Enabling Technology

Getting an HRO Education

When the store at the country’s No. 1 university needed help with compliance issues, it looked to outsourcing provider ADP for the answers.

by Toni Klein, HR Director, Princeton University Store

Imagine having the answers to all of your Human Resource (HR) questions right at your fingertips. As the HR director and sole HR employee at the Princeton University store (U-Store), I thought this wasn’t possible. With four locations served by 70 employees, there just wasn’t enough time in the day to research pressing issues.

I often spent mass amounts of time researching rules and regulations for our staff, along with up-to-date policies and document language. I couldn’t consult a lawyer every time I needed up-to-date information on the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or took action with an employee. The cost was too prohibitive. I had to assume full responsibility, making it difficult to always respond and resolve issues quickly. As soon as I felt like progress was being made, another issue would arise, and it would start all over again.

But five years ago, outsourcing provided the extra hand I needed. We signed on for ADP’s HR Help Desk, an offering that makes Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)-certified professionals available to provide HR advice and information as needed.

There were numerous times when I needed advice, guidance, and the administrative help of another expert. Even though the University Store was a small operation, we nevertheless still needed the same expertise and best practices to which larger businesses had access. Moreover, small or large, our operations still needed to remain compliant with all federal and state employment regulations.

The decision to outsource immediately expanded the capabilities of our HR department by taking us from a one-man show to providing limitless support. A key advantage of the Help Desk is the Online Resource Library that provides access to standard employment documents, including compliance information and federal forms.

For example, after attending a seminar hosted by local Princeton police on workplace violence, it was apparent that the Princeton U-Store needed a prevention policy in place. I called the Help Desk and immediately received a legal template on workplace violence. Within 24 hours, I was able to distribute the U-Store’s official policy.

We do not have a legal department on staff, and to use outside counsel costs us by the minute. Having access to federal and state legal documents, such as the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and employee warning documents, allowed me to forget about compliance concerns. I immediately know that I have the appropriate language in place.

Without having to spend time researching compliant language and writing policies, I was able to focus my time on more strategic initiatives. This helped me address employee issues in a more timely manner, improving the customer experience. I was also able to spend more face-to-face time with our workforce to show that HR was there to help them and is committed to the organization. This is an invaluable way for everyone to feel more assured about HR practices and policies.

Help Desk experts answer about 95 percent of my calls in less than two minutes, and my e-mail or online question submissions are usually answered in less than a half hour. I also find it very beneficial to get a second opinion from an unbiased source who doesn’t know the employees involved.

In the five years since outsourcing to ADP, I have never been disappointed. It provides an easy way to discuss resolutions for employment issues, develop policies, and conduct employee reviews with best-practice advice to help me make the right decisions.

I have also used the Help Desk as a learning tool, and the education has encouraged me to become SHRMcertified, a path I’m currently still pursuing.

While small and medium businesses (SMBs) remain cautious about end-to-end outsourcing, discrete services such as the Help Desk fill a gap in the services available. In essence, I have the expert knowledge that larger HR departments have access to without the overhead they incur.

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