Small businesses are increasingly using specialist partners to support them.

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With pressure on costs HR resources are often stretched, which has lead to a growing trend to use specialist outsourcers to support businesses.
Increased emphasis is being placed on company culture, values and employee engagement alongside ever changing and more complex legislation. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) should be considering investing in the field of people management.
This is especially important for business growth.


It can be difficult to justify the need to invest in a HR solution for your business, especially if you employ a small number of staff or haven’t experienced problems in the past. However, there are some indicators as to when it’s time to invest in HR.

Your business is growing

Your business is doing well and has started to grow. Managing your HR requirements alongside the growth of your business will help ensure you make the right decisions to continue its growth.  You will need to take a more formal approach, ensure that you have the right structure and support in place with access to the necessary HR documentation including formal policies and procedures.

Pressure on productivity of your staff

As your business grows more pressure will be placed on your staff to produce more. This is a signal that you should start to recruit more staff to help manage demand. This indicates a greater need for HR management. You will need to develop a recruitment process, induction and ensure all necessary paperwork is complete as more people join your company.

You want to ensure you’re compliant

Many SMEs don’t fully understand what is required of them by law. You don’t want to unexpectedly put your business at risk of an employment tribunal claim, which can be very costly.  In July 2017 employment tribunal fees were removed, leading to a 165% increase in tribunals in 2018. This trend shows no sign of slowing. This means everyone is at risk of being taken to tribunal. If you’re not compliant and haven’t taken the necessary advice, there’s a much greater risk of losing.

Employment law is changing

Employment legislation is always changing, which makes it difficult to stay up to date and remain compliant.

HR’s role is changing

Alongside this, the face of HR is becoming more demanding. Subjects, such as mental health are becoming more prevalent, along with a greater focus on company loyalty and employee benefits. This can make it difficult for small businesses to compete with larger organisations to attract and retain talent, which is where effective HR management is necessary.


Once you’ve decided you need to invest in a HR solution for your business, you need to decide whether to keep the function in-house or look to outsource it. There are several factors to consider when making this decision.

Do you already have the expertise in-house?

Is there an experienced HR professional, who not only has the expertise but time to manage your HR needs? If you do, you could give that individual access to HR consultancy which will enable them to concentrate on their main responsibilities and develop confidence to be able to deal with challenging people issues when they arise.

How much will it cost?

As confirmed by Glassdoor, the average salary for a HR professional is £30,000. This is a lot higher than the cost of outsourcing for the same solution. The salary of someone with the expertise you receive from outsourcing HR will be a lot higher than the figure stated above.

Who will cover holiday/sickness?

Every employee is entitled to holiday and will have periods of sickness, even those who work in HR! If you’re reliant on one person to manage your HR needs, who will manage this when they aren’t working? If you outsource, you will always be covered and not dependant on one person.

When making a decision to hire or outsource your HR solution, it’s important to note that some HR management mistakes will not only hurt employee loyalty but can lead to tribunal awards and damage your Company’s reputation.

If you trust your HR responsibilities to an employee who deals with them part-time or doesn’t have enough experience, it can be very costly.

A solution which is both cost and expertise effective is to look at outside sources whether you have someone appointed internally or not.

Free Consultation

We can arrange for one of our experienced advisors to talk to you to assess any gaps you have in your HR. 
This is a free and confidential conversation



The main benefit for many SMEs when outsourcing their HR management is the money they save, compared to employing someone in-house.

The difference when comparing the salary of a HR professional to the cost of outsourcing HR can have a big impact on a business’ bottom line.


Access to
HR expertise

When outsourcing anything, you gain access to experienced HR professionals who have a vast amount of expertise and knowledge. This expertise isn’t something many SMEs will have access to in-house, unless they employ a HR manager for a high salary.

Often small businesses will combine HR responsibilities with other roles in the business, meaning that it may not get the focus required, or the person performing the role may not necessarily have the right experience.


Control risk & improve compliance

Employment legislation is always changing, which makes it difficult for many organisations to ensure they’re up to date and compliant. This risk can be reduced through outsourcing as the provider will have processes in place to ensure they keep you and your business up to date.
The greatest risk is that failure to remain compliant can come with a serious cost to the business. This risk is reduced by outsourcing HR management to a trusted provider to help you understand what is required to comply with employment legislation and taking action to improve

Improve your HR knowledge

As you start to work with a HR consultant, you can learn from the advice and guidance given to develop your own knowledge, skill and experience.
Many HR outsourcing providers will offer training for you and your managers to develop these skills. This can be particularly valuable when managers are developing and will ensure that you’re able to remain compliant.

Focus on
your business

Getting advice and support to manage people issues on a day to day basis will give you the time to do what you do best: run your business.
The use of HR professionals will generate greater efficiency and help you and your managers spend less time on paperwork and more time on generating effectiveness in your workplace.


Support growth in your business

Having an experienced HR professional on hand will allow you to combat any issues you may face as you grow.

You can receive advice on recruitment, employee relation matters and many more areas to ensure you have the necessary tools and people to grow your business to where it needs to be.



There is no timeframe on when urgent advice may be needed.
Will they take the time to get to know your business objectives and how you operate?
What’s their heritage? What breadth of services can they assist you with?
Someone who you will deal with every time you contact the company. This can save time in not having to repeat your query to multiple people. Having a dedicated consultant ensures you receive consistent, tailored advice, based on the knowledge they have of your business and what you want to achieve.
Will they be able to meet your needs, or do you require more support? It’s important to match your needs to the service provided.
It’s important to know all your options including commercial advice which you can put into practice if you wish, rather than simply knowing what is always the best practice approach.
Will you receive newsletters/email alerts with important updates or cases for you to be aware of?
In certain situations, onsite consultancy support can be invaluable.
When you really feel out of your depth with complex grievances, disciplinary situations etc.
Are the consultants you’re working with qualified and experienced in your industry?
Can they provide good case studies or testimonials from clients to demonstrate their service?
Read the small print to understand what is included in your subscription.
This should include letters, contracts, HR forms, employee handbooks or factsheets/guides.

How outsourcing to Alcumus PSM helped some SMEs with their HR management


"As a small company, it’s a really cost-effective and time efficient way of operating. We have a dedicated consultant who knows how our business works and the issues we’re facing. The fact that I can call them at any point and receive expert advice to help with any issues we have is invaluable.”


Noel Baker, Managing Director, Craven & Co Ltd

“Alcumus PSM keep us up to date with health and safety and employment law, and ensure that NTG is a safe and well-run organisation who treat all staff fairly and respectfully."

Mark Withycombe, NTG Precision Engineers

“Alcumus PSM act as a 4th emergency service for us, advising on ad-hoc HR matters and supporting us through any HR issues which may arise, such as disciplinaries and grievances.”

Chris Soley, Director and General Manager, Camerons Brewery Limited


Free Consultation

We can arrange for one of our experienced advisors to talk to you to assess any gaps you have in your HR. 
This is a free and confidential conversation


Alcumus PSM (People & Safety Management) specialises in human resources (HR) and health and safety (H&S) consulting for SMEs.

Our HR, employment law and health and safety experts have been helping SMEs to be safer, healthier and stronger for over 28 years. We deliver affordable, knowledgeable and practical advice that is cost-effective, time-saving and helps to mitigate risk while staying compliant.

Our HR services for SME’s allow you to get on with growing your business while we keep you compliant and up to date with HR best practice and legislation.
Find out how we can help you:

T: 01484 439930

Request a free consultation

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