When should you hire outside HR help?

Do you feel you’re juggling too many things at once? When you’re managing every aspect of running a business, it’s challenging to ensure that your human resources-related work is given the attention it needs. When is the point you should seek outside help?

For insight into this topic, we conducted a Q&A with Allison Ebner, Director of Member Relations & Partnerships for the Employers Association of the NorthEast (EANE).

When should I consider outsourcing my business’s HR tasks?

Small business owners should have some sort of HR resource as a partner at all times. This is because HR challenges around compliance at the state and federal levels continue to be more and more complex, and they often come with financial penalties that can be punishing. Since business owners need to focus on their core business model, including production, services and sales, having an HR resource—when you don’t have a dedicated HR manager internally—is a wise business decision.

What are the benefits of outsourcing HR responsibilities?

There are a myriad of benefits that outsourcing HR provides, such as compliance, employee relations, benefits, hiring, onboarding, succession planning, pandemic planning, and more.

Time is one of the biggest benefits that outsourcing your HR can bring to a business owner. By hiring an HR consultant, you can spend more time overseeing other aspects of your business and feel good knowing that everything related to human resources is in expert hands.

Risk mitigation is also an enormous benefit of outsourcing HR. Small business owners cannot keep up with the challenges of compliance updates, so they need a trusted resource to help them stay compliant with changing laws.

Another benefit is the focus on your people. Employees are the most important asset that a business has. Outsourcing some HR support allows you to appoint a dedicated resource to making sure your most important asset is being managed and coached for success.

Where can I find a qualified consultant?

If you need HR help, there are several places for business owners to go for resources. Your payroll provider or insurance broker may be able to offer support around HR services and compliance. There are independent HR consultants that provide services on an hourly basis and can offer flexible solutions that are affordable and can meet the agile needs of the organization. There are also a few other groups like EANE—Employers Association of the NorthEast, that offer supportive services as part of a comprehensive and affordable annual membership.

When looking for an HR professional, make sure that you vet their qualifications before signing a contract. If they are certified by SHRM or HRCI, they have received formal training in human resources. Four key areas of expertise to look for in a candidate for an HR role are familiarity with payroll, recruiting, compliance and employee benefits.

Do I need a full-time HR partner?

Unsure if you should hire someone full time or part time? Typically, companies at or just over 50 employees need a full-time person dedicated to HR. Companies with fewer than 50 employees need at least a part-time person who understands compliance and employee relations. Many organizations ‘appoint’ their payroll person or office manager to this role, but cannot provide adequate training or support for this person to be successful. This is a critical mistake that often backfires and costs the company valuable time, people, and money.

How can I prepare to work with an HR professional?

Business owners should treat their HR professional—whether on staff or working as a consultant—as a strategic business advisor who they trust to help them make important decisions about the company’s ‘people process’. Don’t make the HR role strictly tactical, limited to payroll and benefits. Bring on a savvy HR resource who can address critical issues like workforce planning, training and development of staff, creative recruitment, and more.

We are living in a candidate-driven marketplace, and we must place an emphasis on creating collaborative, people-focused company cultures. Business owners need a partner in HR to help them succeed!

Interested in making your business run more efficiently? Check out the RISBDC’s online trainings that cover a wide variety of business topics.