Blog

Employee Entitlement vs. Employee Empowerment

A topic we often encounter here at Smart HR is engagement. From how to create an effective employee engagement survey to why a high turnover rate might actually be good for engagement, our consultants have seen it all. (And we see it a lot – according to Gallup, only 15% of employees worldwide are engaged in their jobs.) But the connecting thread throughout all of those conversations is the fact that engaged employees are the ones who feel that they’re making an impact. Read more

The Hidden Costs of Handling HR Yourself

Just because you aren’t paying for outsourced HR doesn’t mean it isn’t costing you. When small business owners and growing businesses handle HR on their own, or delegate it to someone else in the organization who is already overtasked (and has no background in HR), the soft costs involved may not be worth the money saved. Here are just a few of the ways that handling your own HR without a dedicated HR resource actually costs your organization more time, energy, and money in the long run than outsourcing it to an expert.

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From the Ground Up: Developing a Comprehensive HR Infrastructure

When a non-profit organization looking to create a solid HR infrastructure approached Smart HR, we jumped right in to help. With no current systems in place, Smart HR was able to develop an infrastructure where none existed before, creating a more consistent and professional approach to HR management, as well as providing significant cost savings to the organization in the long run.

With a clean slate in front of us, our experienced HR professionals were able to see the big picture, creating an infrastructure that took into account everything from policies and procedures to employee engagement. The comprehensive HR infrastructure created as a result of the organization’s partnership with Smart HR included:

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Moving Away from a PEO: A Case Study of Services Unbundling

Recently, a non-profit client located in Virginia came to Smart HR with what seemed to be a simple request: Help them move away from a PEO (Professional Employer Organization). The challenge was that it wasn’t quite that simple. In addition to the actual migration, the organization also needed to create a detailed transition plan, find new vendors, and get employees up to speed on the new processes. Not an easy task – which is why they turned to Smart HR, who has experience working with other clients to migrate off of a PEO and find the right blend of services and offerings that best match their organization. Read more

Top 5 Reasons to Outsource HR

“My company is growing but we’re not in a place to hire a full-time HR Director.” That’s what we hear from a lot of the companies that turn to Smart HR to outsource their Human Resources function. Some companies in this situation add HR to the duties of an already-busy member of their staff. Others choose to simply triage the most critical HR functions while ignoring proactive strategy altogether. There are a variety of valid reasons for outsourcing all or part of your HR so we decided to make a list of the top five reasons companies outsource their HR. Check them out:

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Triple Threat: How to Win Awards, Boost Morale & Attract Top Talent

As an outsourced human resources firm, Smart HR provides custom solutions and works closely with our clients to help them reach their organizational goals. In this month’s Client Spotlight, we’ll highlight our work with NASW Assurance Services Inc. (ASI), a Maryland-based company that provides insurance to social workers.

NASW Assurance Services Inc. (ASI) has been a Smart HR client for over 10 years (and counting) and one of the highlights of our many projects with the company was helping them to win the Frederick County Best Places to Work competition in 2015. Not only did the award bring positive press to the company, it also played a huge role in boosting morale and ultimately attracting new talent.

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Consultant Spotlight: Monica Bower

Every so often, we feature one of our consultants and highlight their story to give you a behind-the-scenes glimpse into life at Smart HR. As always, if you’re looking for a flexible HR career that’s adaptable to wherever you are in your professional life, contact us today. Without further ado, please meet this month’s spotlight consultant, Monica Bower.


Name: Monica Bower 

Years with Smart HR: 3 years 

Professional Background in One Sentence: I am a SPHR, SHRM-SCP with more than 25 years’ experience in Human Resources for small businesses, government contracting, and IT companies.

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Great Teams Go Further Than Their Leaders. Here’s Why.

It might sound obvious, but great leaders – and perhaps even more importantly, great leadership teams – must put organizational goals above personal gains and preferences. Seems simple, right? But oftentimes, it’s not – and it can mean the difference between a thriving organization and one that merely gets by.

In a team setting, it’s natural for leaders to want to be involved in and exert influence over every functional aspect of their organization… and sometimes beyond it. While this kind of proactivity sounds honorable, it can easily become the downfall of a team for two reasons. First, it’s simply not a viable and scalable method of leadership at the granular level. Second, it’s a way of operating that’s not built on the trust of downstream team members and doesn’t let others have a chance to grow. Leaders must set the example for the entire organization and that means letting go of their personal agendas and influence for the flourishing of the teams under them.

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The Turnover Conundrum: Is a Low Rate Actually Better?

The assumption has almost always been that the lower your turnover rate, the better. But is it? On the surface, it would make sense. If your employees are sticking around (especially in a world where the average Millennial changes jobs every 1-3 years), you might think that means that they’re engaged and happy. (Plus, you’re not taking on the added expense of replacing an employee, which costs around 30-50% of their annual salary.) But what if they’re not?

After all, according to Gallup research, only 33% of the U.S. workforce is engaged, a statistic that has remained constant since it was first reported in 2014. What if parts of your workforce are only sticking around because they think they’ve hit their maximum potential or they don’t think another company will put up with some of their bad behavior? And while the outlook has significantly improved since the Great Recession of 2008, the tough job market may still be fresh in the minds of your employees, causing some to stay in a job that makes them unhappy because they think it’s their only option. Many also feel that turnover is necessary to flow in new people and ideas, identify those who are complacent, and keep employees engaged. So, as a leader, how should you approach turnover?

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Are You at Risk for an Equal Pay Act Claim?

You may have seen the Equal Pay Act in the news quite a bit lately, with lawsuits filed recently against major companies including Google and Barclays. The claims alleged that both companies discriminated against female employees by paying them less than their male counterparts. Although both lawsuits were dismissed, they were potentially damaging to the companies’ reputation and morale, and of course the consequences could have been severe had the lawsuits gone the other way.

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