They say an HR professional’s job is never monotonous. This is largely correct. Since we deal with humans, real ones at that, it is seldom that we have a dull day in office. Handling each profile is interesting and new. One of the many areas of work when we get to handle variety and fun is when we have to handle regular staff and consultants.
Each is different from the other, and each brings its own set of unique characteristics. Many organizations need both consultants and regular staff. Let us see what it takes to handle each of these.
Consultants are generally taken for a specific role and purpose. They are usually people who bring a world of experience with them. They are more like advisers. So, you cannot expect them to come to office daily and stay from 8 to 5. How does HR deal with staff like this?
Bound by very few rules
We have to function within set rules. In other words, since we deal with people who come in for a specified purpose; there are very few rules of office that apply to them. Rather, they go by the rules that the top management sets for them. With such employees, we in HR could at best be facilitators of their work, in the sense that we can oversee and judge their work only to a small extent. The organization would have hired them for a clearly specified purpose; they do their work and finish the contract.
They are not bound by general rules of the organization. Where we could talk about implementing working hours, dress code, food and a host of other things for regular employees; we cannot say the same about consultants.The same applies when it comes to appraisals, too. If the organization’s top brass feels like extending their contract, they will. HR has a limited role here, as well.
Being on the organization’s rolls
On the other hand, we have full freedom, so to speak, for dealing with regular staff. Regular staff, of course, consists of regular employees! They are bound by the rules we set, in relation to their working style. If, for instance, we have employees who are habitual latecomers; we could discipline them. We could do the same in relation to many other areas, like their dress, their food and so on.
In sum, handling consultants and regular employees is never the same. We could set many rules for regular staff; but when it comes to consultants, we go by what the organization decides about them.
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