Tuesday, October 04, 2011

GUEST COLUMN: Look to outsourcing to fill SME needs

Each month, Toronto Business Times solicits opinions from four experts on a question of relevance to the small business community. This month’s question is: Small businesses often don't have enough work to employ an individual for a specialized duty. Hourly specialist charges can be expensive. Are there opportunities for small business to share personnel with other small businesses? How would you set that up? Here is my response.

Small and medium-sized businesses don't always have a consistent demand or the resources to justify hiring expert personnel onto the payroll for every aspect of business.

It is common practice for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to hire lawyers, graphic designers or trainers on a project or hourly basis, but what about other roles like benefits administration, human resources, payroll, accounts payable, document management, safety, WSIB claims management and other daily business functions?

The thought of sharing personnel between two companies makes sense if you are lucky enough to find another company with the same part-time needs, however the likelihood of finding such a match is very slim.

The solution is outsourcing. Sometimes called BPO, business process outsourcing should not be confused with off-shore outsource. We are referring to the local kind - the small business kind, the "good for the domestic economy" kind.

The difference between hiring an expensive hourly specialist and outsourcing is in consistency of need. If you can reasonably predict that you will have a regular need for a particular piece of work, then a specialist outsource company can provide an expert service at a fraction of the cost of a full-time resource.
Take payroll, for example. An outsourced payroll service stays on top of tax reform, uses world-class software, ensures that your remittances and filing are compliant and offers a wide range of value-added services that are typically only available to world-class companies.

Another perfect example of BPO is workers compensation claims management and safety certification. This is complicated stuff and very difficult for the experts to stay on top of all the requirements and best practices. For a flat monthly fee, a claims management company can handle all your WSIB issues and will prove the ROI the deliver for their services.

HR-BPO (Human Resources - Business Process Outsourcing) is one of the fastest growing areas of outsourced services. It's an area of every business that offers the most because it is typically complicated, heavily legislated and compliance-oriented, plus any small increase in the service quality delivered to your existing employees will likely get the most recognition and appreciation.

Steve Jones is President of The People Bank, a division of Design Group Staffing Inc.

1 comment:

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