As a small business owner, it can be easy to get overwhelmed with the many demands on your time and attention. One area where it often makes sense to get help is with handling the intricacies of human resources. As soon as your business expands beyond a single owner-operator model, the workload—and the stakes—increase exponentially.
You don’t have to do it all… and you probably shouldn’t
Many small businesses try to do everything in-house, in the belief that outsourcing would be costly or complicated. But for most small companies, the stress, as well as the risk of errors, could well outweigh the cost of outsourcing key human resource functions. If payroll, bookkeeping, or benefits management is far outside your wheelhouse, your time is better spent on growing your business and nurturing relationships with customers.
Rules, Regulations, and Laws, oh my!
The web of federal, state, and local laws and regulations that govern how you do business is vast. And different rules apply depending on the size and type of business you own. Some federal laws affect businesses the moment they hire their first employee, while others kick in when the business reaches 15, 20, or more employees. Running afoul of these laws can be costly and could seriously harm your business.
Taking the First Step
The first step many small businesses take is to invest in a self-service software solution—such as QuickBooks or Zenefits—to help with payroll, bookkeeping, and time tracking.
Whether you learn to use the software yourself or train your superstar office manager to use it, this solution might work if your company has only a handful of employees. Self-service software is the most basic level of HR management, though, and you soon might find yourself looking for a more robust solution or a dedicated resource to manage all of your HR needs.
Is Outsourcing Right for You?
When managing HR outgrows your—or your office manager’s—time or expertise, outsourcing to an independent consultant or an HR agency can be a smart move—and is usually far less expensive than hiring a full-time HR professional internally.
With this option, a professional consultant or agency takes on the role of HR for your company, performing some or all HR functions. You’ll generally have a single point of contact, and access to a sophisticated online portal where you and your employees can access confidential documents and records.
HR consultants and agencies could assist with or perform:
Deciding to outsource HR functions—just like making your first sale or hiring your first employee—is a milestone in your company’s growth. Relinquishing some control can be hard; at the same time, watching your business flourish is gratifying. Take time regularly, perhaps quarterly, to review what you’re spending time on and how you can be more effective. Reclaiming the time you spend reviewing hours or paying employees might just lead to your next fabulous idea!