The Benefits of Local Human Resource Outsourcing for Small Businesses

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A Human Resource expert on staff is a luxury many small to midsized employers can’t justify. Yet, as an owner, they have similar needs for HR expertise as larger organizations. Every business has limited resources, and every manager has limited time and attention. Outsourcing can help your business to shift its focus from peripheral activities toward work that serves the customer, and it can help managers set their priorities more clearly. Most small firms simply can’t afford to match the in-house HR support services that larger companies maintain. Outsourcing can help small firms act “big” by giving them access to the same economies of scale, efficiency, and expertise that large companies enjoy.

By outsourcing HR services, small businesses can receive the benefits of larger firms less the cost of having a Human Resource expert on staff. Human Resource outsourcing firms focus on delivering HR services tailored to the needs and cultures of small employers with HR options that fulfill the needs and reduce the risk of potential liabilities inherent in HR management.

The best services offer proactive assessment and corrective actions for current errors or omissions. They help establish processes and procedures to ensure that a small business is compliant with Federal and State regulations.   They also offer operational efficiency options that help owners concentrate on growing the business and make the most of their staff by building high performing teams.  The primary focus is protecting the business owner from employee lawsuits or actions involving complaints to State or Federal agencies by helping to ensure the business has the right HR policies, is compliant with the laws, and has trained managers.

Noncompliance is a significant risk for today’s small business owner. In our ever changing regulatory environment, small businesses need to constantly be aware and act on change. As recently as of March 1st all those engaged in commerce in or outside of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that collects and retains personal information in connection with the provision of goods and services or for the purposes of employment must be compliant with 201CMR17.00. The purpose and objective is designed to ensure that all citizens of the Commonwealth are protected against identify theft. The repercussions of a security breech can be insurmountable. If a business is reported by a customer or reports a security breech to the Attorney General’s office, the business could be subjected to fines up to 5000.00 dollars and may be potentially be responsible for all legal fees, including defense costs and restitution costs to customers that were affected by the breech.

The MA law for wage violations states that all violations of Massachusetts wage and hour laws will be subject to mandatory treble (triple) damages, even when employers have acted in good faith and took reasonable steps to comply with wage payment laws.

In addition to the strict MA compliancy laws, significant changes at the Federal level are targeting employers.  As of the end of last year President Obama’s focal points for immigration reform have enhanced the FORM I-9 enforcement efforts.  The President noted that the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Labor are working to crack down on employers who are exploiting illegal workers.  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is launching a new audit initiative by issuing Notices of Inspection (NOIs) to 652 businesses nationwide – which is more than ICE issued throughout all of last fiscal year. The notices alert business owners that ICE will be inspecting their hiring records to determine whether or not they are complying with employment eligibility verification laws and regulations. If an audit does happen, fines range from $110 for one single, minor or technical violation (i.e. not having the form filled out correctly) or up to $3,200 per violation for serious first offenses. A third offense can lead to a fine of up to $16,000, per offense. They could even go back to all your previous employees and include them in as a per offense.   You should also know that violators can lose (debarment of) current government contracts and also be barred from competing for government contracts for a year.

While HR options come as an add-on or a package suite with some larger HR/payroll firms in the form of an 800 number, phone support or a sales representative that stops by every once in a while, specialty HR firms offer 24/7 personalized services that are at your doorstep proactively. They work closely with small businesses to understand their specific needs and develop materials such as handbooks, training and education for sexual harassment, provide compliance guidance for Federal and State regulations and help employers with consultation for issues, discipline and performance.

The benefits of using local payroll firms and HR outsourcers is continuing to show development of strong long lasting relationships, quality delivery, personalized service, and significant cost reduction across small businesses in New England. While the larger firms continue to disappoint with 800 numbers and call centers with representatives that have less experience in HR, specialized HR services are providing high quality support with expertise in State, Federal and local community expertise.

Human Resource effectiveness requires a human touch.

Whether you are a new business or an existing business, allow us to work with you and provide a complimentary HR assessment which involves a full review of all current HR documents, systems, policies and procedures to identify “at risk” items and the areas where change is recommended to help ensure compliance with legislation and improve the effectiveness of the fundamental HR management practices. Once complete, we will supply you with a confidential report of findings.

Remember, the only way to help reduce your risk from Federal and State agencies and employees who try to extract vengeance by lodging complaints with ICE and the Department of Labor, is ensuring you have someone who understands your business and what those agencies and employees can do, and will work with you to put HR management practices in place to help protect you.

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