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For SMB Human Resources Departments, It’s All About Access to More


Burton M. Goldfield

President and Chief Executive Officer, TriNet

Small and medium size businesses, or SMBs, are defined as organizations with fewer than 500 employees, and are the backbone of America’s economy, making up 98 percent of U.S. businesses and 48 percent of all U.S. employees. For these businesses, technology can be both a differentiator and an obstacle to success.

That’s especially true within the human resources department, where staff must track benefits of different types from different sources, process payroll and workers’ compensation packages, and implement performance management. And for a SMB, where human resources staff is often a one or two-person department, deploying the right technology to handle all the aspects of the human resources function is critical.

However, too often, the technology platforms available to SMBs are a one-size-fits-all product, ignoring the defined needs found in different industry verticals as well as in individual organizations. What companies want is a human resources solution that does more. One that is industry-specific and addresses their organization’s unique needs.

TriNet is that human resources partner to approximately 16,000 companies, recognizing that each vertical in those companies has a slightly different need. “We service a wide-range of industries with custom solutions for each one, including tech, life science, hospitality and retail, nonprofits and more,” says Burton M. Goldfield, TriNet’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

The Vertical Differentiator

Offering the right HR product is only part of the solution. “To be a true business partner, you have to understand a customer’s business and the ecosystem that surrounds their business,” Goldfield explains. “It’s also important to understand the trends happening within each individual vertical.”

“We see clearly that business priorities diverge based on the verticals that we serve,” Goldfield adds. “For example, the HR needs of a technology company, whose employees may mostly be salaried, are different than those of a restaurant or hotel, whose staff is often made up of hourly workers. A human resources solution has to be able to adapt to those differences.”

While individual business owners may face different challenges, they all have some aspects that overlap. For instance, workers’ compensation capabilities. The ability to have safety experts on-site is relevant in a restaurant or light manufacturing facility, but less relevant in tech or finance verticals. On the other hand, technology and science companies need to handle H-1B visas that aren’t common in nonprofit organizations. The human resource solution should be able to adjust to each specific situation.

Importance of Mobility

Companies increasingly rely on mobile services to increase productivity and efficiency. Their employees also want mobile services to make their lives easier. But again, mobile offerings are going to mean different things to different verticals. Also, adoption rates of mobile technology vary between industries, so the human resources solution and partner must be ready to adapt to what the customer wants, when they want it.

“Fewer people are going to the website, while more are going to the iPhone app,” says Goldfield. “Users want a mobile option that allows them to update their personal information, access medical cards, request time off and other tasks they can do on a website. And they want to be able to see that information in real time.”

“The more information we can present that’s consumable, the happier the employees will be,” adds Goldfield. “That improves culture and retention for our clients.”

Future of the Economy

SMBs play an important role in our nation’s economy, with nearly half of all workers employed by a smaller business. They provide much of the innovation driving American businesses, as well. That’s why it is necessary for human resources solutions to keep current with the trends in technology and in employee benefits.

Sue Poremba, [email protected]

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