Outsourcing HR for Care Providers
Human Resources (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?
Some thoughts to consider when thinking about outsourcing HR for care providers. Before you sign up check a few things: 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 whose side are they on. Ask for recommendations, ask people what problems they have had as well what good experience they have had. 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 peace of mind, others just provide advice. This is reflected in the price. 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.
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. 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.
I like the idea of outsourcing HR for care providers. 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 start-up.
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. Having a professional independent HR service in my corner has definitely enabled me to grow my business.