A human resource (HR) function is critical for any business, no matter how small. From payroll and benefits to hiring and firing, or making sure you’re following the latest employment laws, having your own HR team can often have benefits that outweigh the costs.

Understandably, in today’s uncertain economy, businesses are under constant pressure to reduce costs while improving profitability. This can be a challenge for any SME, but it’s one that an HR professional can help with.

You also need to think about exactly when to bring HR into your business. If it’s just you and a sole employee, should you do it then or wait until you get bigger? One option is to outsource it (some HR providers offer packages designed for SMEs) and bring it in-house when the time’s right

Whichever way you choose to do it, here are five ways HR can benefit your SME:

  1. Streamline your spending – an HR department can cut costs by keeping spending and salaries in check, as well as helping find better-value benefits for employees. It’ll also help you keep up with market conditions and get your recruitment right.
  2. Hire, retain and promote people – a business’s ability to attract, hire and retain top talent is critical to reducing costs. HR can help you recruit the right people at the right level of pay. They can also analyse what’s going on in the world of work and help you benefit from understanding what the latest trends and expectations among workers and business owners are.
  3. Prioritise learning and mentoring – by training and mentoring employees, you can increase productivity while reducing employee turnover. An effective HR department will help you properly gauge how happy your employees are by using focus groups and staff surveys, so you can really improve satisfaction.
  4. Introduce automated processes – there are online HR systems you can use if you’re not ready for a full department just yet. Automating certain HR processes can free up some manual repetitive tasks and increase both accuracy and speed. This eliminates the cost of having to deal with errors and process delays.
  5. Stay on track with employment policies – laws and regulations can become out of date quickly, which means handbooks, contracts, policies, and procedures must be updated regularly, so they add value to your business.

There are many different strands to HR, and you might not need all of them. So, whether it’s a full in-house service or individual functions that would suit your needs best, you’ll be able to find the right provider at the right budget.

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