6 Outsourced HR Services Red Flags

by Employers Council Staff

HR Expertise and Support

The most successful organizations know how to use outsourced HR services to extend their bandwidth, stay in compliance, and remain focused on long-term strategy. But a less-than-great outsourced human resources provider can have the opposite effect. If you’re not careful, you can find yourself doing extra work, dealing with someone else’s costly mistakes, and wasting time on micromanaging. 

Want to make sure your outsourced human resources choices have a positive, not negative, ROI? Our Employers Council HR specialists say to watch out for these six red flags, surefire signs that a provider will cause more problems than they’ll solve: 

1. You have to use their systems, not yours.

Some providers prioritize their own ease and interest by requiring you use the systems they’ve already set up or bought into. A provider who is looking out for your organization’s good will work with the systems that are already serving you well. (Of course, if you are asking for help upgrading your systems, that’s a whole other matter!) You shouldn’t have to do a complete process overhaul to get third-party human resource assistance.  

2. They have a limited or niche human resources focus.

Unless you only have one very limited HR problem to solve, and know you will never, ever have another one (a rare case), you’ll be better served by an outsourced HR services provider with a wide menu of services. So many HR tasks are related to each other — pull on one string, and you’re going to end up with a whole pile of yarn. Choosing a provider who can handle whatever you throw at them will benefit you in the long run. 

3. They don’t have backup. 

Always, always ask about staffing. What happens when your consultant goes on vacation? What if your specialist doesn’t have an answer to a pressing question? Look for HR service providers with deep benches, especially when it comes to varied experience. Do they have access to attorneys for legal questions? Can you switch if your consultant ends up not being a match? Make sure you’re not relying on a single person to supply all of your HR needs. 

4. You have to pay minimums.

In some situations, minimums may not be a problem (for organizations that need a lot of help and won’t ever have a slow month). But most companies are better off paying for what they use, no more no less. Providers that don’t require restrictive contracts or prohibitive minimums will let you go with the flow — of work, of projects, of growth, of needs. 

5. Their experience is thin.

Check references! Make sure your third-party HR provider knows their stuff. Even better: Make sure their specific calling cards fill the empty spots in your knowledge roster. Don’t settle for someone you’ll have to teach the ropes — you want someone who can hit the ground running without your supervision. Look for providers with experience, especially in your industry or sector. 

6. They aren’t responsive.

The last thing you want to be doing at work is tracking down a ghosted HR consultant. Use your initial conversations to gauge the providers’ communications practices. Are they going to be reliable and timely? Can you count on them to get back to you within a reasonable amount of time? No one needs to be on 24/7, but you do need to know you won’t be left hanging when it matters. 

Why choose Employers Council for your outsourced HR services needs?

Employers Council has spent decades developing its outsourced HR services line to solve the problems employers face when trying to build exceptional workplaces. Our team of 20+ experienced HR specialists offer the full gamut of assistance, from employee relations to HR audits, from recruiting to strategic plan development. Our HR consultants are: 

  • Committed to using the systems and processes that work best for your organization
  • Part of a wider Employers Council team of 200+ attorneys and specialists who are ready to solve whatever challenges might arise for you
  • Available for problem-solving and stepping in if your primary consultant is out-of-office or just needs an assist
  • Available on a pay-as-you-go basis (with discounts for members) without minimums or restrictive contracts
  • Experienced in a wide variety of HR tasks, industries, and organization size
  • One phone call away. Our consultants are committed to professional, personalized communication. 

Want to skip the red flags altogether? Talk to our outsourced HR services team about how they can help your organization thrive. 


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Employers Council Staff