What to Expect When You Work with an Outsourced HR Director

Managing HR functions effectively is a significant challenge for many small to mid-sized businesses. The demands of compliance, talent acquisition, employee engagement and strategic planning can overwhelm even the most dedicated in-house HR teams.

To succeed in these essential tasks, strategic HR leadership is crucial. Yet not every organization can afford a full-time chief human resources officer (CHRO) or equivalent HR leader. In these instances, outsourcing HR leadership is often a cost-effective and strategic solution.

Let’s explore the role and value of an outsourced HR director, what you can expect when working with one, and how to maximize the impact of this relationship.

What is Fractional HR Leadership?

A fractional HR leader is an HR executive who leads the team on a part-time or as-needed basis. They might be referred to in several different ways: fractional HR director, fractional CHRO or even outsourced HR director. In any case, this person acts as an extension of your leadership team and brings external HR expertise into your organization. The model is similar in many ways to other outsourced or fractional leadership roles, such as outsourced CFOs.

A fractional HR director acts as a partner across many different HR disciplines. The best fractional HR executives have served as a strategic leader for a wide variety of companies across various industries and will infuse this experience into their approach to serving your business.

This outsourced HR leadership model tends to be both flexible and scalable. This enables organizations to access expertise as needed, whether that’s executive-level consulting for a few hours a week or more intensive support during critical periods of growth or change.

As such, working with an outsourced HR director can be especially valuable for businesses that need expert HR leadership but cannot justify the expense of a full-time executive. It’s also a viable solution for growing companies that need to quickly educate and upskill their current in-house leadership without bringing in new executives on a permanent basis.

For example, a small business with a junior HR team can benefit from the strategic guidance of an outsourced HR director; this person can provide leadership and direction while the in-house team handles routine tasks. This approach ensures that the business receives the necessary HR expertise without overextending its budget.

By partnering with a reputable HR provider like James Moore HR Solutions, you can tap into extensive experience and knowledge, ensuring your business stays ahead of HR trends and best practices.

What to Expect When Working with an Outsourced HR Director

Skilled fractional HR leaders bring a wide range of skills to every engagement, blending strategic HR intellect with an ability to execute on complex human resources initiatives. Their role encompasses a wide range of HR functions, providing expertise and guidance tailored to your organization’s unique needs.

Expertise and Strategic Guidance

One of the primary benefits of working with an outsourced HR director is their extensive experience in handling a broad range of HR situations and challenges. They bring an objective perspective, offering strategic insights that can help your organization navigate HR issues. Whether your business is facing compliance challenges, having trouble with talent acquisition or needs to improve employee engagement, an experienced outsourced leader has likely encountered similar hurdles before and can provide proven solutions.

Another critical aspect of a fractional HR leader’s role is ensuring your business stays abreast of any human resources trends and best practices. An outsourced HR director continuously monitors the evolving HR landscape, ensuring your organization remains compliant with regulations and adopts the latest strategies to enhance workforce productivity and satisfaction.

Day-to-Day Responsibilities

The day-to-day responsibilities of a fractional HR leader can vary significantly depending on the scope of the relationship. Their work is typically focused on a company’s strategic needs and priorities.

Key priority areas might include:

  • Employee relations: Handling tricky employee relations issues and making decisions regarding employee management is never easy. Proven HR leaders can help your business navigate difficult employee interactions and provide guidance on disciplinary actions and conflict resolution.
  • Policy development and compliance audits: An outsourced CHRO can also help your business develop and update its HR policies and procedures to ensure compliance with legal requirements. They may also conduct compliance audits to identify areas for improvement and create strategic roadmaps to address these issues.
  • Succession planning and organizational development: Succession planning strategies are key to the long-term strength of any organization, ensuring the company produces a pipeline of future leaders. The guidance of an outsourced HR director on organizational development matters can significantly enhance overall business performance.
  • Leadership training and development: Outsourced HR professionals also provide leadership training and facilitate development programs that equip managerial-level employees with the skills needed for their roles as leaders within the organization. This is particularly important for individuals promoted to new positions without prior training.

Because fractional HR leaders spend limited hours each week within one organization, they typically prioritize high-level strategic initiatives. Administrative tasks, such as payroll, are typically handled by in-house staff or may be outsourced through a full-service HR provider or co-employer. If these day-to-day services are outsourced, a fractional HR leader can typically collaborate with them or provide strategic guidance as needed while focusing the majority of their time on more important strategic issues.

Maximizing the Impact of an Outsourced HR Director

To get the most out of your relationship with an outsourced HR director, proactive communication and early involvement are crucial. Engaging with your fractional leader before problems arise enables them to identify and prevent potential issues and create strategies to mitigate future problems.

To foster an effective and collaborative relationship with your outsourced HR director, transparency and openness in sharing pain points and goals are crucial. Your outsourced HR leader is there to support and guide you, not to judge you. Although it may be uncomfortable, being truthful about your challenges and objectives enables them to provide the best possible support to your team.

In fact, because they’re not fully embedded in your organization, the objective perspective of a fractional HR leader can be invaluable in addressing tough issues. They can offer objective insights and recommendations without the internal biases that may affect in-house staff. This is particularly useful in making difficult decisions that impact the organization as a whole.

Effective collaboration strategies include regular check-ins, shared project management tools and open feedback loops. These practices ensure that both parties are aligned and working towards common goals. Additionally, the outsourced HR leader can provide ongoing guidance, coaching and support to in-house HR staff, helping them develop their skills and capabilities.

Empower Your HR with Outsourced HR Leadership from James Moore

Working with an outsourced HR leader offers numerous benefits like strategic guidance, cost-effectiveness and access to high-level expertise. A reputable partner like James Moore HR Solutions can offer businesses the seasoned HR experience and knowledge to drive healthy success and growth.

If you’re a business leader looking to enhance your HR functions without the financial burden of a full-time CHRO, consider exploring the option of outsourcing HR leadership. Contact James Moore HR Solutions today to learn more about how our outsourced HR leadership services can benefit your organization.


All content provided in this article is for informational purposes only. Matters discussed in this article are subject to change. For up-to-date information on this subject please contact a James Moore professionalJames Moore will not be held responsible for any claim, loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of any information within these pages or any information accessed through this site.