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Small businesses are the backbone of the economy, employing about one-half of working people in the United States. Unlike their larger counterparts, small businesses often do not have the luxury of resources such as a separate human resources department that can handle duties such as hiring, training, payroll and employee wellness, all of which are important functions that help businesses of any size remain viable and competitive. The focus of human resources is people, and people are the most important asset in a successful business, be it small or large.

Those small businesses seeking human resource solutions can get the services they need to support employees by employing some creative strategies. The key is to look for outside resources that will perform some of the duties that a fully-staffed human resource department would usually handle. Outsourcing some human resource responsibilities such as payroll and benefits will ensure that employees are paid on time, and that they have access to the best benefits. One of the advantages of outsourcing certain human resource functions or contracting with professionals or other businesses, is that the business can save money on salaries and benefits.

There is also help available for hiring. In all states, there is a government agency that can accept applications, interview and refer candidates for jobs. Generally, this agency is called the Job Service or Employment Security Commission. These state-run offices have staff that can provide pre-employment testing and screening interviews to select the best candidates. Additionally, these agencies can administer pre-employment tests such as typing and other clerical tests as needed.

Another aspect of human resources that is important today is the employee wellness program. Insurance companies are increasingly in favor of health education programs in the workplace because they may reduce overall health care costs over time. Employee wellness programs include classes on healthy eating and the prevention of diabetes and other chronic diseases. Some employers provide in-house gyms or exercise programs since regular physical activity can help employees lose weight and lower their risk of chronic conditions. A good wellness program can be designed in partnership with a local health department or by contracting with a well professional in private practice.

Outside firms that specialize in background checks can check references and other important background information, including credit reports and criminal records. Payroll functions can also be outsourced to companies that specialize in this type of work.

Training is another area where outside assistance can be useful. However, this would be more appropriate for topics such as conflict management, safety and software training or similar subject matter. Specific training related to the business may best be delivered by in-house trainers.

In the current economy, small businesses must seek creative human resource solutions. Using a combination of in-house and outside resources can help a small business run like a larger one while keeping down costs.


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