CoAdvantage – How do you know if your outsourced HR partner is performing optimally? According to one study, “organizations should realize that the success of HR outsourcing is very much dependent on their relationship with the service providers, which take into account the significant factors such as trust, business understanding, commitment, communication, and top management support.”
Those relationships can be hard to evaluate to determine if the relationship needs fixing or even ending. Here are five dimensions to guide your assessment of the quality of your working relationship with your HR partner.
1: Communication and Collaboration
Many companies fear that an HR vendor or Professional Employer Organization (PEO) will just come in and “take over,” resulting in the company’s leadership losing some degree of control over their workforce and visibility into what’s happening with their workforce. If that were to happen, it’s a strong indicator of a failed relationship. HR partners should communicate effectively and work well with their in-house contacts. Is your partner’s responsive and communicative?
2: Accessibility and Transparency
If there are communication problems, it may be because the HR partner is not as accessible and transparent with their clients as they should be. Do you know what the HR partner does beyond transactional tasks; do you have visibility into how those efforts are being executed on behalf of the company; and can you connect the dots between those efforts and business outcomes? At the very least, you should have access to regular reporting or even real-time dashboards that show the state of the relationship.
The worst case is when an HR partner works at cross purposes with the client, pursuing strategies or initiatives that are out of step with the company’s own. This issue can be subtle, because partners can fall out of alignment with their clients just by handling client onboarding poorly, communicating badly, or even just approaching their work in a rote way without considering their work’s impact on the company’s goals. Ask yourself, “Do they provide support for the strategic direction of the organization?”
HR partners should act on your schedule, not theirs. In other words, they need to be responsive to requests, inquiries, and obligations. Questions and concerns should be addressed promptly. Open positions should be filled in a timely manner. Benefits and payroll issues should be resolved as quickly as possible. When there is an issue with timeliness – and admittedly, not every problem can be solved instantly – the partner should at least let you know they’re working on it and keep you updated in a timely way.
Given the growing importance of technology in the workplace, it’s increasingly difficult to be successful in HR without adequate technology. Does your HR partner provision technology as part of their service, or make good use of your own technology platforms? If your HR partner is not tech-enabled, it may struggle to meet modern needs. Make sure your HR partners use technology that makes transactional tasks user- and business-friendlier.
CoAdvantage, one of the nation’s largest Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), helps small to mid-sized companies with HR administration, benefits, payroll, and compliance. To learn more about our ability to create a strategic HR function in your business that drives business growth potential, contact us today.