Small business might not need full-time HR. They nonetheless need HR support. That’s when HR on Retainer makes sense. “Unfortunately, many businesses don’t measure the value of HR until things go wrong,” remarks Cherry Moore, SPHR. Cherry knows a thing or two about HR. She has been in the profession for 25 years leading HR in mid-size companies.


Too often, HR is managed from the accounting side of the house or seen as a second thought function.  

Executives are reluctant to seek legal advice, concerned by the potential for high legal fees, says Moore. They are reluctant to spend money until they can’t avoid it. This usually happens when the business is sued by a current or former employee. At this point, good HR practices won’t save you and the legal bills will mount, adds Moore.

Good HR support is all about preventing employee problems from getting out of hand. The focus is on good HR practices every day.

One of the first employee systems to put in place is payroll which can be handled by an accountant. Business owners tend to delegate the whole HR enchilada to the money person. Based on Moore’s experience (and I have seen it too!), accountants consider HR a nuisance. They don’t have time to get beyond payroll and benefit processing. 

Accountants certainly don’t have expertise in HR compliance. Tiffany Speas, CFO at Peninsula Agency on Aging (PAA), likes having HR consultants so they can “do the heavy lifting” on special projects. Having this outside support keeps projects on track. Results get delivered. In this case, we worked on a new performance review process for PAA.

As a business matures, the value of HR becomes evident when problems arise among employees. HR is often called to smooth things out and play a referee role. When an employee needs to be fired, HR provides comfort that the right steps are followed. It’s about risk management. 

But good HR is more than just risk management. It’s about getting the right workforce to grow your business. In an industry that I know particularly well, home care, the war for talent is evident. Most home care agencies have to turn down new cases because they cannot recruit quality caregivers. I work with my home care clients to establish their recruitment masterplan

Retention is a challenge for all employers. Keeping existing employee is essential because the labor market is tightening. The competition for employees, even low-skilled workers, is definitely on. Again, I work with clients to create a list of retention activities and best practices that make sense for their organization.

And if you still need legal advice, make sure your attorney is trained in employment law. Just as you wouldn’t ask an eye doctor to cure a foot problem, most contract attorneys do not stay up on employment matters.

me to explore if HR on retainer is right for your business. Schedule a call today  to get answers to your “people challenges.”