The Ultimate Guide to Engaging Outside HR Resources

Mercer PeoplePro Blog Engaging Outside HR

Engaging Outside HR Resources

If engaging outside HR resources is top of mind, especially as you face open enrollment season, we offer the ultimate guide.

As an HR leader, the decisions you make every day affect your company, your employees and often even their families. They are among the most important decisions an organization makes. If you’re honest with yourself, would you say you’re an expert in absolutely every area of HR?

Sure, you might have staff who are specialists where you’re not, but even they may need help or advice from time to time. So when it comes to engaging outside HR resources the question is — when you need help where do you go? What do you do?

When to Reach Out

It’s smart to have outside resources to bounce questions and ideas off of, as well as to have reliable, knowledgeable go-to people to help when things get chaotic. Resources that can help with the work or offer advice and direction based on years of experience. And, there are times when it’s essential to have an outside, objective opinion that takes into account a broader view than what you can see. Expert advice and/or help can, among other things:

  • Change the outcome of a project from so-so to a big success,
  • Help you follow compliance requirements and avoid potential penalties,
  • Give you an objective opinion on an idea or issue,
  • Provide best practice implementation learnings,
  • Help unwind a complicated situation, or
  • Be an added resource to help complete a big project where you lack the resources.

Who To Reach Out To?

Basically, there are three different places to go when engaging outside HR resources: consulting firms, consulting individuals, and HR industry groups. (Insurance brokers are great resources too, but since they’re focused primarily on benefits we haven’t included them in this discussion). Below is a brief description of each, what they typically provide, and when it’s best to use them.

  • Consulting firms command higher fees because they bring great breadth and depth of experience either across HR, or within one specific area (i.e., compensation). They have access to, or produce themselves, a wide variety of useful data, insights and information. There are also new consulting business models, such as Mercer PeoplePro, that have a much lower price point than larger firms and provide services on-demand, while still providing top-quality work. If your company has, say, over 150 employees, multiple locations, is experiencing rapid growth, or where people/talent are the key component of your company’s success, you have a need for HR consulting advice.
  • Consulting individuals have a strong background in HR or a specific HR area, and often act as contractors to help complete projects or provide general temporary staffing. Often a contractor is a cost effective way to get work done when you’re understaffed. It’s a great way to manage staffing levels since once the work is complete, you can end the relationship. If your company has large, long-term HR projects, or a lot of non-strategic work, it’s smart to supplement staff with individual consultants.
  • HR Industry Resources: SHRM and other HR industry groups provide free resources like standard communications to members. They’ll provide a template but you still need to do the work. These are great options if you have a simple, tactical, recurring task. But if your issue has some complexity or is bigger project, one of the other options is a better fit.

You’ll get the most value from outside resources by finding someone who wants to understand your business, has experience in your industry, building trust over time, and establishing a relationship with them. It’s common sense to start simple at first, then branch out into more complex issues. Timely feedback is essential too, so your resources can improve over time and learn about your business.

How Do I Know When to Call In Help?

We all know there’s a lot going in the HR world. It doesn’t necessarily always happen fast, but it’s never easy once it does happen. Here are some examples of when it’s a good idea to get outside advice or help:

  • New government regulations (federal, state or local). The new FLSA requirements are a great example
  • Rapid growth in your company resulting in major talent implications.
  • Reviewing/changing salary and incentive structures.
  • Low employee engagement.
  • HR decisions that will result in big changes for your employees.
  • Trouble attracting the right talent.
  • Changes in a marketplace, i.e., healthcare, employment, technology.
  • Too many priorities on your plate.

HR Expertise On Demand

If you need help engaging outside HR resources, you’ve come to the right place. Schedule an appointment today and enjoy a free consultation, plus 2 free hours towards your first project. To set up your free consultation, visit MercerPeoplePro — we’re standing by and ready to assist.

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