The Innovative Workplace
By Joy Justus
MAKING EMPLOYMENT MORE PROFITABLE
Three ways human resources can help employers save money and make money
Human resources covers a lot of territory—much of it cluttered with paperwork—but it really does have a precise business purpose. The point of HR is to make employment more profitable, and it does so in three fundamental ways. First, HR protects the organization against employment-related lawsuits and fines; second, it reduces the costs of employment, and third, it maximizes employee productivity.
In short, HR helps the employer save money and make money in all things related to employment.
Lawsuits and fines
Nothing can prevent an employer from being sued, but good HR can substantially reduce the risk of lawsuits and other costly consequences of noncompliance. It can do so by making sure the organization follows federal, state, and municipal legal requirements.
The government has multiple agencies tasked with investigating violations and administering fines. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigates discrimination claims. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) looks into workplace hazards and safety violations. The IRS and Department of Labor (DOL) may ask to see your client’s books. And U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services might audit a company’s I-9s.
… HR can also help an organization increase its revenue by encouraging and helping employees to be more collaborative, innovative, creative, knowledgeable, skilled, and just plain better at their jobs.
Penalties for violations can range from amounts that are mildly inconvenient to those that are financially devastating, so you don’t want your clients to leave these areas to chance or hope they stay under the radar. Employing people comes with risk, and it’s an HR job to manage and reduce that risk. Here are some steps an employer can take to reduce risk:
- Appropriately classify workers as employees or independent contractors.
- Document policies and procedures in an employee handbook that is regularly reviewed, updated (at least twice annually), and distributed to every employee with an acknowledgement of receipt.
- Proactively train every employee on anti-harassment and anti-discrimination practices to reduce the likelihood of an incident. Do this even if your state does not mandate this training, because it is a low-cost, high-impact method of protecting your business against a claim or, worse, a lawsuit.
- Be informed about OSHA’s recordkeeping rules for injury and illness and understand whether your business must comply. Establish an injury and illness prevention program.
- Conduct regular internal audits of I-9s. Establish processes for correcting errors, training personnel (often field or location managers) responsible for filling out new hire forms, and meeting E-Verify requirements.
Costs and productivity
Competitive wages and benefits, office perks, and first-rate technology can help your clients find and keep great employees. In turn, these workers can help a company improve services, boost sales, and grow the business. But there are also employment costs HR can help cut.
Hiring and recruitment processes can be streamlined and assessed for inefficiencies. Thanks to the internet, the pool of available talent is larger than ever. Encourage your clients to use online recruiting technology to create job postings and track candidates more efficiently.
Turnover costs can be reduced by improving the onboarding process, communications, and engagement efforts. Inefficiencies can be resolved through performance management and discipline. A large crop of new technology caters to small and mid-sized businesses, offering online performance management programs that make it easy for managers to document and provide real-time feedback to employees.
In addition to preventing and reducing costs related to employment, HR also can help the organization increase its revenue by encouraging and helping employees to be more collaborative, innovative, creative, knowledgeable, skilled, and just plain better at their jobs. Coaching, training, skill development, career advancement, outside education, and culture advancements are tried and true productivity-building methods. They also have the added perk of directly benefiting employees.
When HR works on maximizing productivity, it’s able to serve the interests of both the employer and employee in ways that are visible and appreciated by all parties. Employers bring in more revenue, employees develop professionally, and customers get better service. Everybody’s happy.
Good for business
The business case for HR is compelling. Ignoring HR or neglecting its responsibilities puts an organization at greater risk, wastes money on subpar and inefficient operations, and hinders employers and employees from reaching their full potential. Investing in HR reduces risk, eliminates inefficiencies, and improves productivity. Whether one is a business owner, office manager, HR department of one, or part of a team of HR practitioners, spending time on HR bolsters everyone’s success.
Joy Justus is senior vice president responsible for overseeing the insurance channel marketing and distribution strategy at ThinkHR. She has 25 years of experience in employee benefits, property and casualty, and human resources. Joy joined ThinkHR 10 years ago when it was a startup. She has been instrumental in driving the company’s growth, holding executive leadership positions in sales, marketing and strategic initiatives.
ThinkHR’s flagship solution, People Risk Management (PRM), is used by over 1,000 full-service agencies across the country. Core product features allow employers to reduce risk, drive efficiencies, and resolve people-related human resources and compliance issues quickly and efficiently. Agencies partnering with ThinkHR report improved cross-selling outcomes between commercial and benefits departments and stronger marketplace differentiation. To learn more, visit www.thinkhr.com or contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.