With the deluge of regulations, staffing challenges and policy changes that have faced small businesses over the past year, many businesses have needed a human resources professional in a way that they never did in the past. And yet most small businesses don’t employ an HR staff person — let alone department — inhouse.
That’s where HR2Fit comes in. The company, with offices in Tilton and in Walpole, Massachusetts, offers outsourced HR services to companies throughout NH and Massachusetts, even before the pandemic. Since coronavirus hit, demand for their services has grown almost 20%.
“HR has become more necessary for small businesses,” said Amy Jones, a business consultant for HR2Fit. “They need more guidance.”
There’s the day-to-day logistics of HR, like finding and onboarding new employees, settling employee disputes, overseeing leave, providing ongoing training and more. But the pandemic has also presented a new demand for updated policies. In some cases, that was as simple as making sure that businesses had an updated handbook that reflected their COVID work from home policies.
In other cases, it was more complex. HR2Fit works with many dental practices, for example. As health care providers, they needed to be sure they were up to date on the ever-changing best practices.
“Now there’s so many different federal and state guidelines,” Jones said. The consultants at HR2Fit began working with businesses to understand and implement policies that reflect the new reality.
“As new requirements come out at the state and federal, it’s our job to help those businesses draft policies,” Jones said.
After months of figuring out how to help businesses keep as many employees as possible working, Jones has seen a shift recently to more companies hiring.
“We’re incredibly busy with recruiting right now, bringing in as many new staff members as possible so [our client businesses] can keep thriving,” Jones said.
Like most interactions with clients, hiring is now done remotely. Jones and her colleagues have had to focus on building connection with their clients when almost everything takes place online.
“It’s challenging trying to maintain the same level of relationship building when you’re not in person,” she said. “Things can feel very impersonal. You have to work much harder to be a good communicator.”
To combat that, Jones has built a bit of extra time into the meetings that she schedules.
“When you’re in person and you have a meeting, there’s always time to talk before or after. Now, online, things are very scheduled and very formal,” she said. “With any of the trainings or meetings we do remotely, we try to learn as much about the clients as we can ahead of time. It’s important to still get to know the people.”
Most of the clients that Jones works with have been willing to embrace the changes from the past year.
“Change has become normal for business. They’re able and willing to adapt as needed,” Jones said. “Whether they’ve had to scale down or grow, we’re adapting with them.”
This story is part of the 50 Businesses, 50 Solutions series, shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative, that aims to highlight how business leaders across the state, from mom and pop shops, to large corporations have adapted to meet the challenges and disruptions caused by the novel coronavirus in the hopes others may be able to replicate these ideas and innovations. Tell us your story here. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.