Best HR Consulting Firms
Compare the best HR consulting firms working in the UK today and find quotes for your business
Human Resources (HR) is a function that wears many hats. A business’ HR needs change from one moment to the next. Making sure you have the right skills in the right place, at the right time, to deal with HR activities can quickly become an issue for many small businesses.
Choosing the right HR company for your business is essential to receiving the HR support that your start-up needs. Often, small businesses outsource this support to HR consulting firms.
We have selected and reviewed some of the best HR consulting firms for small businesses and start-ups in the UK in this article.
However, for a small business, the range of HR outsourcing companies can seem overwhelming. Plus, it can be difficult to know whether you need ongoing or one-off support, as well as what type of HR software to use and why. For more personalised help, and to compare quotes for HR, tell us a a little bit about what you need, and we'll match you with HR companies that make sense.
Feel free to jump to our HR consulting firms FAQ section if you need some answers before you read more!
Our top picks for HR consulting companies
The table below includes a brief comparison of the 5 best UK HR consulting companies:
|HR Consulting Company||Best for||Suitable for|
|Avensure||HR and employment law, and health and safety||Small to large businesses
|citrusHR||Affordable and varied HR packages||Small businesses and charities
|Moorepay||Payroll services||Small to large businesses
|Peninsula||Employment law and HR, health and safety||Small businesses
|HR Solutions||General HR services and online support||Small to medium businesses (SMBs)|
Best UK HR consulting firms
Avensure offers outsourced HR services in two key specialities: employment law and health and safety.
It offers fixed monthly fee packages, making the costs of the core HR functions clear and simple from the business owner’s point of view. With glowing credentials and a strong track record for success, Avensure treats its clients personably.
By utilising the package approach to employment law and health and safety, Avensure makes sure that clients are completely covered. Its employment law services provide you with one-to-one support and advice any time of day, all year round.
You will receive tailored contracts, policies and handbooks to enable you to clearly manage your HR needs. Additionally, if you need employment tribunal cover and representation, this is all included. Avensure’s health and safety services extend to site evaluation and action plans, as well as relevant training.
Avensure is best for HR and employment law, as well as health and safety HR consulting.
Avensure’s specialisms make it ideal for a range of small to large businesses looking to outsource the essential elements of HR; however it’s services aren’t designed only for small businesses.
- Specialises in employment law and health and safety
- Services provided on a fixed fee package basis
- Employment tribunal cover and representation available
- Health and safety site evaluations offered
- Services aren’t aimed at only small businesses
- May not be ideal for businesses that aren’t needing specialist employment law or health and safety support
citrusHR is a HR company offering dedicated services to small businesses and charities. It offers a complete and comprehensive HR service covering everything you need, as well as tailored packages so that you can select the services you require.
You benefit from a personal qualified HR consultant who is able to offer advice on what your business needs, in the most cost-effective way.
An affordable option for many small businesses, citrusHR covers the full range of HR requirements – from performance management to redundancy, disciplinary and grievance procedures, to employment law.
It can also provide you with tailored staff handbooks and employment contracts – as well as up-to-date advice, health and safety management, and ongoing HR support – and you can also benefit from citrusHR’s own in-house HR software tailored for small businesses.
citrusHR is best for catering to small businesses and charities and offering affordable HR packages.
citrusHR is an excellent choice because it’s able to handle a range of HR issues, which can greatly relieve pressure on small business owners and managers. Although it may not be an ideal choice once a business has grown, citrusHR is an excellent option until then.
- Specialises in supporting small businesses and charities
- Offers a full range of HR services and software
- Your business is provided with a personal HR consultant
- Packages are available
- May not be suitable for bigger businesses
- As it’s a generalist service, there aren’t particular areas of HR that are specialised in
Moorepay specialises in payroll and generalised HR services. It is experienced in providing payroll and HR services to small and large businesses alike. Moorepay makes sense of legislation, taxation, and benefits, so that you can get on with the important functions of your business.
Moorepay is partnered with big name high street banks so you can be sure your payroll is in good hands. It has more than 10,000 customers, and can offer a personalised service with HR specialists on hand whenever you need them. Moorepay operate through a combination of software provision and HR support.
In addition to its expert payroll services, Moorepay offers generalised HR services. This includes health and safety management, employment law and auto enrolment.
Moorepay is best for payroll services and generalised HR consulting.
Having started in payroll, this is undoubtedly where Moorepay is best; however, the range of services that it offers mean that Moorepay can help small businesses to operate efficiently and effectively.
- Payroll specialists
- An established business with more than 10,000 customers
- Partnerships with high street banks
- HR support and software available
- Some small businesses may feel a lack of personal connection, due to the number of customers
- If your business doesn’t require payroll assistance specifically, then other options could be also be suitable
Peninsula has been providing HR support since 1983, and has worked with approximately 33,000 businesses. It operates across the UK, as well as internationally.
Offering a range of services, including employment law and HR, as well as health and safety, Peninsula can provide HR support and software. 24-hour advice and options for on-site visits and training are also available.
You can choose from the HR or health and safety packages, or a combined package (with HR, employment law, plus health and safety support all included). Peninsula’s pricing is based on a per employee, per month basis.
Peninsula is best for a variety of HR consultancy services, which are all targeted at the needs of small businesses.
However, due to Peninsula’s size and scale, some small businesses may feel lost among all of the clients.
- All services are aimed at the small business market
- Established HR firm with an extensive client list
- Advice is available on a 24-hour basis
- Clear pricing structure
- Its size and scale may be intimidating for some small businesses
- It may be too generalist for companies wanting very specific HR support
Offering an extensive range of HR services, including support and software, HR solutions is a family-run small business. This makes it an ideal match for other small businesses looking for a similar approach.
Its services are available on a per hour or a package basis, meaning that it’s easy to understand how much you’re likely to need to budget for the support that your business requires.
HR solutions runs seminars and webinars, as well as offering online training – providing additional ways to ensure that your small business is compliant with the correct HR policies and procedures.
HR Solutions is best for start-ups wanting to work with another small business – it’s a small team offering HR support and software, as well as online training, and more.
With offices in the Midlands and the south, HR Solutions may not be ideal for small businesses in other areas requiring in-person HR services.
- Family-run small business
- Offers a wide range of HR services and software
- Easy to understand pricing
- Online resources available
- May not be suitable for small businesses that need in-person support and that are situated outside of its office locations
- As it’s a small business, it may not be ideal for larger companies
Choosing HR consulting companies: What are the next steps?
From reading this article, you’ve learned more about some of the best HR consulting firms for small businesses in the UK. We’ve profiled five providers and highlighted why they may be suitable for your start-up.
To summarise, here are our top choices for UK HR consulting companies:
- Avensure – best for HR and employment law and health and safety
- citrusHR – best for affordability and varied HR packages, specialises in small businesses and charities
- Moorepay – best for payroll services and general HR consultancy; it's partnered with high-street banks
- Peninsula – best for the breadth of HR services aimed at the small business market
- HR Solutions – best for SMBs wanting to work with a reliable, family-run small business
Read on for more detailed information that answers some of the common queries about the role of HR consulting firms.
If your business needs HR help, then comparing top HR consulting firms is essential. Whether you need full HR cover, ongoing support, or just project-based work, there are suppliers available to suit you. The best way to choose between HR companies is to speak to them – we can help here. Answer a few short questions about your requirements and we can put you directly in touch with suppliers that can offer you quality service and products.
HR consulting companies FAQs
1. What do HR consulting firms do?
HR is an umbrella term for a wide range of functions, from recruitment to employment law, salary benchmarking to personnel administration. HR companies are capable of meeting all of these day-to-day HR tasks, as well as providing HR management consulting, so that your business can utilise their HR to manage your needs.
The main functions of HR consulting can be broken down into these distinct HR roles:
- Recruitment – bringing new staff into your business
- HR project management – handling issues that require a lot of resources that cannot be managed internally
- Employment law – ensuring that your business does not break any laws
- Employee development – helping your business to identify and improve staff
- Payroll – processing employee salaries, pensions and bonuses
- Personnel admin – keeping track of staff details and information
- Disciplinary and grievances – managing staff misdemeanours and disciplinaries
- Health and safety – making sure that your business operates safely, with risks removed where possible
From sourcing to selecting, recruitment can be a nightmare for the small business owner. HR companies can take care of the whole employment process, from advertising to interviewing, or guide you with support and assistance on how to conduct recruitment.
HR project management
Many HR functions that HR companies do can fall under the heading of project management. These projects may be fundamental and essential to your business but detract enormously from your time and resources.
An HR management company can take on project management from employment tribunal case management to redundancies management, or restructuring to mediation and TUPE management (the procedure of transferring employees between businesses).
The UK now has a complex and evolved employment law landscape. Ensuring you operate within the law as an employer can become a full-time job for a business owner.
An HR company will be able to advise, assist, and guide all elements of employment law within your business. This will also include policy creation and management.
Some HR companies will be able to organise and manage your employee development programme. This will include identifying skills and training needed, and organising courses and coaching appropriately. They can take charge of managing all of your soft skills, employee development, and CPD requirements.
Payroll and benefits administration
HR management companies oversee your payroll administration, as well as offering benefits advice and often preferential services through their connections.
They will be able to help with pension regulations and management, medical and life insurance, and all employee assistance programmes. Furthermore, skilled HR management companies can carry out salary benchmarking, salary reviews and more.
Personnel administration and HR software
Record keeping regarding your personnel can incur a number of legal issues, as well as being a complicated task. HR companies can take over all aspects of your small business’ personnel administration, from reference checks to performance appraisals, and even down to changes of address.
Disciplinary and grievance procedure management
One of the hardest, and most time-consuming, tasks that a business must undertake is the disciplinary or grievance procedure. HR outsourcing companies can remove the stress and hard work by guiding, assisting, and running the process for you.
The top HR companies will be experts in mediation and employment law so that your business remains protected at all times.
Health and safety management
A distinct area of HR employment law is health and safety. HR companies can offer health and safety services to ensure you operate within the law cost-effectively.
Find out more about the pricing options available by visiting our HR outsourcing costs page.
2. How do you choose the right HR consultant?
The above are all examples of functions which will be carried out by top HR companies.
However, some are specialists in their own field, such as employment law, whilst other HR outsourcing companies will offer a more modular approach whereby you pick and choose several areas of HR that you need help with. Not all HR management consulting firms will offer all services. Below are the key things you need to look at when selecting an HR consulting firm or individual.
- HR management consulting reputation
- Industry specialisation
- Certification and qualification
- Best practice
- Integrity and privacy
- Customised solutions
HR management consulting reputation
Reputable HR companies will be happy to provide references, contacts, and examples of how they have proven ability in their niche and display how they are able to deliver results.
Ensure you choose an HR company that has knowledge and experience within your industry to ensure that your HR needs are well met. Your needs as an employer will vary enormously according to your industry, so it is vital that you choose the right HR consultant.
Certification and qualification
The HR profession is expertly regulated in the UK by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
You want to be certain that your chosen HR consultant is both trained by, and a member of, the CIPD. There are different levels of qualifications, and specialisms, within CIPD training. Ideally you want to select HR companies whose consultants have advanced CIPD qualifications.
One of the main reasons for choosing an HR consultancy (rather than taking the function in-house) is to take advantage of their connections and network. An excellent HR company will be able to bring you the benefit of being able to negotiate and leverage on your behalf whilst using their name and contacts.
The world of HRs, and most notably employment law, is continually changing. Ask your shortlisted HR outsourcing companies how they keep on top of trends and best practice.
Integrity and privacy
It is essential you feel reassured that your selected HR company maintains high levels of integrity and privacy.
You will be working closely with your chosen HR consulting firm, so ensure that they are easy to work with.
Rarely does a one-size-fits-all approach work with HR. Make sure the HR company offers tailored solutions with a clear plan of action and defined timeframes.
Ensure you ask about all of the above in the context of your business. Before selecting your chosen HR management company, you should have a shortlist of HR companies which you can investigate, quiz and question.