Get Lean

What’s the hottest lean strategy for small to mid-size businesses today?

By: Connie Laughlin

Wise managers know efficient operations increase profitability! The term, “lean,” lends itself to eliminating waste and cost. But running “lean” is much more complex than going about slashing costs.

Quality should always be the end goal. Tweaking business processes is never just a one-time deal; it’s creating a new mindset striving for the best value for clientele, all the while maintaining high profitability.

The No. 1 most overlooked area of management in small to mid-size businesses (SMBs) is human resources (HR). HR encompasses not only who does payroll; it’s a complete strategic initiative, a robust multifaceted solution, for the success and manageability of your entire operation.

Too many SMBs are handling what they consider adequate “HR” in-house. In doing this, you’re paying more, you’re less efficient and you’re running too many risks. These people, including you, are 99.9 percent of the time not appropriately trained to oversee HR. In-house HR is not a lean strategy! HR is as crucial to success as any other area of your business.

Employment litigation is at an all-time high. Employee morale, which is directly related to productivity, can sour! Your employees, your most valuable asset, can become dysfunctional. Your worksite policies, employee handbook, work schedules, benefits, documentation, work environment and other employee-related activities might not be following current laws or be beneficial to profitability.

One proven solution is to outsource all employee administrative duties to a highly accredited professional employer organization (PEO). You’ll pay one entity to handle all HR activities, including payroll admin, safety, HR, workers’ compensation and benefits.

Access to a certified pro in HR is a necessity. This person will not only keep you out of legal trouble, they bring valuable tools to a SMB. Every small business must have a tailored employee handbook, effective safety programs, access to a wide range of employee training programs, an online payroll portal and highly developed risk management strategies.

Well-managed HR helps garner high morale, no matter the situation. Don’t forget: High morale equals added productivity and profitability. Creating these programs and processes internally takes too much time, and just like everything else, those programs and processes need continual tweaking. If you’re overseeing HR in-house, how do you know – with certainty – you’re doing it right? So don’t be wasteful with your time that’s better spent on core functions that produce revenue – outsource HR!

SMBs must construct lean strategic initiatives and implement solid HR programs beneficial to the organization. It’s imperative that all employees are on the same page. The key to this success comes from the most basic element of business: HR.

Connie Laughlin is a business consultant for UniqueHR. For more information on outsourcing your human resources to a PEO, you may contact her at 361-852-6392 or