In the present age of gimmicky smart phones, superfast broadband and the ability to live out one’s existence in the cloud, more and more businesses are taking advantage of moving their service offering to an online platform; diminishing, or even eliminating, the need for face-to-face contact. For many sectors, particularly those involved in the buying or selling physical goods, it’s an excellent opportunity to cut overheads and provide a fast and efficient service. But when it comes to buying and selling a less tangible product – such as Human Resources Advice – taking the virtual route may not be best for your business.
Many small and medium sized businesses find that outsourcing their HR to an external provider proves to be a time and cost efficient way of dealing with their staff issues, rather than employing a full-time member of staff. And whilst using an on-line portal-type provider may offer a cheap alternative (which became increasingly popular during the recession), more and more companies are these days looking for an HR provider who will offer a more human approach to their personnel management.
Benefits for businesses
Understanding the needs of the organisation, including those of stakeholders and managers, is essential for delivering effective and relevant HR guidance. One of the key advantages of face-to-face meetings is that it allows you to create mutual trust much more quickly than through purely electronic communication. By establishing that trust, it allows for a better understanding of expectations. It is also much easier to have a two way question and answer session about the business and its processes in person than it is to have a never-ending chain of emails.
Restructuring a department, dealing with employee relations and hiring new recruits all require an in depth knowledge of how a company operates. A dedicated HR manager taking the time to visit the company on a regular basis will get to grips with the business and meet the staff, allowing them to offer an ongoing, tailored service which evolves as the organisation requires. As smart as technology is these days, an internet portal just can’t quite provide the same personal experience. Sitting down and downloading generic documents may at first seem like a simple option, but as the “one size fits all” documents, policies and letters are, in fact, unlikely to fit your business without any alteration, a director or manager still has to invest their time interpreting and amending them to suit their own needs. You may say it’s a false economy.
Of course, just because your HR provider takes the personal approach, it doesn’t mean they shun modern technology. You’ll still have online access to all the necessary policies and letters, but they’ll be those that have been custom created for your company and kept up to date without you even having to think about it.
And don’t forget employees
HR provision is just as important for employees as it is for employers. Not only do they want to see a face in their organisation that represents them and demonstrates the importance of staff welfare, but having someone available to talk to in person to air any grievances and help resolve day-to-day issues is important on an individual level. Having an HR Manager speak to employees in person allows them to better perceive emotions and attitudes, which helps them get a truer understanding of the overall atmosphere within the workplace.
It’s not just tea & sympathy
Whilst Human Resources these days is less about tea and sympathy and more about contributing to bottom line results, sitting down over a nice hot cuppa can go a long way to putting the world to rights. Despite the continuing evolution of technology, there is no replacement for face-to-face contact when dealing with personnel management.