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In the field of Human Resources, there are a multitude of areas in which to spend time managing an HR department. To mention a few, you may be responsible for Benefits, Recruiting, Salary Administration and if you are lucky – Training. So many areas of concentration, yet so little time. As HR professionals, we are constantly in a quandary of where to allocate resources while keeping costs under control. To make this challenge even more exciting, the goal is always to find additional time to concentrate on the organization’s most important asset – its employees. We live in a world where there is a need to identify areas that will increase productivity and continually move towards meeting the strategic goals of the organization. The challenge is being able to adopt new solutions while working at capacity in an ever-changing environment. I believe one solution lies in the ability to build relationships and utilize outside services when possible. Some would say that outsourcing carries with it a less than positive stigma – if you have capable staff, outsourcing only adds additional costs to a department, which is already seen as a cost center. I contend outsourcing in the right situations can be just as valuable as your most productive employees. By utilizing external relationships appropriately and developing a cohesive understanding of what’s needed and value added, internal staff can dedicate more of their time to listening and fulfilling the needs of staff and using that information to direct the external resources most appropriately. In 2001 we recruited and hired 41 individuals to work for our credit union. As any one who’s done recruiting knows, you sift through a great deal of resumes and initial interviews before you find the right candidates that fit your culture. This effort took a full time commitment from our internal recruiter. In 2002 we decided to try something new. We enhanced an existing business partner relationship by “teaching” the company about our culture and expectations. When the consultants were ready, we outsourced to them the recruiting functions for both regular and temporary help. This outsource was not accomplished without extensive analysis to determine the cost versus benefit, or without the consideration of other alternatives. But in finding the relationship that fit, we found an opportunity to increase the amount of expert resources and maintain quality and control over the specific assignments. The result was a more thorough interview process, access to a pool of candidate resources and interviews with pre-screened candidates that were qualified for the position. The time saved for internal staff is used to manage those projects that previously were given little attention until they became critical. A similar approach was taken with our educational focus. Training and Education has been the backbone of San Mateo Credit Union’s quality assurance between members and employees for many years. While technology and Internet resources are available and on the rise, the right delivery system can make all the difference in the world. More and more employees seem to be entering the workforce with a wide range of skill levels and expertise, yet time and dedication to insure each person develops appropriately is a critical need for any organization. It is a task that deserves the attention of experts who are able to move the organization to the next level through employee development. With one full-time trainer on staff, the ability to meet all their needs is nearly impossible. Through the use of outsourcing fundamental and consistent portions of the training, the focus can now be turned to specialized training that is determined by communicating with the staff through out the organization. Creating win-win situations is the foundation of the Human Resource department. Maintaining win-win arrangements by maximizing internal and external resources is quickly becoming a foundation to our success.

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