If you are looking to trust someone with your HR, you trust them with two important things – your business and your people! It has become increasingly popular to outsource your HR (or to engage a Company rather than having your own HR Manager, for example). This is often a very good idea as it is cost-effective and enables you to get on and run your business with confidence. It is also a good idea as this area of business is constantly changing. However, BEFORE you do this it is worth asking some questions…
Is the person you are working with professionally qualified?
Does the person have a broad skills and knowledge base?
Does your HR consultant keep himself/herself up to date- continuous professional development?
Do they have experience of working with businesses of different sizes and types?
Do they have any specific experience/qualifications in employment law?
Do you get a “trusted adviser” or are you getting a help-line?
Are you kept up to date?
Employment changes- fast! It is more important than ever that you keep your processes,systems and skills up to date as the adage “ignorance is no defence” certainly applies. Before you engage any supplier,check how they keep you up to date (assuming they do) and how they do this? Before forewarned is forearmed. Just reflect on the changes we have seen in recent times- changes to discipline and grievance, changes affecting contracts, flexible working, shared parental leave, holidays and paying overtime, BIG changes around data protection and,of course, Brexit….this is just a sample. Have you been made aware of any of these and if not, are you sure you comply or could you be facing up to a claim?
Do they provide training?
It is essential that all those working with employees have the right skills and knowledge. There are all sorts of reasons for this but the main one is that, if you are entrusting the management of your most important (and costly) resource to your managers, you should ensure they know how to do things correctly. Failure to follow correct procedures when handling staff matters can lead you into an Employment Tribunal and the “it was my manager who did it wrong” will not hold water… you will be expected to show that you have attempted to do everything you can. It is also good business sense; your people are your most costly resource, you should want to get a return on that investment…. training will help with this. Is your provider able to deliver focused, certified training which will help in this area?
Do your employees know more than you?
This is not about whether which HR provider you choose but one of the reasons you may choose to use one in the end. Information (these days) is easily available and on many occasions employees will research “their rights” and in many cases try to use their knowledge against you. Often,they may be armed with correct information but often it is incorrect but how do you know this? Having a “trusted adviser” onside gives you much more power in these situations and that “peace of mind” is the biggest reason why you would engage one. It isn’t about creating a “them and us” culture; more about surrounding yourself with quick easy and accurate sources of information and guidance: one final thought, would a “help-line” really give you that?