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Outsourcing ER makes perfect sense – why?

HR Recruitment
HR / Outsourcing ER

Why HR should outsource ER

‘ER’ means different things to different people, so let’s first set out what we mean by ‘ER’…and then we’ll talk about why outsourcing some of it makes so much sense, and should be part of any HRD/CPO’s portfolio of options.

ER is about handling difficult people-related issues. Investigations disciplinaries & grievances all (obviously) fall into that category, but so does anything that requires that thing that most people hate – change.

Change management & ER

In employment, most change comes about because organisational needs change, different skills might be needed, or perhaps work needs to be resourced in a different place or in a different way. That may come with a requirement for employee exits, perhaps because less or different people are needed, or because existing people are unable or unwilling to meet changing requirements.

Unfortunately, many people managers, and many HR practitioners, are not the best at delivering change positively – they may be too close and so it’s too personal, or they might not have the right skills.

ER skills can be trained of course (although existing CIPD training in this area is woefully inadequate), but it isn’t just about having great ER skills. Internal HR staff may choose not to be involved in certain change processes to avoid the risk of negatively impact future working relationships.

External ER brings objectivity and protects internal HR

It’s easy to see how essential aspects of change programmes, such as consultations and selection, are best performed by an objective external person with the right skills and who can come in, carry out the exercise and then leave internal HR, staff and managers to get on with the post-change world after they’ve gone.

Similarly with investigations. Consider a situation where an internal HR Manger investigates an allegation against a senior employee and recommends a disciplinary hearing. The hearing then exonerates that employee, who will continue to work with the HR Manager. Future relationships between HR and the exonerated senior manager could be extremely awkward, to the detriment of either or both.

ER technical skills lacking in HR marketplace

Aside from objectivity, effective ER requires a lot of time and a really good technical knowledge of change processes, often tied to an in-depth knowledge of applicable employment laws. Experience helps ER consultants to know when laws should be strictly applied and when workarounds can be agreed. They’ll also know what to record and to avoid recording, using the legal instruments available. As I’ve alluded to previously, these skills are not common amongst HR people in the UK – at myHRdept we’ve struggle so much to recruit HR people with these skills that we now prefer to develop them in-house.

I previously led an HR team supporting Coca-Cola’s UK multi-site operations, but the myHRdept team has a much greater ER bias than I had back then. That is proving popular with today’s blue chip CPOs, many of whom see the attraction of buying in our services as they’re needed, enabling their own teams to spend available time on more value-added activities.

ER support from myHRdept

myHRdept provides outsourced HR and payroll services, but we also supply ER services to support internal HR & management teams. Advice to line managers and HR staff, investigations, change processes, hearings and appeals form a part of this remit, and we also offer employment legal support – settlement agreements, contract drafting, HR policies and staff handbooks.

To discuss your requirements, contact enquiries@myhrdept.co.uk, or call us on 01628 820515, or use the contact-us form below.

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