How to prepare for outsourcing your HR
What do you need to get in order?
Whether your company has 2 or 200 team members, your people are going to have many of the same fundamental needs as any other small business. After all, what do men and women in the workplace want? To occasionally go on holiday, to be paid on time, and to not lose every single morning to a black hole of pointless admin. We estimate that the average company hires in-house HR assistance at around the 30 person point, but how can you handle your team’s HR needs before that? The simplest and most efficient option is to outsource some of your most time-consuming HR needs to an expert.
Whether you choose to go for a full-service HR provider, an independent consultant, or a specialist legal counsel, there are a few things you can do before you make the leap to make sure your everything is clear, organised and ready to go.
Automate complex processes
They’re not as delicious as a team lunch or as fun as company drinks, but when it comes down to it: everyone loves a clear process. Use software like CharlieHR to manage time off bookings, log sick days and, if you want to set a really great first impression, seamlessly collect everyone’s important documents before their first day even starts. When you contract an HR professional, having a clear system already in place will demonstrate that you care about what you’re hiring them to do.
CEOs may also benefit from simplifying everything down. If you’re currently handling everything (more or less) yourself, automating is an easy first step to handing over responsibility to someone else on your team. Even if they’re not a dedicated HR manager, you can easily incorporate some responsibilities into an Office Manager or even Team Leader role, particularly if everyone is mostly taking more responsibility for themselves. It’s never fair to thrust this stuff on anyone without fair warning, but it’s a totally reasonable way to bestow some added responsibility to someone who is up for the challenge. This way, even when you do outsource to an HR professional you won’t need to be their main day-to-day contact within the business.
Make security a priority
If you do nothing else, make sure you’re storing everyone’s essential details and documents securely. From passport scans to bank details and home addresses, you probably have more of your team’s personal information in one place than they do. Bear in mind that Google Drive and even an old fashioned filing cabinet won’t be as secure as dedicated software.
This is even more important when you’re sending information outside of the company. The great thing about a secure platform is that you can give your HR service and accountants administrative privileges to see all of the information that they need, without ever having to send an email. Your team can also alter and update their details in real time, which leads to far fewer errors than trying to securely update spreadsheets, particularly when there’s a third party involved.
Get time off right
This is a bit of a cheat, but the fact is that it’s hard to feel too stressed out when you know you’re got a holiday coming up. Give your team a generous allocation, insist that they use all of it, and make sure they understand how to book their days in advance. Remember to also keep everyone else updated on who is and isn’t there each week.
Even if you’ve been relatively relaxed until now, tracking annual leave accurately is especially important if your HR supplier is going to be keeping track of pro rata holiday allowance. They won’t be in the office to see who is and isn’t there, and are unlikely have the personal relationships with your team that they would need to be able to resolve issues. The more accurately and transparently you can keep records the better.
Get your policies down on paper
One thing that an outsourced HR service won’t ever be able to do is set company policies or influence your culture, so it’s more important that you reinvest some of the time that you’ve saved in developing your company culture and getting key policies down on paper.
Take the time while you’re still small to ask the hard questions, and know that it’s ok to have some trial and error. As soon as you have a process or policy that works for you, get it into a Company Handbook. Store this somewhere that everyone can refer to it (like your Company Page on CharlieHR), so everyone knows what the rules are in advance.
Having an accessible and up-to-date record of your policies will also act as a resource for your HR support, providing them with a first port of call if they have any questions about the way your company runs.
**Invite feedback **
Small, agile businesses can be some of the most exciting places to work, but only if everyone feels like their voice is being hard. As you develop your own approach to HR, make sure to check in regularly with the team. You never know which of your resident geniuses may have thought of an innovative way of doing the most boring daily tasks.
With that in mind, a healthy relationship with an external HR team also involves a huge amount of feedback, going in both directions. Expect a few bumps as you get to know each other, but strive for clarity and consistency over time. Speak to a few companies before you sign a contract, and always make sure you feel comfortable working with them. Once you’ve decided, remember that they are the experts, so ask them to help you figure out the best and smoothest way to manage your relationship with them.
It’s early days and you’re still learning, so never be afraid to ask for help. It’s better to feel a bit silly now than to find yourself stranded later on!
The best way of doing HR is the whatever works for you and your team. This will change as you grow, but everyone has to start somewhere. Take time to explore your options for outsourcing HR, talk to other founders and business leaders, and don’t be afraid to give something a try. Your people are your greatest asset and your time is valuable, so make them your dual priorities.