Earlier this month we gave you some tips on how to find the perfect HR partner for your business. However, that was only part 1, which of course means we have to stick to our word and provide part 2.
So, here it is, the second part in our list.
#4 – Experience
This one sounds like a straight forward and obvious question to ask, but it’s often somewhat overlooked. When trying to determine if someone is the right person to work with you and your business, you really need to have a good understanding of their previous experience.
It can be helpful to know the business owners background before they started up on their own. You might want to know how long they’ve been trading. If you’re likely to be working with one individual consultant, what their background is.
Equally, you will want to know what experience the business has working with other businesses like yours. For example, if you are an accountant, do they have a good grasp of your industry and the issues that you might be facing? The same is true of any sector, of course. Are you a large business, yet they seem to specialise in SMEs? These are all things that you are going to want to consider, and have answers to before you sign on the dotted line.
#5 – References/Case studies
Can you access any references, cast studies or other forms of social proof about this company? Have you received a recommendation from anyone that’s already used them, or heard good things about them?
Such recommendations are always going to stand you in good stead, and will give you a point from which to find out more concrete information.
#6 – Are they respected in their industry?
This can be a hard one to find out about; however, there are things that you should be looking out for. For example, have they won any awards? Do they have accreditations with the sorts of professional bodies you would expect (for example, Investors in People)?
Another good thing to examine is whether they are vocal on social media platforms. We don’t mean that they post “Happy Friday” memes once a week, but are they actively publishing content and giving their opinions? Are they up to date with what’s going on? Are they providing useful information on things you, as a business owner, are interested in and should know more about.
This kind of activity says a lot about a company. Not only that they have the industry knowledge to be able to provide a thoughtful opinion, but also that they have a clear strategy about their marketing, which forms part of their business plan. If they don’t know what they’re doing, are they really in the best position to be providing you with any advice?
#7 – Expertise
Those two letters, HR, cover a wide range of areas. It’s hard to suggest that any one person can be an expert in every conceivable area. We all have our specialist areas, and things we’re particularly interested in (and good at).
What do you, and your business, really need from a HR provider? Are you looking for someone that can help with change management or organisational development? Perhaps you’re looking at increasing employee engagement, or you want to get your sickness management under control. Do you have high staff turnover, and don’t understand why? Are you looking for better ways to manage payroll and/or holiday entitlement etc?
These are questions only you can answer, but it’s important for you to understand what you’re looking to get out of a HR provider. From there you can determine whether that individual can meet your needs, or not.