One of the trickiest parts of providing HR services is that the better you do your job, the less visible your work is. When everyone on a team is happy, fulfilled, and engaged, the business can operate as the founder envisioned – and that founder may fail to realize the importance of the behind-the-scenes HR work that’s made that reality possible.
This is of particular concern to HR contractors, consultants, and PEOs, who may be handling employee issues online or over the phone, in ways that are less visible than an in-house HR professional holding office hours.
So how can HR professionals show the value of the work they do, especially for metrics-minded business leaders? Following these strategies can help ensure that your efforts remain top of mind so you get credit for the positive outcomes you’re enabling.
Identify “pain point” metrics
We know that every company needs HR. But early-stage businesses usually realize this only when some specific trigger incident happens. During the sales process for a new client, be sure to identify the primary trigger that led the founder to contact you. These are typically things like:
- Difficulty recruiting.
- High turnover / bad retention rates.
- “Squeaky wheel” employees.
- Compliance issues.
- Company culture.
- Onboarding and process needs.
Ask about the hours they’re spending dealing with these issues and what a successful outcome looks like for them.
Crunch the numbers
Once you have a clear picture of the “before,” you’re well positioned to show how your work leads to improvement over time. For example, if a founder comes to you because they’re having trouble retaining employees, you might look at the current turnover rate at the company, along with the cost of turnover for various roles (including time spent recruiting, interviewing, onboarding, and training a new hire).
As you decrease the turnover rate, you can demonstrate the savings you’re bringing to the company, which will almost certainly be less than the cost of your service.
While the founder and their team are no doubt enjoying the day-to-day workplace improvements that come with lower turnover, seeing the numbers in black and white will help reinforce the value your services are adding.
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Report on “headaches saved”
Eventually, most founders understand that enlisting the help of an HR consultant or PEO firm is well worth the cost, if only in the number of headaches it saves them. One way you can subtly reinforce that value is to create a monthly report or newsletter that highlights all the work you’re doing behind the scenes. This might include:
- A summary of new employment laws that passed or took effect (and that founders don’t have to worry about, thanks to you!).
- Upcoming filing deadlines for various types of paperwork (again, that you will handle!).
- HR issues in the news and how your services help employers stay in compliance on said issues.
- Enrollment numbers for employer-sponsored benefits programs.
The goal of such a document is to both keep founders informed about the larger HR picture and also remind them of all the things they don’t have to worry about, thanks to you.
Check in and iterate
The nature of early-stage companies is that they change quickly. So while a founder may come to you in hopes of building a better culture, they may find, six months into your engagement, that while their culture is now great, they’re having trouble recruiting.
During regular check-ins with your clients, be sure to listen for signs that they may need additional services you can provide. When you catch these, follow the same process you did at the beginning, identifying key metrics and goals so you can demonstrate success as you engage with a new aspect of their business.