Human resources was seen as “women’s work.”
Pacifying workers with raging emotions, managing delicate issues like health and holidays, and training new hires with a gentle touch all require professional and personal qualities thought to be most often found with the “fairer sex.”
At large businesses, HR departments could be as much as 80% women, employing the vast majority of a company's female workforce, with nearly 49% of HR officers being women.
But today, as women are increasingly becoming qualified for skilled positions in STEM and are looking for better paying positions in business management, HR departments are getting the cold shoulder. Many businesses are struggling to find qualified HR professionals to manage their workforce.
A solution that businesses of nearly any size can consider: Outsourcing.
To do so, a business transfers HR functions to a third party in exchange for regular payments. Businesses can typically pick and choose which services to retain in-house and which to relegate to an external provider. Often, organizations retain a few HR staff members on-hand to sort out immediately pressing issues, while they give away big-picture, impersonal tasks.
There are some obvious benefits to outsourcing HR. A fully functioning HR department requires office space and devices, not to mention salaries and benefits for individual workers. Comparatively, the monthly charge for outsourced HR is modest.
Third-party HR firms tend to be more efficient, with highly trained staff and appropriate technology to handle HR functions, whereas businesses can rarely devote so many resources to a supportive department.
Finally, HR providers find it easier to stay up-to-date on regulations and laws, so businesses that outsource can avoid more risk.
Types of HR-service Providers
Instead of hiring employees to monitor HR tasks, businesses can transfer some responsibilities to software. Understandably, not all HR duties can be relegated to software; payroll and talent management applications are most common, and usually one or more workers must oversee the software.
Business process outsourcing (BPO)
An organization can contract a single HR service from a provider. Most often, benefits administration - an incredibly intricate issue - is outsourced with a BPO arrangement.
Professional employer organization (PEO)
Providing a full suite of HR services, PEOs are the best choice for businesses looking to outsource as much HR as possible. PEOs are considered co-employers; thus, PEO services are extensive, including taxes, payroll, benefits, hiring practices, and more.
Attracting Men to HR
There is a historical basis for women dominating the HR field. In the late 19th century, women founded welfare societies to support their husbands, who were working in dangerous positions in mills, mines, and factories. As the government stepped in to protect workers’ rights, these societies pivoted into a mixture of administration and strategic planning: helping organizations find and retain the best employees. Still, because the job typically lacked hard skills, women were given these roles throughout the 20th century.
Diverse HR teams are more effective.
However, just as studies show that C-suites with gender and racial diversity are stronger than their peers, today’s HRM teams should be made up of workers with different backgrounds and perspectives to be effective. HR doesn’t have a minor role in business; cultivating and keeping top talent is rapidly becoming a crucial goal to keep businesses competitive. Without a competent and diverse team, HR has greater difficulty in managing its vital tasks.
But as women seek out different roles in organizations, they are leaving gaps that men are loath to fill. Most experts believe it is not a lack of pay—top human resources jobs earn a median six figures—but rather unfamiliarity with HR’s true responsibilities. Will Davies, the HR director at Ordnance Survey, believes that to boost the chances of more men entering HR, businesses will have to do their best to “paint a more compelling picture of what we do, and the outcomes we’re looking to achieve.”
In truth, there is little counseling and quite a lot of analytics associated with HR’s day-to-day operations, and emphasizing these aspects might bring in more men and strengthen HR teams for the future. Until then, outsourcing is an affordable and convenient way to ensure high-quality HR services.