The payroll and benefits mode of operation within the auto dealership segment has predominately been likened to slightly melted Neapolitan ice cream. The accounting and Human Resource (HR) responsibilities are ever so slightly defined and oftentimes jumbled together among departments. Accounting may handle some HR functions, and HR may handle some payroll functions. In many cases, the absence of an HR department makes the accounting team responsible for everything! The numbers person is now the people person!
Here is a 3-point systems inspection that breaks down 3 key actions that are critical for effectively operating with an undefined, or not yet developed, HR department.
Maintain a lean budget
The compensation model varies from broker to broker. There are fee-based models, per-employee-per-month flat dollar fees, carrier bonuses, and third party percentage agreements. The fees may or may not be disclosed to the company – but they SHOULD! Analyze what your arrangement is, and understand the services you are receiving in exchange.
Rev up your departments
Delegating certain functions is extremely important when running a finely tuned dealership, and outlining a plan to eventually outsource these is key. Basic outsourced functions include filtering employee questions, developing employee orientation materials, hosting compliance seminars, and reviewing plan documents. These mentioned tasks can consume 25% – 60% of an HR person’s day. Brokers have carrier shortcuts to reaching internal contacts that can help resolve issues in a more expedient manner. Leverage them!
Install convenience and accessibility
One of the most important features of maintaining employee morale is to treat your employees like your customers. With HR departments also playing the role of Public Relations (PR) Manager, the lack of an HR Manager also means the lack of a PR department. Customer service enhancements to your employees and their family members are typically handled by the broker. Enhancements include:
- Benefits service line for both employees and family members to answer coverage questions
- Educational sessions that train employees on medical and prescription cost comparison tools
- In-person new hire orientation meetings
- Preparation of benefit materials
- Online enrollment system training to elect benefits online, 24/7
Know your situation. Understand your options. Act with speed.