firms, include:
Hay Group will look at each of the job roles in your business to uncover not just the how’s, but also the why’s and the where’s. This helps to create appropriate reward structures.
Recruitment is key to business growth and success in any industry. Hay Group helps companies not just source but also attract the talent they need and want.
It’s a highly scalable HR consultant service, so whether you’re simply looking for one employee or thousands around the world, it has the sources and expertise to guide your search.
This is a hot-button issue in the corporate world right now, and having the right pay structure is essential for attracting, retaining, and engaging employees.
The team of HR consultants at Hay Group can help you find a balance between budget and good employees.
Simply finding top talent isn’t enough. Great employees need to be developed to maximize their talent, and Hay Group can help businesses make the most of their talent through development that’s in-line with their unique business strategy.
Disengagement in the workplace is a leading cause of business problems, including lack of productivity and high turnover rates.
Hay Group can help you uncover new sources of engagement and make sure your employees are motivated and are an asset to your organization.
One of the elements we found to be really about Hay Group and which led us to name it as one of our top HR consulting firms is its focus on actionability.
It won’t just help you create strategies, but it’ll also help you realistically put them in place. Strategy is nothing without activation, and that’s something Hay Group has a firm grasp on.
Hay Group creates people-centric strategies and implements action by taking the following steps:
- Assessing your employees
- Designing your organization in a way that reflects strategy
- Developing your people
- Conducting employee surveys
- Evaluating your jobs
- Managing your people
- Rewarding your employees
As a top HR consulting firm, Hay Group provides HR consulting services that exclusively focus on the most significant needs of any business—to support and develop internal talent.
Their people-centric strategies are top-notch, redefining standards within the industry and earning Hay Group a 5-star rating among the best HR consulting firms.
Mercer is another one of the top HR consulting firms in the world, with a strong global presence and a reputation spanning more than 70 y.
Mercer approaches HR consultancy services from within the framework of a dedication to innovation.
It’s one of the top HR consulting firms because of its comprehensive, holistic approach that pairs with specialized knowledge and experience.
The firm driven by deep analytics to provide a basis for each of its solutions, and was recently ranked as 2018’s number one Best Consulting Firm for Human Resources Consulting by Vault.
Key Factors That Led to Our Ranking of Mercer as One of the Top HR Consulting Companies
Below, please find a detailed overview of the key factors that influenced our decision to include Mercer on our list of best HR consulting firms.
Health and Benefits
One of Mercer’s primary service areas is employee health and benefits, delivered to everyone from small businesses to multinational enterprises.
Within this service, subcategories include:
- Private health exchange
- Global benefits
- Employee benefits
- Health Benefits Administration, including retirement benefits
- Affinity benefits
Mercer will work for your company to create valuable, realistic health and benefits packages and strategies that are in-line with your strategic goals and objectives.
Workforce and Careers
This area of Mercer’s service offerings really speaks to the heart of what HR consultancy services truly encompass.
Services provided by HR consultants at Mercer include:
- Talent strategy
- Executive compensation
- Workforce rewards
- Talent mobility
- HR transformation
- Employee communication
- Workday services
All of these people-related services are backed by robust data and analytics for an objective strategy rather than people management, which is subjective.
Particularly notable is their focus on improving employee communication, which is particularly important for companies undergoing rebranding, restructuring, or transformation.
Mercer creates innovative tools to ensure that everyone is on the same page, like Mercer Belong® and Mercer Career View™, two platforms which facilitate communication via app.
As a top HR consulting firm, Mercer understands that effective communication comes with a myriad of benefits, like improved engagement, keener internal awareness, better performance, and talent retention.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Other Mercer service areas include the management of mergers and acquisitions. These HR consultancy services include:
- M&A due diligence
- Post-merger integration
- Private equity advisory
Mercer approaches M&A well before the negotiations begin and continues well after the deal is completed.
This top HR consulting firm can provide both the financial and technical due diligence, as well as in-depth project management and seamless post-merger integration.
For HR consulting clients, Mercer is a great fit. Not only does the firm have a global outreach and decades of experience, but their HR consultants offer research-driven expertise across a variety of HR fields.
What we found most compelling about Mercer is the firm’s dedication to promoting effective communication as a means of improving HR functions.
Reliable, effective communication in the workplace is essential for growth, and this keen awareness solidifies Mercer’s ranking as a 5-star HR consultant.
Oliver Wyman Review
Next on our list of the best HR consulting firms is Oliver Wyman: a firm focused on helping innovators and free thinkers develop the people strategies that are needed to succeed.
Oliver Wyman is a purpose-driven company, and that purpose is to bring together the best people to create value, ending in lasting contributions to clients as well as entire industries and societies.
Key Factors That Led to Our Ranking of Oliver Wyman as One of the Top HR Consulting Firms
Below, please find a detailed overview of the key factors that influenced our decision to include Oliver Wyman on our list of best HR consultants.
One of the big reasons we cite Oliver Wyman on this list is because it’s dedicated to not only hiring exceptional people, but also to thinking outside the box to develop truly unique solutions.
Oliver Wyman defines its approach as being a partnership, and it’s also one based on high levels of expertise.
It works to develop close, deep bonds with clients, ensuring collaboration across every level of an organization to solve even the most difficult and complex challenges.
Strong Corporate Values
Oliver Wyman explicitly outlines its system of corporate values, which aim to bring together the best people to create long-term value, contributing to shared success.
Part of its values-driven approach relies on having a business structure that isn’t based on traditional hierarchies but is, instead, about respect and helping everyone realize their full potential.
When searching for HR consultants to join the team, the emphasis is not only on finding that rare combination of innovators with fresh thinking who can uncover insights contributing to HR-related transformations, but also on finding people that can work collaboratively.
This is crucial, since a team approach is vital to what this HR consulting company does.
Oliver Wyman offers a broad range of services, and we’ll highlight a few of the primary ones:
Under the umbrella of Actuarial services, the Oliver Wyman specialists work with businesses to manage property, casualty, life, annuity, and healthcare risks.
They can qualify risk and loss exposures, provide guidance on external strategies and internal risk management, assist with mergers and acquisitions, and work on new product development.
Business and Organization Transformation
If a company is undergoing significant change, Oliver Wyman will help manage the transition and make it more seamless. Areas of focus are structure and operations, workflows, and organizational capabilities.
Corporate Finance and Restructuring
Under this HR consultant category, subservices include mergers and acquisitions, structured finance, project finance, restructuring, and post-merger integration.
Oliver Wyman Labs
The Oliver Wyman Labs are a signature offering from this HR consulting company, which allows clients to leverage technology to implement real, attainable business impacts.
Using Wyman Labs lets clients use the power of the information they already hold to develop a sustainable competitive advantage.
Pricing, Sales and Marketing
The level of economic competition is growing at a staggering pace. That makes it more challenging for businesses of all scales to determine the right way to increase their revenue.
Using these HR consultancy services will allow clients to create customer-centric planning and implement commercialization strategies to improve margins and profits.
The HR consultants at Oliver Wyman designs tailored strategies by taking an outsider perspective. This lets it identify new challenges as well as opportunities to harnesses resources and drive growth.
The Sustainability Center helps businesses maintain financial success while simultaneously identifying ways to be more environmentally conscious and efficient with their use of natural resources.
One of the many things about Oliver Wyman that led to our inclusion of this HR consulting firm on our list is the wide range of industries it serves.
This top HR consulting firm doesn’t just serve diverse industries—it specializes in them, earning the firm a 5-star rating.
As a result, Oliver Wyman can drill down to the specifics of each and deliver consulting services that aren’t just HR-driven, but are also industry and sector-driven for the most personalized, tailored results possible.
Willis Towers Watson Review
With roots tracing back to 1828, Willis Towers Watson is an HR consulting firm with a long history of excellence in providing advisory, brokerage, and solutions services.
The firm was created in 2015 after a merger between Willis Group and Towers Watson.
Today, with the power of two HR consulting firms, clients have access to over 40,000 employees spread across six continents, making Willis Towers Watson one of the largest human resources consulting firms in the world.
Key Factors That Led to Our Ranking of Willis Towers Watson as One of the Top HR Consulting Firms
Below, please find a detailed overview of the key factors that influenced our decision to include Willis Towers Watson on our list of best HR consultants.
Human Resources Software
As one of the top HR consulting firms, Willis Towers Watson has spent decades creating and perfecting their own proprietary human resources software.
Their software products encompass a range of HR consulting services and functions, from supporting employee engagement to assessing talent and development. Clients can choose from the following options:
- Compensation Software—Helps global companies design and build an effective compensation structure
- Compensation Planning Software—Balances the management of a global budget and the need to reward employees
- Data Services—Provides access to the world’s largest database of HR and compensation data
- Employee Engagement Software—Provides solutions for motivating employees
- HR Portal Software—Provides integrated employee access to important HR services and content
- Talent Analytics Software—Enhances productivity through data-based decisions
- Talent Assessment Software—Supports effective recruitment and employee development through global data, consulting, and technology
Project Management & Advisory Services
Uniquely, Willis Towers Watson also offers HR consultancy services for clients that need help managing their projects.
Project management services come with the following benefits:
- Experienced, trusted global teams
- Complete management from beginning to end
- Tried and tested project management tools
- Experienced senior HR consultants deliver presentations and workshops
Whether enlisted on a one-time basis or ongoing, effective project management is a key element of ensuring that projects are successful.
It’s also an element that many HR consultants overlook, which certainly puts Willis Towers Watson among the best HR consulting firms.
Despite the firm’s expertise and unique HR consulting services, our review did find one significant issue.
Since merging the two companies in 2015, the newly formed Willis Towers Watson has yet to fully integrate their website into one, comprehensive listing of services and capabilities.
With an incredibly strong industry reputation and an expert, comprehensive focus on HR consulting, Willis Towers Watson could easily earn a 5-star rating by completing the merger process and integrating their websites.
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Conclusion – Top HR Consulting Firms
With so many HR consulting firms on the market, it can be a challenge to even know where to begin.
After analyzing each top HR consulting firm, we hope that our list of the best HR consultants can provide essential guidance and direction.
Of course, this list is by no means exhaustive, but should serve as an initial guide to help you as you begin your search.
Ultimately, this review of the top HR consulting firms provides a framework of important criteria to rely on while you select the best HR consulting services for your needs, even if you choose an HR consultant not listed here.
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