How to choose the right HR support for your small business
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So, you’ve done some research and have decided that your company could benefit from HR support – but how do you choose the right support for your small business? Here are some important considerations and questions to ask potential suppliers.

What can you expect from a HR support?

Admin: This is the main HR headache for small businesses – the amount of time it takes to effectively manage all the tasks included in being an employer is often more than they can spare (and still have time to grow the business). You HR support partner will take on the time consuming, repetitive tasks that are clogging up your diary. Many offer their own HR software, which can further help you securely manage data and streamline employee tasks like booking holiday or viewing payslips – our software, citrus HR, for instance, has been rated ‘Best all round’ HR Software by

Compliance: Staying compliant can be a full-time job  and the penalties for getting it wrong can be massive – this is where HR support can be invaluable for a small business. A decent partner will keep your documentation, like policies and employment contracts, fully compliant. They’ll warn you of important compliance deadlines and have their finger on the pulse of the UK’s constantly changing employment legislation to ensure you stay on the right side of the rules. We have an in-house team of employment lawyers to offer our customers immediate expert advice.

Accuracy: When you’re running HR as an entrepreneur in-house – on spreadsheets, notebooks, maybe post-it notes – mistakes creep in. It’s inevitable. As your workforce grows, so does the admin pressure, and mistakes can damage employee trust and engagement. Also, compliance errors could leave you in hot water with the authorities if you miss something important. A specialist HR support partner should prevent these mistakes from happening.

Responsiveness: Sometimes you need immediate answers to tricky HR questions. How quickly should you expect a response from HR support? Different suppliers have different service levels here. For our part, we pride ourselves on our levels of customers service – our friendly expert team have decades of accumulated HR and employment law knowledge and promise to respond to customer questions within two hours.

Time: Get it back. Simple. HR is a time sink, particularly if you’re learning it on the job. You HR support partner should give you time back.

What should I ask potential HR support providers?

We’ve been supporting UK small businesses for nearly ten years, so based on some of the horror stories we’ve heard about HR support relationships, here are some questions you should ask prospective providers:

How bespoke is your advice? We know some of our bigger competitors operate vast call centres, where operatives deliver advice through automated question and response scripts. This is made more difficult because those operators are often targeted on call time. The longer their calls, the worse their stats look, so you’ll find they’re often keen to get you off the phone. In fairness, it’s an economic and profitable way to deliver a simple service to a huge client base. But it makes zero allowance for the unique challenges and requirements of their customers.

You, your business, and your people are unique. We’re a small business ourselves, and we run a friendly in-house team of HR and employment lawyers and HR experts with no call time targets and no constraints on the support they offer. What’s more, we’ll take the time to get to know you and your business. We’re on first name terms with most of our customers, and they know our advice will always be specific to their unique challenges and aspirations. Because that’s how HR support for small businesses should be.

What are the hidden costs? Here’s a scenario: There’s an unpleasant situation brewing with a disgruntled employee and you need fast, expert advice to ensure you’ve got all bases covered. Naturally, you turn to your HR support partner. You wait in a telephone queue – only to be told that the bespoke advice you require isn’t in the call centre script. It isn’t covered in your plan, in fact, and you’ll need to pay more before you can be put in touch with an expert… in three to five days.

This one really irks us, that’s why our pricing is totally transparent. citrus HR support is available on a monthly rolling contract. No hidden costs. No set up fees. See how simple it is here.

Am I tied in? It’s common in this industry for sales teams to try and tie their customers into long contracts. Entrepreneurs with little experience of outsourcing are at the most risk of falling foul of this technique. The terms will often be opaque, and by the time the customer realises what’s happened, they’re facing expensive penalties for an early break.

Be careful not to fall for this. We’ll never tie our customers into anything because we’re confident in our expertise and the bespoke service we provide. We operate a monthly subscription model that can be cancelled at any time at no extra cost.

What do customers say? One of the surest ways to get build a picture of what it’s like to work with a supplier is by looking at what their existing customer say. Review sites like Capterra allow customers to independently review software suppliers. Any decent HR business should have a good store of success stories to show you, and be willing to put you in touch with their existing customers so you can grill them yourself.

If you’d like to speak to any of our customers, ask us some questions about the levels of service we offer, or get a fast, transparent quote for citrus HR support, click here. We’d love to talk to your about how HR support can help your small business.

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