How to choose an HR provider

How to choose an HR provider

How to choose an HR provider is an issue that many organisations struggle with. Perhaps because there are so many to choose from or because the organisation does not realise the differences between providers. The answer is that the right provider depends on the nature of the support needed, the expertise required, the resources available and much more. Whatever your needs, this blog will explain how to choose an HR provider that is right for you.


 Questions to ask yourself when choosing an HR provider:


1. What is the nature of the support that is needed?


This may seem like an obvious question to consider but it is often overlooked because organisations are not aware of the range of options available. For example, an organisation may wish to outsource HR tasks as much as possible. This type of HR consultancy support would mean that a range of activities would be undertaken on behalf of your organisation. Examples of such HR support may be drafting documentation, providing advice on particular issues (whether in person, email, or over the phone), or attending a disciplinary hearing to ensure the process has been followed correctly. Having that type of support frees up time for the organisation to focus on other aspects of the business and also provides reassurance that things will be done properly.

It is sensible to consider the nature of the support required rather than the amount because it is entirely possible that an organisation may want a small amount of support but wish those tasks to be done for the organisation.

When choosing an HR provider, locality is unlikely to be as relevant a factor as it would have been in the past, as support can often be delivered effectively using platforms such as Zoom. At Plotkin & Chandler we offer support on a consultancy basis and do as much as clients wish us to.

Apart from consultancy services, an organisation may wish to receive HR training to develop the skills and knowledge of the organisation so that it can confidently handle situations in future. Some providers offer a wide range of HR training topics whilst others may choose to provide a smaller selection or not offer this service at all. Some examples of HR training would be managing sickness absence,  addressing performance management, learning how to manage a disciplinary hearing, or how to undertake disciplinary investigations etc. If your organisation did want training, would it be on a one-to-one basis to support a particular individual, for a small group from the same organisation, or would it be more general training such as that held at larger venues where the content covered is likely to be more fixed?  We offer a wide range of HR training which is tailored to the needs of our clients, and we are happy to accommodate one to one sessions or small groups. For more information on the HR support we offer click on the links or contact us.

Another option is to choose an HR provider who makes various content available to clients, such as template documents, but the client would generally be expected to complete these documents themselves. The extent of the material offered and the support available varies depending on the particular HR provider.

Whatever your preferences, it is important to choose an HR provider that offers the support that you want, rather than realising there is a mismatch when it is all too late.


2. Are the HR services that I need now likely to change in future?


It is common for the needs of an organisation to change over time, which in turn alters the HR support which is needed. Such developments may be a need to increase the amount done for the organisation as a result of it growing. Alternatively, the organisation may have a greater need for training due to the increased number of employees. Does the offering allow for flexibility if things change unexpectedly?


3. What expertise does the organisation need now and what is likely in the future?

It is common for HR providers to have a particular specialism or focus. This may be managing disciplinary hearings, improving performance management, or tackling matters where discrimination or bulling is alleged. These are just some examples of the many HR services which could be available. It is entirely reasonable to ask what experience the HR provider has regarding particular topics, and to enquire how your requirements would be met.

It would also be relevant to ask what happens if a situation escalates further? For example, if an employee is dismissed and subsequently brings an Employment Tribunal claim for unfair dismissal. In such circumstances, would the HR provider simply recommend you go elsewhere, or would they continue to advise you? If the litigation work is handled by a different person or department would the client need to go through it all again? If support is available what does it consist of?

In addition to offering a range of HR services we have expertise in employment law, meaning that we are well placed to advise on defending an Employment Tribunal claim.

4. How much does it cost and what is the value of it to me?


There are a number of different ways to charge for HR services, such as the amount of time spent on the client, a fixed fee arrangement or an amount per month per employee. However, knowing how much things cost is not much help without knowing what you get (see the section referred to earlier: what is the nature of the support that is needed?) If you want consultancy support, or HR training, is it available?

Is what you want available for a fixed fee? Does the offering require an ongoing commitment? If so, how much is it and how long does the commitment last for? To provide an indication of the scale of the differences that exist, some HR providers may have a minimum notice period of a number of months, while others may have a term of several years.

In terms of value, if your organisation wants tasks to be done on its behalf, or it is seeking customised HR training, using a provider that offers templates with little support, would be of limited value because it would not address the desired need.

At Plotkin & Chandler we can provide a range of HR documentation for a fixed fee. We also work on an hourly rate basis or offer retained HR support packages. They have short notice periods and can be used in a way that reflects the particular needs of the client.


5. Do I feel important?


Ask yourself this question after the provider has given the ‘pitch’. You will instinctively know whether the HR provider has hit the mark (as far as you are concerned). Did the provider listen to what you were asking, and were proper answers given? Were you given a decent amount of time, or did you feel rushed?

Plotkin & Chandler works exclusively in the areas of HR and employment law. To discuss your requirements, and the ways in which we can help, call us on 020 3923 8616 or email us at info@plotkinandchandler.com

















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