Category Archives: Human Resources

Why in the World should I Hire a Consultant?

Contributed by Alyanna Espina, Recruitment Manager Amick Brown

We are often asked why companies would hire outside consultants, when they could likely solve their business requirements on their own. After all, they have employees in house, which is more convenient for the company to get things going on solving their problem or starting on their new project. Not only that, these employees already know the company inside and out. Why would they waste their time bringing in an outsider and have them go through onboarding, training, and acclimating them to the culture of the company. Yes, at first look these may all seem like valid points to not hire consultants. However, there are many great reasons why companies hire consultants rather than employees.

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Here are some of the reason why companies hire consultants instead of employees:

  1. They want someone with a broader perspective

Often times, companies or clients already have an idea on how to solve the problem they are facing, but they want to make sure that the solution they have in mind is legitimate. Sometimes, they may be close to the answer, but may be missing out due to being too close to the problem. So, they turn to consultants for their expertise because they may have already worked through a similar problem in the past with someone else. The consultant can also give insight on what they have seen work (and not work)  with prior clients. With this experience, they can bring new and innovative ideas, or possible challenges to the table. Consultants bring in a new frame of reference for the company, and helps get rid of the mentality of “things are always done this way” attitude in organizations. In doing so, solving problems or getting projects done on time become more effective.

2. They need more manpower temporarily

Companies have important problems that need solving, but they don’t necessarily have the employee breadth to focus on them. It makes it difficult, since the companies still have to focus on their everyday operations and new projects usually require reprioritizing employees’ core job responsibilities. However, hiring new employees to fill in these gaps may not always work out considering most of these projects do not last very long or may not happen at all. Despite, having employees in house, companies might have difficulties getting the teams organized to do this critical work.

In these situations, consultants come in to serve as temporary, highly skilled employees. Since, they are not full-time employees of the company, it is often cheaper to use consultants than to hire new employees. Consultants are used to switching around companies, creating a very fast learning curve. Also, companies do not have to take their own employees away from their actual day-to-day jobs. It’s a win-win situation all around!

3. They need specific skills that they do not currently have

Another reason why companies hire consultants is to acquire specific skill set that might not be easily available in house. Working with firms who have access to these highly skilled professionals may be more efficient for your company.  With constant innovation in the tech world, keeping your staff 100% state-of-the-art is nearly impossible. Luckily, consultants make it possible for companies to bring in the skill set they demand whenever they need it, since staffing firms make it their business to keep consultants trained and ready for every situation.

4. Sometimes, it is better to have a mediator/ nonpartisan influence

When companies run into a challenging problem, it can be troublesome for them to make decisions or take the necessary actions without getting caught up in emotions or politics. In order to alleviate the situation, companies bring in consultants to provide unbiased solutions to the problem. Consultants are then able to come in and ensure that the problem is being handled by an external party that is both experienced and removed from any controversies. Moreover, consultants can also serve as back-up or affirmation for a client who is attempting to carry out a new idea that might not be well-received within an organization, without any risk to their career.


There are many, many more reasons why companies hire consultants/contractors. I have only touched on a few and would love to hear your must unique reason for hiring a contractor !

With the advent of culture matching and executive oversight for every project, the reward will outweigh the risk.  Save the high dollar value of advertising, screening, interviewing, and hiring an employee by meeting requirements with consultants.

Diversity – Embracing the New View

By Karen Gildea, Managing Partner, Amick Brown

We live, play and work in an immensely diverse world.  To classify ourselves, we align with others of the same representative group.  We categorize ourselves into numerous different groups based on race, gender, age, religion, culture, ethnic background, etc.  The list of identity groupings can be endless.

The traditional view of diversity in the corporate world has had a focus on preventing discrimination of specific minority groups – preventing exclusion.  We are experiencing a shift now….from preventing exclusion to embracing inclusion.  We are moving away from regarding diversity only as a compliance requirement, to recognizing the value of and benefiting from the various perspectives of different identify groups as a business strategy.

The new view of diversity as defined by the Society for Human Resource Management encompasses “the qualities, life experiences, personalities, education, skills, competencies and collaboration of the many different types of people who are necessary to propel an organization to success.” 

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Some of the benefits associated with a focus on diversity and inclusion include:

  • Diverse teams that include individuals of different ages and with different backgrounds and perspectives can be more creative and innovative because the contribution and influence is more varied and therefore rich.
  • Employers want the best and brightest to join their organization. You don’t know what identity group your best match might be associated with.  A company with strong diversity and inclusion goals and a diverse workforce will be attractive to high potential candidates regardless of their identity group.
  • As with employees, customers will be associated with many identity groups as well. A diverse and inclusive workforce as well as a brand that represents a company’s diversity position will be helpful in attracting those customers.
  • While affirmative action programs still exist to counter-balance historic discrimination, fostering a diverse workforce, and working with diversity supplies will satisfy compliance requirements – not doing so might result in missed opportunities.

At a high level, developing a business strategy to support diversity and inclusion can be approached in a similar fashion as other business strategies.

  • Must have Executive commitment;
  • Create a responsible party/organization to champion the effort and shepherd its development and progress;
  • Perform an assessment of the current state that includes not only the demographics of the organization but also the perspectives of the employees regarding the company’s diversity;
  • Evaluate the results of the assessment and determine path forward that might include hiring goals encompassing all of the dimensions of diversity, diversity supplier purchasing goals and organization leadership goals to name just a few;
  • Facilitate organizational, process and any system changes required to support the strategy and goals;
  • Communicate and provide training to all in the organization. Ensure the message is shared by the executive leadership to demonstrate its commitment to diversity;
  • Monitor, measure and evaluate – adjust as needed over time.

Consider diversity in terms of the benefits it can bring to an organization.  Companies that expand their hiring practices to include individuals from varying backgrounds and those just entering the workforce in addition to those that are seasoned with experience will be rewarded with a rich and diverse workforce.  The brand will benefit as well, and at a minimum, the daily work life will be enriched by the many cultures, generations and viewpoints offered by a diverse group of individuals.

As a core belief in how we approach our business , Amick Brown works hard every day to promote the internal and client-facing benefits of diversity.


Where DOES the Time Go? Manage it and Feel Good, once and for all

By Jenna Rosdahl, HR Manager, Amick Brown

Do you ever feel like there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done? Well you’re not the only one. Many of us find ourselves wishing for a few extra hours at the end of the day to finish our work, run errands, spend quality time with friends or family, or just relax. Twenty-four hours never seems like enough time to get it all done. Don’t agonize over what has not been finished – make sure you have time for the fun things in your life too with these good tips!

  1. Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Let’s be real – there is now an entire industry and field of medicine dedicated to sleep studies and overcoming sleep deprivation. Getting a full seven to nine hours of sleep per night will improve your mood and help you conquer your day. When you feel well rested you have more energy to tackle everything you need to get done and stay focused throughout the day, THEN have motivation to add activities that feel like a bonus. Consider sleep a noncaffienated remedy for better performance of memory and energy.  Throughout your day, you will be able to spend less time thinking of what you should be doing and more time completing tasks efficiently and effectively.

  1. The Early Bird gets the Worm

You know that saying, “the early bird gets the worm”. If you wake up two hours earlier than normal, you have two extra hours in your day to put towards doing what you think is most important to you. This extra time is YOURS. Do what makes you happy! If you are a night owl, you may find out it is better for you to stay up two hours later than normal, and accomplish a few tasks in the evening. If that is the case, take advantage of those few hours. All people are different. Some prefer waking up early and some prefer staying up later. Regardless, either will give you a few extra hours in the day to focus on what you want to get done – make it count for you on a personal level.

  1. Learn to say “No”

You are not Superman even though we sometimes wish we were.  It is important to know that you can’t do it all and that is OK.  You can try to do your best at accomplishing everything you are set out to do in a day, but cut yourself a little slack and say “no” when needed.  If not, this will lead to you getting frustrated or being stressed. “No”  is categorized as such a negative word, but it is not. It is better to give someone a realistic committment rather than promising something that you can’t get done. Manage your time by taking on tasks that you can complete and saying “no” to the tasks you can’t. Your team will appreciate the honesty.

  1. Love a List

I love lists! I admit it, call me crazy, but there is a real satisfaction in not only seeing what lies ahead but crossing those suckers off.  I suggest that you start your day by creating a task list. Your tasks can be as small as “make the bed” or as big as “develop an app”. Write it all down and prioritize your tasks, that way you can see everything that you want to achieve in the day/week.  This will give you a big picture of what your day will consist of and a roadmap on how to attack your day. Taking thirty minutes to do this at the beginning of your day is extremely helpful in managing your time and frankly, getting more done for work and play.

  1. Take a break when you hit a mental block or “just because”

Recently our office added a mid-day walk break for all that want to go. What a difference it made in productivity. Others in the office walk to lunch instead of driving and sitting. Get moving! The oxygen and blood flow hitting your brain resets the creativity, energy, and motivation for us.  It is not only almost impossible, but it is not good for your health to disregard breaks throughout the day. So, take a ten to fifteen minute break every few hours to help clear your mind, re-focus and complete your task more efficiently. Alternatively, take a mid-day walk or go to the gym at lunch. We all know that our minds can drift to different thoughts and ideas and this can prevent us from staying focused. By taking a break, we are allowing our minds to be free for a short amount of time which helps when going back to completing our tasks.

  1. Limit the amount of time spent on each task.

Do you ever start your day early in the morning and then look down at your clock and it’s almost 5:00pm and realize that you have been working on one single thing all day long? It happens to all of us, and yes, sometimes it is necessary to work on one thing all day long because it is important and needs to get done. But, be sure to not make a habit of spending all of your time on one thing. When you are sitting down to get something done, tell yourself that you are going to work on this for two hours or three hours, whatever works best for you. This will push you to stay focused for those few hours and can also help you be more efficient. Sometimes you won’t get the task completed in the timeframe you thought and that is ok. You can always go back to it, but setting a time limit will help you be more productive, therefore create a better outcome .

  1. Value, without exception, your contribution and personal time

We are not perfect. We lose track of time and our day gets away from us. By trying a few of these tips, you are likely to manage your time a lot better and accomplish everything you need and want to each day!

Corporate Social Responsibility and Small Business

by Karen Gildea , Managing Partner , Amick Brown

Sustainability has been a recognized business strategy for the past decade or so.  Strategies to reduce the adverse impact that a corporation had the on the environment were the areas of focus.  Choices to invest in renewable resources, to institute recycling policies and reduce contributions to the pollution of our air and water were key.

Over the past 10 years the objective of sustainability has been shifting from a direct focus on environmental impact to a more far reaching objective that still includes environmental goals, but has also brought broader social concerns into focus as well.

In addition to environmental impact, companies are now paying attention to their employee’s and customer’s well-being and the well-being of the communities that they operate in.  Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR, has become a key business strategy for many global companies with 75% of them tracking and issuing CSR reports.  It is time for all responsible companies, big and small to get on board as well.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) defines Corporate Social Responsibility as “Recognition of the impact a corporation has on the lives of its stakeholders (including shareholders, employees, communities, customers, and suppliers) and the environment; can include corporate governance, corporate philanthropy, sustainability, and employee rights and workplace safety.”

There is a generally recognized principle of the 3 P’s when considering Corporate Social Responsibility:

  • Profit (Economic) – a company must be profitable to be sustainable into the future. A profitable company produces products and services that provide benefit, they pay employees and purchase goods and services which is good for the economy.
  • Planet (Environmental) – a company should have a sustainability strategy to minimize its negative impact on the environment and expanding the use of renewable resources.
  • People (Social) – carrying for employees through pay and benefits, helping them achieve a work/life balance, providing growth opportunities and treating them fairly will make them more productive in the organization. This will create a more sustainable workforce.  A company should also expand its focus to its surrounding community, suppliers and customers – the goal of which is to create a sustainable customer base.

Andrew Savitz represents this concept most concisely in his book “The Triple Bottom Line ”“A sustainable corporation is one that creates profit for its shareholders while protecting the environment and improving the lives of those with whom it interacts.”

Companies do not need to be large corporations to pursue CSR objectives.  Small businesses can and should participate as well.  By including a focus on providing long term value in addition to the pursuit of growth and profits, businesses big and small can advance their CSR impact.

The best way to start is to begin thinking about it – document it as a business strategy.  Think about it in terms of the 3 P’s and start small and simple.  Some ideas:

  • Profit – this one need not be further addressed as it is already a primary objective
  • Planet – with a little thought and planning, small businesses can establish internal processes that support a sustainable environment – simple approaches include:
    • instituting recycling
    • consciously reducing energy usage
    • evaluating suppliers and goods purchased based on their sustainability efforts
  • People – evaluate internal HR policies and employee relations for improvement opportunities:
    • recognize the needs of the employees in balance with the needs of the business; (e.g., flexible work schedules, support training opportunities, etc.)
    • ensure labor compliant and non-discriminatory business practices
    • look for volunteer or charitable opportunities in the community

A move toward CSR does not need to have a negative financial impact on a small business.  There are things that can be done without added cost.  Give it some thought and start small.

Do well by doing good!