Companies are increasingly seeking HR support from outside their own internal staff. For most employers, there’s no doubt that the past 18 months have been the most volatile in modern history. We’ve been facing a perfect storm brought on by COVID-19, demands for social justice and a new administration in Washington. Who would have imagined that we would have to deal with hybrid work, vaccination policies, and PPE, not to mention PPP, recreational marijuana, and The Great Resignation?
Businesses everywhere are contending with seismic shifts in worker attitudes, compliance requirements, workplace safety issues, government program administration and new economic realities.
The number of shifts and the pace of change is breathtaking. And just when we think we’re adjusting to a new normal, the Delta variant throws us into turmoil yet again. Uncertainty is the one thing we can be certain about.
Here’s the upside: employers don’t have to go it alone. HR support from an outsourced HR advisory firm can guide you through all these issues, keeping you informed, compliant and confident in your decision making.
Here are 9 ways outsourced HR support can positively impact your business in 2021 and beyond:
Workforce planning: If you’ve lost talent to early retirements or individuals dropping out of the workforce, starting their own businesses, or simply moving on, backfilling the job may not be the best idea. Now is the time to reassess the skills, the personalities and the roles that will propel your business beyond the pandemic. This might be the opportunity to upgrade your team, invest in technology to handle parts of the job, or outsource.
Improving company culture: Nearly half of workers say they feel less connected and that their company’s culture has eroded. How do you get back to a positive environment when so many employees feel disengaged and burned out? It’s a huge challenge but one that can be overcome with the right activities, approaches, communication, leadership attitudes, training, and technology.
Understanding new laws and assistance programs: It’s nearly impossible for businesses to keep up with every new rule and program introduced at the local, state, and federal level, especially as policies are introduced before the guidelines and processes are solidified. From the Paycheck Protection Program to Employee Retention tax credits, unpacking each new rule begins with discerning if your business fits the threshold. If the answer is yes, then you need to consider how and when it impacts your operations, the best way to explain it to managers, what information to disseminate to employees, what questions might arise, and what approach you will take to answering employee concerns.
Best practices regarding hybrid, remote and in-person models: What’s right for your company? It’s one of the biggest issues employers are facing at the moment. The decision regarding your work model impacts everything from collaboration and innovation to client relationship time, hiring, training and retention, real estate costs, security and perhaps most important, company culture.
Worksite safety protocols: Even if you’ve instituted OSHA safety requirements and follow CDC guidelines, you need to ensure that the protocols are followed when employees return to the worksite. What’s more, now you have to contend with your responsibilities as an employer regarding vaccinations. For months, the question of whether it is legal to mandate shots for employees was unanswered. Now that there is legal precedent, you must decide what is best for your workforce, customers, operations, and business reputation. The decision involves understanding federal anti-discrimination laws and local regulations, and it impacts everything from job interview questions to records storage.
Cost control: Now more than ever, businesses need to use their dollars and their time most efficiently. The cost of outsourcing HR more than pays for itself with reduced administration, more experienced and reliable talent, strategic decisions regarding workforce planning, lower overhead and more satisfied managers and employees.
Wage and salary setting: While the gender gap in pay has seen some improvement, women still only earn 79% of what men do. Beyond the male/female disparity, employers need to ensure that all people working in similar positions and who have equal tenure are paid the same. If there is a difference, you need to clearly document why—say for example one employee has a special skill or a different level of education. If not, you open yourself up to discrimination lawsuits. The hybrid workplace makes this issue even more complex, as companies tend to promote, and increase pay of onsite staff more than remote workers.
Diversity and inclusion: Is your workforce truly representative of your target customer, marketplace, and community? Does your company understand how to create and sustain a culture that supports diversity and inclusion? Have you taken a stance on supporting social justice issues—an approach that more and more workers are expecting from their employers? At a more basic level are your hiring and operating practices anti-discriminatory?
Benefits to match today’s employees’ expectations: According to the 2020 ReimagineHR Employee Survey (Gartner), companies that provide support for employees’ total wellbeing report a 21% increase in the number of high performers compared with other companies. What does that look like? It involves taking care of employees’ mental, physical, financial, and social health. A tall order? Yes. Necessary? You bet. Employee benefits such as EAPs, mental and emotional wellbeing programs, flexible scheduling, student loan repayment programs and financial counseling are some of the popular choices in addition to traditional medical, dental, vision and 401(k) benefits.
How are you making HR decisions? Who is keeping you up to date on the latest workplace and workforce issues? Do you have a truly objective, expert HR support counselor who can listen to employee concerns and provide honest feedback and guidance on what is best in your industry and for your business? Now more than ever, HR decisions are crucial for employee engagement and morale, customer service, cost control and ultimately, company performance.