Human resources services administer a company’s employee policies, compensation plans, and benefits such as vacation time and health insurance. They may also evaluate management performance and oversee employee relations. Traditionally, human resources (HR) was an in-house department in charge of activities such as recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and training. HR departments also managed employee compensation, measured performance, and managed employee records and personnel policies. In recent decades, businesses have begun to outsource HR functions to human resources services in order to reduce expenses. Hiring a human resource consultant can help a business to implement new policies in response to changing legislation or regulations, master new business processes and technologies, improve responsiveness to employee needs, and scale HR functions as the company grows.
Human resources services can perform some or all of a company’s HR activities. For example, a payroll service provider may handle the disbursement of paychecks via direct deposit while a labor negotiator meets with a labor union to negotiate contracts. Other activities that human resources services perform include the management of health care plans and retirement accounts. A health care administrator can negotiate plans with insurance companies and answer employee questions. A retirement plan administrator can help a business meet the regulatory requirements of maintaining a 401(k) retirement plan. Recruiting consultants help businesses identify, hire and retain key management personnel such a chief executive officer (CEO) or chief financial officer (CFO).
Human resources services are located across North America and around the world. They range in size from small, regional consulting firms with a handful of employees to international organizations with thousands of consultants. There are several certifications for human resources services. The Human Resources Certification Institute offers two certifications: Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). The National Association of Personnel Services also provides two certifications: Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC) and Certified Temporary-Staffing Specialist (CTS).