Is Human Resources Really a Necessary Evil?

checklist-1622517_640Just ask anybody. HR is a necessary evil. You need a human resources department to add, administer and terminate employees. But they do not add value and certainly are not strategic. WRONG. These views reflect the personnel department of the past (which frankly has been carried over under the new moniker, “human resources”). However, it is not what is demanded by today’s realities in the staffing industry. The demands on today’s HR function are much higher than just a few years ago. Doing just enough to get by is not nearly enough today. Why? Because of two basic reasons:

  1. Government agencies and regulatory compliance demand more. The contingent staffing company is subject to the same complex (often contradictory) set of rules that all employers face today. Increasingly, they are being pursued as “revenue” sources by government taxing authorities and as “compliance” targets by federal and state regulatory agencies such as the NLBR, EEOC, OSHA, etc. To protect your company and your clients, today’s contingent staffing company needs to engage experts in the HR field.  Sadly, many do not and are paying a heavy price.
  2. Contingent workers and clients demand more. No client wants to be hit with fines and penalties that can and do happen when contingent workers assigned to their business do not have the appropriate taxes withheld, worker’s compensation coverage provided, hiring and firing practices applied, and equality of available benefits that are increasingly being required today. Further, contingent workers are becoming more sophisticated and demanding more of the staffing company. Good HR requires having a responsive one-on-one relationship with the contingent worker. If the company treats the worker like a soulless automaton, it will likely be thought of as uncaring and adversarial by the worker. If the employee is dissatisfied and lacks loyalty, they are much more likely to leave the assignment mid-stream and/or to file a formal complaint with the government against the contingent staffing company and/or the client.

PREMIUM CONTENT: 2016 Temporary Worker Survey: What type of staffing firm do temporary workers most prefer?

The days of HR being just good enough to administer employees are over. Today, HR must be a strategic partner to the contingent staffing company.

As president and CEO of Milton Park Partners, I think I know where the industry is going on the topic of human resources. I have been in the staffing industry for decades and have seen “the HR of the past.” In my own company, I have been amazed at the difference modern, high-quality HR makes. I depend on my HR department to protect me and help make me more profitable. Strategically, they help me find, retain and motivate my workers. My workers tell me they love the service and personal care they get.

If you or someone you know has the same passion and interest in 21st century HR, please ask them to contact me.  I would love to share my experiences and to see if we cannot form a group of interested parties to address the new realities of HR in the industry.

MORE: 8 Tips for Awesome Onboarding



Wayne Surman
Wayne Surman, president and CEO of Milon Park Partners, is a serial entrepreneur with more than 17 years’ experience in the employment solutions space.

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