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Hiring human resources staff member v. a human resources consultant

why measure hrAs Human Resources (HR) Consultants, we have often been posed the question: Why should we hire you rather than just hiring an HR employee?

This question can be difficult to answer at times, however sometimes the answer is so simple! In the end, it depends on what your business is looking for and what its needs are.

Hiring a full-time (or part-time) Human Resources employee brings along its own set of positives and challenges. Many times in smaller companies (50 or fewer employees) the duties of the HR department are spread out among the employees in the organizations – recruitment, personnel file management and benefits/pension administration are often handled by a couple different people. This can make ensuring confidentiality, compliance and timely action a problem as these tasks aren’t necessarily the main focus of the employees who have been tasked with these jobs. Having an in-house Human Resources employee would consolidate these tasks into one central position, providing a resource for other employees to bring questions to and making sure that the tasks are done properly. Bringing on a Full-Time (or Part-Time) Human Resources employee may seem like the right move, however this also typically means adding another salary to the list as well as training costs and management of that employee. At this size of organization, will that employee have enough to do to keep them occupied?

Depending on the needs of the company, and its size, a Human Resources Consultant may be the right move. The sweet spot for employers to outsource HR is typically when an organization reaches 16-50 employees. Here are some of the perks of hiring an outside HR Consultant:

  1. Cost – while up front an HR Consultants’ hourly rate may seem higher than hiring an employee, you can control the cost of an HR Consultant by limiting the amount of hours they are putting in for your business. This can be done either through a contract, or by just hiring them on an as-needed basis. Tighter budget one month? Let the consultant know – only major items get attention for a few weeks.
  2. HR consultants/consultancy firms bring their own expertise – you don’t get the expertise of just one consultant either; if your specific consultant doesn’t know the answer they don’t waste your billable time conducting research, they have their co-consultants to rely upon! HR Consultants maintain their expertise on their own time. Whether you have HR in place and you are using a consultant as an additional resource, or the HR Consultant is acting as your HR department, you have that expertise at your fingertips!
  3. Hiring can be made easier – HR Consultants know what is going on in the recruitment world, depending on their expertise – so you can pick and choose how involved they are in your recruitment process. I have had clients ask me to develop a job posting and pass it off to them, and other clients have had me develop the job posting and do all the recruitment grunt-work including sitting in on interviews with them and providing the job offer itself (see point #1 – cost). Whether you choose a high or low level of involvement from your Consultant, either way you are gaining the advice on how to garner the attention of those high quality candidates you are looking for – i.e., better posting sites, changing the wording in the job description, offerings of the role itself, etc.
  4. Time-saver – rather than having an in-house employee taking a lot of time to research, develop and implement documents like policies or employee manuals, an HR consultant typically has this kind of documentation at their fingertips. Beyond Rewards Inc. has these documents developed in house and ready to be customized to your workplaces’ needs, simplifying the process and reducing the time that is needed to develop such documents.
  5. Legislative compliance – when hiring a good HR Consultant, you know that you are getting information and documentation that is up to date and compliant with current legislation. It is our job to know what the newest developments in the HR world are and to ensure that we are keeping our clients compliant with these changes.

If you are hiring a good HR consulting firm to provide an on-site HR solution, they will take the time necessary to get to know your staff and gain their trust, this way staff will approach them and treat them as they would an in-house HR employee.

Here are some scenarios when you may want to have HR present:

  • You are hiring new employees at a quick and possibly increasing rate
  • You are noticing that the employee relations issues you are dealing with are growing
  • There is a concern about possible impending lawsuit or litigation
  • You want to re-do your compensation or benefits programs (or implement one in general)

A good HR hours to employee ratio can be:

  • 10 Employees – ½ day/week
  • 20 employees – 1 day/week
  • 30 employees – 1 ½ – 2 days/week
  • 50 employees – 2 ½ – 3 days/week
  • 75 employees – consider hiring a Full-Time HR staff member J

If you are in a stage when you aren’t sure what the best option for your workplace is, contact an HR Consultant for advice – they can either help you hire your in-house HR Employee, or come on board as your HR Consultant!

Beyond Rewards Inc

Human Resources and Risk Management Consultants and Training Provider at Beyond Rewards Inc
Beyond Rewards is a boutique firm offering a full suite of Human Resource, Safety, Workplace investigations, Accessibility Standards and Risk Management solutions, online training programs and customized face to face training for our clients. Several exceptional expert consultants led by Lynne Bard, HBa, CHRP, CES, President/Senior Consultant,will be blogging regularly on First Reference Talks on behalf of Beyond Rewards Inc. Read more here.
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