Strategic HR Weekly "Sales" Tip #11
Psst! Can I interest you in a colonoscopy?
When you're given the opportunity to offer a significant HR initiative to a client or your employer, do you blurt out "How about we do an HR audit?"
If one were to guess the answer to that question, based on the 100 or so HR consulting firm websites I've been on in the past couple weeks, the answer would definitely be "Yes" - A LOT(!) of the time.
I mentioned to my wife a few weeks back how many HR folks seem to try to "sell" their services by offering an "HR Audit". She used to be an auditor for a public accounting firm, and her immediate response was, "Businesses HATE audits! They're a major pain!"
It'd be like a general practitioner doctor trying to drum up new patients for his/her practice, and leading their "sales pitch" with a colonoscopy... Probably wouldn't be a long line of patients out the door, eagerly awaiting an appointment!
"Audits" conjure up pictures in business owners' minds of "IRS", extreme tedium, and looking around where the light doesn't shine. Not fun! (Although admittedly possibly necessary at some point later in an engagement.)
Alternatively, an "Assessment", by definition, is "a process to determine the value of something", and let's admit it - many business owners aren't HR experts; don't know the value of HR; and need to be educated on it (if we want to get them as a client).
So if you're guilty of suggesting an HR Audit for your prospective clients too early in sales process, and you don't get the "Oh, yippee! I thought you'd never ask!" response you hoped for, I might suggest you shift your focus to an HR Assessment to show the prospective client how HR can be of value to them (impacting their profits). The former approach has given HR its "compliance police" reputation they self-admittedly hate, while the latter approach conveys "HR driving profits" - a welcome addition to upper management.
And just renaming your old Audit to an Assessment won't cut it. That's like renaming a garbage man a "sanitation engineer". Audits and assessments are very different, and business owners are more likely to let you in their door for the latter.