Are you interested to know why businesses work with an outsourced HR Consultant?

Today’s blog sets out the benefits of investing in external HR support to help you grow and develop your business and I share my experience in the sorts of HR problems business owners face. If you are undecided on whether this would be right for your business, this blog will help.

Here are some of the concerns and thoughts owners of small businesses have expressed to me over the years:

“We don’t need a fulltime HR person”

“We are a small company, this doesn’t apply to us”

“We got basic contracts of employment off the internet, they will be do”

“We don’t need policies and procedures and clear job descriptions, everyone knows what they are doing and as long as they act in the interests of the company, it will be fine”

“Everyone gets on, we don’t get poor performance or bad behaviour”

“We are all grown ups”

“We don’t need performance appraisals and regular one to one meetings, after all people talk to each other every day”

“There is no need for training and development, learning can’t be avoided it just happens on the job anyway”

“We pay a fair wage we won’t need an employer brand, if talented employees are as good as they say they are, they will find their way to us”

“We have a settled and stable workforce, we don’t need to worry about succession planning”

Now I can’t say I worked with all of these people because it’s really important to me that I work with businesses that are open to exploring the benefits of great HR. But here’s the really important thing you need to know – employment law applies to small and large companies alike, and by even having one employee, you will have legal obligations and a duty of care to that employee. Furthermore, if you get it wrong and end up in a tribunal, the costs of a tribunal and any awards given to an employee that wins their case aren’t reduced because you have a small business.

In my experience a small business can muddle along for a while without expert HR support until there is a difficult people problem:

  • A key employee falls ill or leaves.
  • An employee is on long-term sickness.
  • Employees fallout or raise grievances.
  • An employee does something that needs to be dealt with formally under a disciplinary procedure.
  • There seems to be confusion and maybe even conflict about task ownership, accountability and responsibility and the business isn’t really hitting its targets.
  • There could be one employee that is causing all sorts of difficulties in the business with their behaviour, attitudes and performance.
  • The business needs to be re-organised or restructured.
  • The business owner simply finds they are spending an increasing amount of time on HR admin and matters when they don’t want to and it isn’t their area of expertise.

When one of these problems occurs, that is when it becomes clear that the contract you picked up off the internet wasn’t right and won’t help you, that you haven’t got policies in place to manage a situation, you don’t know what to do for the best and you might ‘all be grown ups’ enjoying a laissez-faire culture, but that won’t stop a situation turning tricky, we are dealing with individual’s thoughts, feelings and emotions.

It is not uncommon for a difficult HR problem to be the catalyst for working with an HR Consultant, and interestingly clients report that until this point they have been lucky and had no (or just a few) HR issues (hence HR has not been a priority). The difficulty with luck, is sometimes it runs out. Now of course we can help deal with the problem and get the business back on an even keel, but this is a very reactive approach to an often well-advanced problem, which unfortunately costs more to resolve, eats into your time, zaps your energy and has probably already caused difficulties for your business.

Clients ask to become a retained client because in the handling of that issue they realise their HR support framework wasn’t sufficient to help them manage the problem, they don’t have the HR knowledge, they might have made some errors along the way which made the problem worse, and they immediately realise the immense value of the support they received that made the horrible problem go away. It tends to open their eyes to what’s missing, lifts a great burden from their shoulders and gives them peace of mind that next time, they are ready.

I really don’t want you to find yourself firefighting a complex and challenging HR issue and experiencing some of what my other clients have gone through in the past.  A proactive approach to HR management and early intervention in HR problems are definitely key to preventing matters turning complicated quickly and to help things run smoothly.

How could working with me as 'Your HR Manager' benefit you and your business?

  • Wide ranging expertise – I am a specialist in my field living and breathing all things HR. I am degree qualified, a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and I commit time, energy and money to developing my skills, knowledge, experience and sector profile. And let’s face it, with more than 20 years’ experience, I have been around the HR block a bit. I can’t say I’ve seen it all as every day I learn or come across something new, but given my vast experience of complex HR issues, I will have a greater depth of knowledge than someone in-house.
  • Independent and impartial advice – I of course like to work and feel like part of the team, but as an external support I provide advice independently, confidentially, impartially and I don’t get involved in the office politics. I provide expert HR advice when you need it the most to help you head off issues and problems. Together we can plan HR initiatives with your eyes wide open to the HR legislation and the bigger picture.
  • Better time management and efficiency – Trying to deal with HR and particularly complex HR issues when it isn’t your area of expertise can be very time consuming and costly because you aren’t getting on with what you do best – running your business. It would be far more efficient to let me handle the HR so you can spend less time on employment related matters and focus on your core business. I will introduce simple and effective processes, systems and procedures to streamline HR management and ensure record keeping is done as required.
  • Legal compliance and risk management – As a trusted expert in my field I can help you to minimise the risk of tribunal claims and non-compliance with employment law. I will guide and mentor you to ensure you understand and meet your legal obligations and follow best practice in your people management and planning.
  • Less room for error – By having a sounding board to discuss HR matters with, you are less likely to make costly mistakes when handling HR management and planning. The costs of getting it wrong could be great. It is estimated that it can on average cost £13,500 to defend an employment tribunal, and that doesn’t include the awards given to the employee if you lose.
  • Reduced Overheads – Newsflash – I don’t believe a small business needs a full-time HR person. I can provide flexible support fully tailored to your business and budget without the usual overheads associated with a permanent hire including employer NI at 13.8% of salary, pension contributions of 3% of salary, costs of any other employee benefits and equipment. This can be dialled up or down according to business need, and if you get to a point in your business growth where you would like a full-time HR resource in house, I will help you recruit and induct them.
  • Growing the employer/employee relationship – I will encourage you to make sure you have a performance review and 1-2-1 process in place to open up communication and engage employees. The number of complex HR issues are much reduced in organisations where regular 1-2-1s happen and employees and employers are given regular feedback, support and encouragement.
  • Protecting the company’s interests – A disgruntled employee or a successful tribunal claim can cause no end of damage to your business reputation and maybe even revenues. Should you find yourself in a tribunal any final judgment given is a public document which can be read by anyone. By putting great people management practices in place together we can minimise the risk of reputational damage.

If you are going to invest in some HR support there is no better way to do it than to invest in a high quality, flexible and tailored solution without lengthy contract tie-ins.

If you are serious about moving your business forward using the power of great HR and are wondering how it works, I offer clients three ways they can work with me:

  1. You can retain me as ‘Your HR Manager’ for a set number of hours per month over a 6 or 12 month period. We work together on identifying key HR priorities aligned to business goals and challenges, prepare a simple HR strategy and plan to implement it.
  2. 1-2-1 Mentoring and advice, hours can be bought in blocks and used however you want.
  3. If you have a set project/problem you would like some assistance with I can estimate time involved and provide an approx. costing.

If you haven’t already booked one of my free no-obligation 30-minute consultation calls yet, feel free to do so. I would really like to hear about your business and your HR plans and priorities and I would love to be the person that helps you unlock the power of great HR and the potential in your people and your business.

But if you want to get started right away you could download my Free Self-Audit HR Checklist to help you assess where you are right now with your HR and where you have gaps and might need some help.

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