We speak to lots of organisations who are already outsourcing their HR support to an external provider but have reached a stage when they are looking to review their current arrangements.

But, one question we get asked consistently is what’s the difference between you and them?

The first thing to say is that there are lots of HR providers out there who do an amazing job. The key is to find the right one for your business, who understands what you do and can provide the right service, in the right way and at the right price.

This blog aims to set out some of the key facts and considerations to help you in making the correct choice for your business.

1. Look at The Terms with Regards to Termination

First things first. If you’re already in a contract look at the terms with regard to termination.

An early exit will normally come at a cost, so understand the terms and what notice period is required. This is particularly important given the ‘rolling’ nature of some contracts, so dig out the contract, understand it and base your next steps on this critical information.

HR Services Contract

2. Understanding the HR Services You Require

Next, it’s really important to be clear about what outsourced HR services you need.

HR advice, HR documentation, documentation updates, insurance cover for Employment Tribunal claims?

Some of the larger, national and regional HR providers offer additional services such as Health and Safety, HR software and training, amongst others.

But, do you need everything?

If so, do you want the ease of having everything under one roof or might you get better service or a better deal by shopping around and choosing the right provider for each separate service?

3. Choosing the Ideal HR Provider for YOUR Needs

What type of provider are you most comfortable dealing with?

Do you want the comfort of a well-known, successful brand or the intimacy of an independent HR consultant?

Consider the pros and cons.

How would an independent HR consultant cover their holidays or periods of sickness and do they have the breadth and depth of knowledge and experience you need?

With the large, national providers, how well do they understand your business, do they provide advice that’s tailored to your requirements and what service level will you receive? (e.g. A call-centre approach.)

4. Style of HR Advice

Consider what style of advice you will need too.

Despite our best efforts, there will always be those situations that catch us off guard, when we need reactive advice and support.

Do you want a provider that will be there in the background, ready and waiting to help you when you need them – or do you want a more proactive style of support, where there is more of a focus on ensuring you are set up for success in a way that will avoid certain problematic situations from arising?

As mentioned earlier, some HR providers offer insurance protection (or an advice guarantee) against employment tribunal claims.

This is a great benefit and gives many businesses the comfort and assurance they’re looking for. But it’s not for everyone.

Naturally, the insurance cover will require you to follow all the advice you’ve been given, and if you don’t follow all of the advice, the chances are you will have invalidated the insurance cover.

Also, it stands to reason that the advice will be geared towards avoiding a tribunal claim being made – again this sounds great, but think carefully about what it will mean for the style of advice you will actually get.

Sometimes an employer will want commercially focused, pragmatic advice that allows scope for a risk-based approach to decision making. Do you want vanilla or might there be an occasion when a different flavour might be required?

5. Having A Strong Relationship with Your HR Provider

Is relationship important to you?

A long-lasting relationship based on trust and mutual respect sounds ideal, especially as it will help your provider really get to know you and your business, its culture, values and objectives.

Outsourced HR Advice

All critical to providing advice that fits your specific requirements.

How does all of the above translate into commercial terms? What contract length are you looking for? Is there flexibility in the delivery schedule or will you be ‘on the clock’ for anything not specifically included in the contract? What price do you want to pay? Will there be lots of ‘upselling’? Is there a fixed price for the duration of the contract or will annual increases be applied?

There’s a lot of truth in the saying “you get what you pay for” but that doesn’t always mean the most expensive is always the best or that it’s the right choice for you.

Hopefully, this blog has given you some food for thought and provides some questions to ask yourself and factors to consider before reaching such an important decision.

The most important thing is that you feel comfortable with the decision you make and have confidence in the provider’s ability to support your business going forward.

At Petaurum HR, our goal is to support, educate and advise our clients, so they can concentrate on running their businesses.

We do this by providing an unrivalled, personalised service that helps our clients resolve any HR requirements they may face.

To see how we can help you, make sure to get in touch with our experts today.