Employee Benefits Consultancy Network

How to Select an Employee Benefit Consultant

Even the largest HR department will need help from external consultants from time to time, to help with a specific problem or to handle a new project. It is often more cost effective to bring in expertise only when it is required rather than hiring expensive permanent technical staff.


Your company may have a formal RFP (request for proposal) process to select suppliers from a shortlist of consulting firms, but how do you decide who goes on the shortlist?


Expert Services

Look for established firms with specialist knowledge of your specific benefits. Ask if they have done similar work for other companies. Choosing a consultant with the exact area of expertise you want can save time and increase the quality. Make sure you will work with a senior-level advisor who has the technical ability that you are paying for.


Local Knowledge

A problem with some international consulting firms is they don’t use their own local offices; global projects may be coordinated from head office by someone with insufficient grasp of the specific market. Ensure you will get help from someone with extensive local knowledge ‘on the ground’.


Professional Service

Start with recommendations; good consulting firms are proud of their reputation. Look for membership of professional affiliations and networks, particularly organizations promoting global standards. Be sure that members are not just names in a database, and they are subject to careful screening and ongoing quality review.



It is important that consulting firms can give independent advice without conflict of interest. You need to know that their advice will be objective and based on solid research. Independent firms depend on their reputation and will be motivated to provide a quality service.



Your consultants may need to work with your staff to get information and with your management team on approvals. Look for advisors who can quickly build rapport at all levels in the organization, and who will maintain good communication throughout the project.



International firms may have economies of scale, but they will also have corporate costs to cover in their fees, and so may not offer the best value on every project. Look to match your needs with consulting firms who can offer the best terms for quality work.


International Regulation

Every country has its own regulatory body, so check the consulting firm is licensed to carry out the work in your locations, and that they are covered by sufficient public liability insurance.



Effective use of technology can really enhance the value offered by consulting firms. Look for firms who are using technology to deliver better results without adding excessive cost to the project.



In Summary

Overall, there are three basic things to look for in a consulting firm: capability to do the work, ability to fit in with your organization, and the motivation to provide a great service.



IBN is a network of independent employee benefit consulting firms in over 70 countries around the world, providing member firms and their clients with access to international employee benefits expertise.