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In many ways, HR is like the backbone of your company – you may not always be aware of it, but it's responsible for supporting most of your operation. When HR services are efficient and streamlined, it can greatly benefit your organization's overall performance. In contrast, however, if your HR department is struggling in a particular area, you may find your business as a whole suffering.

Small businesses often find themselves wrestling with the decision to hire their own HR department or to outsource to a PEO company. While there's no cut-and-dried answer, knowing what your HR solutions should strive for in terms of best practices can help you better evaluate your company's current in-house HR capabilities. 

Staffing superstars
Perhaps the most widely known role HR professionals fill is that of recruiting and hiring. Far from a routine process, your company needs to treat talent acquisition as its own dedicated challenge. Finding the best employees for your organization means that you have to be as direct and specific as possible with not only the interview and hiring process, but also with the job posting itself – stock, off-the-shelf job postings tend to yield stock, off-the-shelf employees.

Not only is hiring an essential skill of proactive HR departments, but workforce planning is also necessary for top-of-the-line staffing. According to a report from TLNT, workforce planning – the practice of forecasting the staffing and employment needs of the company and hiring accordingly – had the second-highest impact on overall company performance.

Benefits administration
If staffing is the practice of attracting the best and most qualified talent to your company, offering and properly administrating health care and retirement benefits would be the process of keeping them. In fact, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, across generations from the baby boomers reaching retirement age to the millennials just starting out, benefits were cited as the highest source of employee dissatisfaction. Older workers are concerned about having enough money to retire, while the new contingent of employees want jobs that can offer competitive health care benefits.

While simple in theory, managing the Gordian knot of benefits administration can at best frustrate executives and at worst cost companies money in compliance and legal fees. Keeping up with changes to Social Security and health care – specifically in the wake of the Affordable Care Act – can leave unprepared entrepreneurs up to their ears in paperwork.

Maintaining efficacy in these areas is important, but it's also time- and labor-intensive. Small businesses that aren't able to dedicate the time required could benefit greatly from HR outsourcing companies that can pick up the slack, rather than unwisely setting these crucial practices on the back burner.