Firms slow to rebuild HR staffs |

Firms slow to rebuild HR staffs

Anne Knowles

Businesses that cut human resources staff as part of downsizing during the recession don’t appear to be rushing to reconstitute their HR departments.

One reason is complexity of some HR functions. Benefits management, for example, has become so complicated due to the Affordable Care Act and other changes that companies are either having trouble finding personnel versed in it or are satisfied outsourcing it to consultants.

“One of the driving factors is healthcare reform. Businesses want to provide healthcare but don’t have the expertise to navigate it,” says Diana Albiniano, director of operations and a partner in Solutions at Work, a Reno-based HR consultant. “I’ve seen a lot more law changes in last five to 10 years than in all my career. It’s getting more and more complicated and that’s what drives them to outsource.”

Phyllis Hartman, a member of the ethics panel at the Society for Human Resource Management, the national HR association in Alexandria, Va., says she has seen an uptick in local job advertisements for HR professionals.

“But I also see a trend of not giving some of the outsourced work,” says Hartman, founder and president, PGHR Consulting Inc. in Ingomar, Pa. “Like benefits management, payroll.”

Hartman says many companies are also continuing to use outside recruiting help, especially for hard-to-find professionals such as engineers.

Businesses also continue to use staffing agencies, both to fill temporary positions and to full permanent jobs in a practice the industry calls temp-to-perm, or hiring agency-provided temp workers for permanent spots after a sort of trial period.

“Human resources took a hit during the recession and companies are using staffing agencies as a place to find employees,” says Joe Locurto, a business development manager in the Carson City office of Spherion, a staffing agency that supplies a range of workers.

Brad Stewart, area director for ProLogistix/Personnel One, a staffing firm focused on the logistics industry, says business is booming, partly due to recently relocated new clients but also to overall growth.

“Our business is up 20 percent, year to date, compared to last year,” says Stewart, who is also president-elect of Northern Nevada Human Resources Association, the local SHRM affiliate. “Usually our business is weighted towards second half of year. But we’re seeing companies use (staffing agencies) in a strategic manner instead of just of just reactive manner.”

NNHRA has also seen a 25 percent jump in its membership so far this year and now has 397 members, according to Teresa Gonzales, vice president of membership for the Northern Nevada Human Resources Association and human resources manager at Innotrac Corp., a Reno global fulfilment company.

In a surprising twist, HR pros are the fastest growing segment of temporary workers in the mid-to-high salary range.

Temp jobs for human resources specialists will grow 4 percent this year, from 61,642 jobs in 2013 to 64,049 positions in 2014, according to CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists International.

Some of those can expect to be hired full time, based on a CareerBuilder and Harris Poll, which found that two in five employers who use temp workers plan to transition some into permanent staff.


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