In this final part of our series on the ad hoc HR manager (aHRM), we move from discussing the prevalence and costs of ad hoc approaches to an exploration of how HR administration software, training and outsourcing may help improve how small businesses manage HR.

Steps to HR Success

According to a recent study by ADP, the basic challenge aHRMs face isn't a lack of motivation, but a lack of time to focus on HR duties because managing HR is their secondary role. They also likely lack training, tools and access to necessary HR expertise and information. It's an understandable challenge — after all, aHRMs weren't hired for their HR skills.

The first step toward changing your business's approach to HR is to examine the status quo. Look at the methods and processes you currently have in place to manage HR-related tasks, and identify what's not working. Where are the inefficiencies? Is the ad hoc approach you've been using placing a strain on you or your employees? Are your current HR processes sustainable based on your business growth goals and projections?

The next steps involve sourcing the tools and expertise you need to support your aHRMs and, ultimately, finding and partnering with a trusted, experienced HR provider to get the help you need. Depending on your small business needs, the following actions may help your aHRMs manage HR more effectively:

  1. Obtain access to relevant HR-related expertise. Three-fourths of aHRMs believe that access to HR experts would be helpful when they've reached the limits of their know-how.
  2. Seek training and certification from trusted HR experts. More than two-thirds of aHRMs think access to specialized HR training would help them better perform HR tasks. Some aHRMs like performing HR tasks, are adept at balancing them with their other duties and might be eager to get more training.
  3. Consider HR administration software and apps. Two-thirds of aHRMs think that tech solutions would help them be more effective, and partnering with an experienced, tech-savvy HR vendor can make it happen.
  4. Keep your HR info up-to-date. Ensure that your aHRM or team has access to updated, HR-related news to stay on top of legal and regulatory changes and trends. Sixty-five percent of aHRMs believe access to information about HR trends would help them better manage their HR-related tasks.
  5. Provide access to an HR help desk. This gives employees a place to go with questions and concerns and takes some of the pressure off staff who are managing HR. Six in ten aHRMs believe this would boost their effectiveness.
  6. Outsource some (or all) of your HR tasks. Partnering with a trusted HR provider or a professional employer organization (PEO) can help reduce your aHRM's stress and workload while resulting in better HR outcomes. A majority of aHRMs see outsourcing as a way to help them manage HR-related tasks more effectively.

Business Size and Growth Matters for aHRMs

The size of the small business impacts the aHRM's role. More employees often mean more stress on the HR function. When we look at small businesses with between 25 and 49 employees, 65 percent of aHRMs believe that outsourcing some HR tasks would help them perform their HR role more effectively, which is almost 10 percent higher than the average for all aHRMs. Similarly, 10 percent more of these aHRMs believe an HR help desk for employee questions would enable them to better manage their HR-related tasks, when compared with the average.

If, like many small business owners, you've been taking an ad hoc approach to HR, consider providing your aHRMs with the additional tools and expertise they need to manage your HR effectively, or partner with a trusted HR provider. When done right, HR can help your business grow and thrive, driving employee engagement, creating an attractive company culture, hiring and developing top talent and helping to manage your compliance risk.

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Read the rest of the series:

Part One: The Ad hoc HR Manager: The Secondary Nature of HR in Small Businesses

Part Two: The Ad hoc HR Manager: Not Planning for HR is Planning for Stress & Distraction

Part Three: The Ad hoc HR Manager: The Potential Risks

The ADP Ad Hoc Human Resource Management Study was a blind on-line study among 1,054 businesses with 5-49 employees (December 2016).

Tags: small business Human Resources Small Business Payroll Business Goals Employee Engagement