Smart outsourcing Featured

5:49am EDT June 30, 2003
When the company Dwight Smith started grew to 50 employees, he decided it was time to outsource its human resources function.

"We had a person in-house performing the work but it was getting to be too much," says Smith, president and CEO of Sophisticated Systems Inc.

Once you have more than 50 employees, there are more regulations and government reporting, says Smith. His firm, which specializes in helping clients develop information systems, grew quickly, and he felt it needed to outsource the HR function with a firm that had expertise in many areas.

"We were struggling to keep up with the day-to-day stuff, much less keep up with constantly changing rules and regulations," Smith says.

Smith interviewed three companies that provide the services he was looking for, and selected Sequent Inc.

"It's important to choose a company that listens to your needs and develops solutions customized to your needs," says Smith. "The other companies we talked to did not offer to do that."

Smith says outsourcing has been a cost-effective way to handle the HR work.

"We have always gotten a return on our investment," Smith says. "Not only did they handle the work, but they have been proactive in helping us in other areas, like leadership development."

Smith says Sequent also helped the company improve the communication of its mission to employees.

Today the company has 90 full-time and up to 60 contract employees. And Smith worked so well with the Sequent employee assigned to handle day-to-day human resource duties for the company that he hired her as a full-time employee of his company.

But Sophisticated Systems still outsources many functions to Sequent -- what Smith calls second-level support -- including hiring executives and developing their compensation plans.

"Executive compensation can be hard to figure out on your own," Smith says. "We recently went through an extensive search and interview process to hire a chief operating officer. Sequent was involved in the interview process."

Outsourcing the HR function with the right company can have long-term positive effects, says Smith.

"We have grown to lean on their expertise," Smith says. "They have become an outside, objective partner." How to reach: Sophisticated Systems Inc., (614) 418-4600 or www.ssicom.com