Outsourcing HR for Care Providers – Should You Use an HR Company?
Outsourcing HR for care providers, should you use an HR company in care? Human Resouces (HR) is a big issue in care, which is a people-orientated business. Its labour intensive and staffing costs can account for 70% of revenue. There are many companies and services offering dedicated HR support, so what are the pros and cons for a care provider?
Top 10 Issues to Consider When Outsourcing HR for Care Providers
Some thoughts to consider when thinking about outsourcing HR for care providers. Before you sign up check a few things
- Look into your insurance. Many care insurance policies include free HR advice and helpline. Usually buried deep in the policy document.
- Check the contract length tie in. Many have no contract or 1-month notice, but some others will tie you into long term contracts, sometimes years.
- Price. Should be obvious but I’ve seen prices range from a couple of £100 to £1000s.
- Who gives the advice? Will you speak to an HR professional/lawyer or a call centre operative who just follows a script.
- How risk-averse are they? Some HR services seem to be so risk-averse they act like a trade union. You have to wonder who’s side are they on.
- Check your local Chamber of Commerce. Many have a membership which includes a full HR support service all free with membership.
- Ask for recommendations, ask people what problems they have had as well what good experience they have had.
- What do they offer that you can’t do yourself? Polices, procedures and latest law are all available free on the ACAS website and other specialist HR websites. Would it be cheaper and more effective to just use a lawyer as and when you need them (3-year contract of a market-leading HR support company at £400 a month is a total of £14,400. Is that money really well spent?)
- Is the service backed by insurance and do you need it? Some services sell the fact that they are backed by insurance, which is great for pice of mind, others just provide advice. This is reflected in the price. However, check your care insurance policy as per point 1 above, to make sure you are not overpaying for a service you don’t need.
- Do they have experience in the care sector? Care is a unique sector subject to not just employment law but also legislation and regulation under the Care Act and CQC regulations.
Look at the different type of services available and choose what right for you. There are pros and cons to each and you need to choose what right for you;
- Full insurance backed HR service with 24 x HR support line
- Employment lawyer used on an ad-hoc basis.
- A service offered as an additional add on to say insurance or Chamber of Commerce
- Independent HR professional
- A full-service company without insurance backing
- Do it yourself with resources from ACAS
- A combination of several of the above
I like the idea of outsourcing HR for care providers, I’m a big believer in it. HR is one of the most important aspects of running a successful homecare agency and needs to be done right. It’s also important when you are delegating responsibility to others who make HR decisions. Having a helpline for advice for your Managers to use when making a decision that can have a huge impact on the company and a staff member is really useful. Many people are also scared of getting it wrong, with good reason.
The implications of getting an HR decision wrong can be ruinous. However, this fear also stops people making correct and hard decisions, not getting rid of that disruptive staff member because of fear of the consequences can have just a bad an effect on the business as losing the tribunal that you were scared of. Most tribunals are lost because a company didn’t follow correct procedure, rather than any merit of the actual case. It’s possible to dismiss a member of staff for entirely the right reasons but lose a tribunal because you didn’t follow the correct procedure. Having the right systems and documentation in place is a huge part of the solution. Having someone do this properly and professionally is invaluable, especially for a startup.
In the past, I have used two of the UK largest outsourced HR companies operating in the care sector. I have also used the Chamber of Commerce and also my own systems back up by ad hoc engagement of an employment lawyer when required. Having advice on hand gave me the confidence to do the right thing for the business without fear of potential tribunal losses. I have had the experience of being taken to tribunal, which was found in my favour. Having an HR expert on hand gave me the confidence to do what was right without fear of what may happen at a tribunal. It also enabled me to develop really good relations with trade union reps of staff who were members of unions, as proper HR support ensured that systems and processes were fair and staff issues were dealt with professionally.
However, my experience with the levels of support has been mixed. One of the biggest HR providers operating in the care sector was both the best and worst experience I’ve had. It’s down to who you get on the phone, a seasoned pro or a newbie who has just finished training. Nowadays I would probably just use my own HR systems updated by keeping on top of ACAS advice and I’d use my insurance an employment lawyer when needed. But (and it’s a big but), that option comes from having almost 20yrs of experience and employing over 600 staff. Having a professional HR service in my corner definitely enabled me to grow my business but it also became an expensive millstone round my neck eventually.
If you are new to this and new to employing people, I would definitely look to engage an HR service; just be wary of sales pitches and take a look at the points I’ve listed above.
If you want to know more about how Care Skilled can assist you with HR issues and support just drop us a line. It costs nothing to talk.