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Finding the Right HR Outsourcing Partner – 6 Factors to Consider

Contributor: Evita Lara, HR Consultant

February 1st, 2023 | 5 min. read

By Tony Calavitta

Finding the Right HR Outsourcing Partner – 6 Factors to Consider

So, you’ve decided to outsource your HR tasks to help you better run your business. Now, you have to find the right HR outsourcing (HRO) partner.

Because all HRO services are different, you need to find the one uniquely suited to address your company’s HR needs. But with HR outsourcing on the rise and over 500 qualified HRO providers in the US to choose from, how can you be sure to team up with your ideal partner?

Here at Combined, our HR specialists have been providing personalized HR solutions to employers for years. We want to help you find your best-fit provider, form a long-term partnership, and feel the satisfaction of knowing that your HR needs are taken care of.

In this article, we will look at the 6 most important factors to consider when searching for your ideal HRO service partner – so that your search ends with a successful HRO partnership.

What you should look for in an HRO partnership

There are many reasons that employers, by and large, are moving toward outsourced HR management. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), savings in cost and prioritization of time for strategic efforts are among the top reasons.

If you are choosing to outsource all or part of your HR responsibilities, you are looking to solve a specific HR problem.

In other words, you also have your reasons:

  • Do you need help with regulatory compliance?
  • Are you struggling with recruitment and retention?
  • Would you benefit from a more organized technology platform?

No matter the reason, you need to find the HRO partner that can provide the solution to your specific problem. These 6 factors to consider when searching for the right HRO partner can help you do just that.

1. The cost of your HRO service plan should be customizable

Your HRO partner can offer as many or as few HR services as you need. The cost, then, should be reflective of this.

In the same way that you wouldn’t pay for a bundled travel package that includes flight, hotel, and rental car if you only need a flight, you shouldn’t have to pay for outsourced HR services that you don’t need.

If you only need HR help in one area, why pay a provider for all-encompassing HR services? Instead, look for a service provider that can create a custom plan suited to your needs at a custom cost that matches the services you receive.

When searching for your HRO partner, be sure that the cost is effective for the services you require.

2. Your HRO service plan should be expandable

You may have heard this before - Your HRO partner can offer as many or as few HR services as you need. But can you expand your plan to include more HR services when you need to?

When choosing a provider, you want to think about the bigger picture. Right now, you may only need HR help in one area, but as your business grows the scope of outsourced HR services you require may grow with it.

For this reason, it is important to consider total or bundled service offers as well as add-on options in case you need extra HR help in the future.

If your HRO service plan can be adjusted to meet your HR needs as your business grows, you may have found the right provider.

For you to maintain a successful, long-term HRO partnership, your HRO partner should offer an expandable service plan that can grow with your business.

3. Your HRO partner should make access to assistance available

There is nothing more frustrating than being unable to access the help you need when you need it.

And in the realm of outsourced HR services, this is especially true. Because HR management is involved, complex, and riddled with deadlines, the availability and levels of service your HRO partner is able to offer are crucial considerations.

When outsourcing your HR, you should be confident that your HRO partner assist you when you need help.

Here are a few questions to ask to ensure your provider makes HR assistance readily available:

  • Where is your HRO partner located?

Geographic time differences can affect when assistance is available – if your operating hours are outside those of your provider, you may have trouble reaching your service team to get the help you need.

  • Does your HRO partner offer flexible consulting methods?

Whether it be on-site or virtual consulting, having access to different forms of communication with your provider can expedite the process of getting the help you need.

  • Will your HRO partner assign you a direct point of contact representative?

Knowing who to call when you need assistance can eliminate frustrating back-and-forth miscommunication – a familiar point of contact representative who knows you and your business can make it easier to get the help you need.

4. Your HRO partner should be reputable

You want to make sure that your HRO partner can not only do the job, but do it well.

What better way to find out than by checking their track record?  When buying a car, you check the vehicle history – in the search for your HRO provider, you should do the same.

By exploring a provider’s client history, you can learn a lot about the quality, reliability, and overall experience other businesses had with outsourced HR services. It is a quick and easy way to learn what you can expect from a potential provider should they become your HRO partner.

When exploring service partners, be sure that your provider has a history and catalog of successful HRO partnerships.

5. Your HRO partner should have a credible service team

You want an HRO partner with an experienced staff.

Looking for industry licensing is a good place to start. 

By finding a provider with credentialed HR service team members, you can be certain that you are outsourcing your HR responsibilities to field experts.

As mentioned before, if you are choosing to outsource all or part of your HR responsibilities, you are trying to solve a specific HR problem. Who actually solves that problem? Your provider’s HR service team members.

So, outsourcing your HR to a provider with a capable service team is key to achieving this.

The following organizations certify top-tier HR professionals:

  • The Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI)
  • The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

6. Your HRO partner should use dependable technology

HR technology spans the use of software for a wide range of HR tasks.

The following are just a few areas of HR where advanced technology can make a huge difference:

  • Payroll processing
  • Benefits administration
  • Recruitment and retention
  • Performance management
  • Compliance regulation

Think about it like this – When assigned tedious math homework in school, would you rather complete it by hand or with the help of a calculator? My educated guess is that you would prefer to use a calculator to finish your assignment quickly and easily.

Even at a fundamental level, using technology enables a simple, time-effective method.

Up-to-date, integrated HR technology is like the calculator in this scenario. It is a convenient tool that allows a more efficient method of completing HR tasks.

Selecting a provider with technology adapted to your specific HR needs can make completing your HR tasks quick and easy too. With this in mind, your ideal HRO partner should offer access to dependable technology in the areas of HR that you are outsourcing.

Next steps to choosing the right HRO partner for your business 

You want to outsource your HR tasks to make your job easier. But the task of finding the right HRO partner has only made it more difficult.

You came here looking for a simpler, more straightforward way to search for your HRO partner. By reading this article, you learned 6 of the most important factors to consider when searching for the right provider.

The task at hand should now be a piece of cake!

Here at Combined, our skilled HR experts can guide you toward the right HRO solution for your business. We’ve helped countless employers, just like you, leave behind the stress of HR management and look forward to the benefits of a successful HRO partnership.

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So, are you ready to find your ideal HRO partnership?

Schedule a meeting with one of our HR experts today!

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If you are not yet ready to speak with a team member, you may find these additional resources helpful:


This article is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice.