Mangement For Design

Spring Release

Outsourcing Your HR Needs

If your business can’t afford the luxury of a dedicated Human Resources (HR) department, perhaps it is time to find one elsewhere. Of all the growing pains experienced by businesses, dealing with HR issues can be some of the most frustrating ones. Finding, managing and retaining good people involves dealing with a myriad of contracts, policies and government regulations, not to mention the finer points of payroll tax, superannuation and other financial issues.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking these problems only affect big businesses. Even the smallest businesses need to be familiar with the National Employment Standards and how these entitlements relate to flexible work conditions.

If you’re a business owner, driven by a passion for what you do best, then chances are these people-related issues aren’t your area of expertise. Unfortunately these issues can become overwhelming long before your business is large enough to justify maintaining an in-house HR team. If HR challenges are threatening to impact on your business, then it’s time to get help.

Where to start

The Federal government’s and New South Wales’ Small Business portal make good starting points for businesses investigating key HR issues, but there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. The right tools will depend on your budget, your business and the specific challenges you face.
The simplest online HR solutions are automated tools and templates designed to walk you through creating policies, procedures and documentation. They should be designed to ensure your business is compliant with workplace laws, such as Australia’s Fair Work Act. Choose with care, as many online HR tools offer templates based on US or UK workplace laws.

Legal challenges

Of course, laws and regulations can change, so it’s not a set-and-forget process. Look for HR tools that are designed to keep you up to date with legislative changes and other issues that might impact your relationship with your people. Organisations such as Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) send out regular emails and updates on important legislation changes, particularly relating to the National Employment Standards. Also look for tools that are flexible and designed to grow with your business, perhaps integrating with payroll and other key systems.

Compliance requirements

While addressing your HR requirements it might also be useful to consider your Occupational Health and Safety needs, as many online services cover both HR and OH&S. Both are key compliance issues, which should be part of your business’ risk management strategy, regardless of how big or small you are. Victoria’s WorkSafe offers online tools and documents for OH&S management, and other states offer similar WorkSafe or WorkCover websites.

HR Consulting Services

The next step up from fully automated tools is HR consulting services, which often combine online HR tools with a hands-on appraisal of your HR needs. Rather than simply generating forms and policies, such services often assist you with managing the entire employee lifecycle from recruitment and orientation to performance reviews, personal development, ongoing training, termination and exit interviews.

Need help? At Management for Design, for example, we provide the full complement of HR services to a number of our clients. This includes HR Strategy and planning, Succession Planning, Industrial and Employee relations, employee engagement and Employee Performance Management. With some of our clients we look after the complete performance review cycle including working with the client to review performance, develop quarterly performance objectives and to implement salary adjustments. This relationship allows our clients to tap into our expertise and to free up their time to focus on what they do best — nurturing new and existing client relationships and designing and delivering projects.

Look for web-based HR services that incorporate self-service features, letting people manage their own routine tasks where possible — such as printing forms, updating personal details and managing annual leave. You might even expand this to cover ongoing training and personal development. A good self-service component of your HR system lets people resolve issues quickly while also reducing the paperwork load on managers — letting everyone get on with what they do best.

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