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Leveraging the Expertise of HR Specialists: A Cost-Effective Strategy for Growing Businesses in New Zealand 

Navigating the employment journey as an employer and leader is a tough ride, filled with learnings, successes and let-downs.  No matter the size and scale, we all have our work stories.   

In New Zealand, there are approximately 546,000 ‘small’ businesses.  These are defined as having fewer than 20 employeesi. These businesses represent 97% of all organisations, account for 29.3% of employment market, and contribute over a quarter of New Zealand’s gross domestic product (GDP) ii. Additionally, medium-sized businesses, which have more than 20 employees but less than 100, also play a significant role in the economy iii. They provide jobs, contribute to local communities, and showcase New Zealand as a world-class place to live and do business. 

At Stapleton Consulting we have worked with approximately 150 different organisations, most of which are Small or Medium sized organisations.  We specialise in the growing organisation.  Why?  Because it is dynamic, fast-paced and filled with opportunities to enhance employee retention and your value proposition.  

Engaging an HR specialist or consultant to support you through this journey is an investment in your business.  My question for you is – do you spend the same amount on your employee relationships and workplace environment as you do on your marketing and customer relationships?  

Engaging an HR specialist offers a strategic solution that bridges an expertise gap in many organisations and proves to be highly cost-effective. This approach allows changing teams to understand and respond to their HR needs, without the strings that come with an employee, making it a financially savvy decision in today’s challenging economy. 

Tailored Cost Management 

The beauty of using HR consultants lies in their flexible engagement models. Businesses can engage HR services on an ‘on-demand’ basis or using an ‘integrated’ model with a pre-agreed amount of regular support per month or quarter. These models can offer the flexibility to scale up the HR support as your business grows or complex issues arise, such as a reorganisation or personal grievance matter.  

This flexibility enables business leaders to balance their financial commitments and engage the expertise needed proactively, without the associated full-time salaries, benefits, and other related employment expenses. For a business with less than 100 employees, this means substantial savings and the ability to direct funds toward other areas that directly contribute to business growth and profitability. 

Access to Specialised Expertise 

Smaller businesses often face unique challenges that require specialist knowledge, particularly in HR. From navigating New Zealand’s intricate employment legislation to implementing effective employee engagement strategies, HR consultants bring targeted expertise and best practices from various sectors. This level of professional advice ensures that even the smallest teams are organised and led according to best practice, enhancing efficiency, and reducing costly employee turnover. 

Focus on Core Business Goals 

With an HR specialist handling the intricacies of employee challenges (or opportunities), business leaders can focus their efforts on core business activities that drive revenue and growth. Our specialists can handle everything from creating and maintaining policies to performance management and recruitment, freeing up valuable time for business leaders and senior managers. This shift in focus can be particularly transformative for smaller teams with less than 40 employees, where owners and senior managers often wear multiple hats. 

Mitigating Risks Efficiently 

The risk of non-compliance with employment relations legislation can lead to costly financial penalties, which can be detrimental to the cash flow of growing businesses. At Stapleton Consulting, our team attends the regular HRNZ updates and maintains close relationships with several employment lawyers to stay current with legislation and changes in employment case law.  We also seek to understand your workplace practices and culture.  

You can be confident that our advice is well-informed, reflects best practice, and considers your workplace culture. This proactive approach significantly mitigates compliance risks and helps to protect the business from potential personal grievances and legal disputes that can seriously eat away at your margins and valuable time and energy. 

Scalable Solutions for Growing Teams 

For businesses wanting to scale, the ability to adapt HR strategies to accommodate growing teams is crucial. HR consultants can design scalable systems and initiatives for performance management, pay, benefits, and employee development that grow with your team. This scalability is particularly crucial for organisations transitioning from 20-something employees to 30 or 40 employees or from 60 employees to 80 employees or more.  

Consistent investment in your HR systems is foundational to sustainable growth.  When your business is ready for internal HR support, the transition is much smoother and cost-effective because the framework is there, and the heavy lifting is already done. All too often, our team is hired to work with businesses that have systems that are no longer fit for purpose, and growth must be halted while the employment practices are brought up to date.    

Even if you have internal HR support, our expertise can still be used to mentor and guide at all levels, provide input into your people strategy, or provide objective specialist support in a time of crisis or serious incident. It is entirely scalable.  

Protecting your ‘People’ Assets 

For any business, its people are simultaneously its greatest asset, risk, and cost. This dynamic underscores the complex value of employees, who are crucial for driving performance and innovation but also represent significant investment and potential liability.  When cash flow is tight, and the teams are small, business leaders can feel this acutely.  People-related expenses can dominate the budget, and the impact of HR issues can be more pronounced and direct.  

Reliable HR Consultants have the expertise to recruit the best talent for your business and ensure your employee agreements, job descriptions and policies all work comprehensively to give these employees the greatest chance of success.  Additionally, they can offer invaluable advice on specific training needs, team culture, team structure, and people strategy and will turn your team into a driving force for business growth and innovation. 

Working with HR consultants is a strategic, cost-effective decision for growing businesses.  It allows for financial flexibility, access to specialist knowledge, a focused approach to core business operations, risk mitigation, and scalability. By investing in a professional relationship with a trusted HR consultancy, small businesses not only ensure a strategic allocation of their time and budget, they can also transform their workforce into a well-oiled machine that accelerates their business objectives, truly harnessing the full potential of their greatest asset… their people. 

i Business size categories in New Zealand

ii Small business | Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment.

Listing | Small Business Directory NZ | New Zealand Business Directory.

Small and Medium Businesses in New Zealand – Ministry of Business

iii Supporting SMEs | New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.