Does your business need an internal or external HR team?

Deciding whether you need an internal or external HR team can be confusing. 

Which is better? Which best suits your business? Do you need both?

To make it easier to decide, let’s look at all of your options.

Benefits of internal HR 

Internal HR doesn’t just refer to a full HR team or one full-time HR staff member – this also applies to the person responsible for HR in your business.

So, what are the benefits?



  1. You know your people

You know:

  • Their personalities 
  • Their experience
  • Their skills
  • Their likes and dislikes
  • Their work history
  • Who works well together
  • Any potential issues in the past

An external HR professional can quickly get up to speed with all of this (using character profiling techniques such as Myers Briggs), but you’ll know all the above information first-hand already.  



  • You know the nuances of your business

Every industry is different. And every business within each industry is different too.

Think about a restaurant kitchen. Tom Kerridge (TV personality and owner of Hand and Flowers) describes chefs as ‘pirates’.

Some of the behaviour that takes place in kitchens is ‘just how things are’ in that world. But they wouldn’t be appropriate however in a car insurance call centre. 

You know the nuances of all of your business, meaning you can make faster and more informed decisions.



  • You’ll have some presence on the senior team

At least, you should. 

With HR on the senior team, you’re putting your people at the heart of your business. 

This means you can help make sure you’re building a happy, safe and productive work environment where people feel free to:

  • Share ideas
  • Make mistakes
  • Ask questions

Building a creative team is essential for your long-term success, and being on the senior team makes this a lot more likely.



Benefits of an external HR team

Not every business needs an internal HR team. There are many benefits to outsourcing it:



  1. Free up your time

If you currently have a staff member who is responsible for HR (but isn’t a full-time HR), the chances are they aren’t 100% sure what they’re doing and they probably don’t enjoy it. 

I bet they have other jobs they’d much rather be doing. 

(It’s fine to admit you don’t like doing HR tasks, by the way. I won’t take it personally).

If you outsource HR, all these jobs are taken off your hands. This lets everyone in your team stick to what they do best (and enjoy).



  • Add capacity for things beyond the day to day

Likewise, if you have someone responsible for HR in your team (but it’s not their primary role), the chances are they’re doing just enough day-to-day tasks to keep things running. 

This means there are important (but non-essential) tasks being neglected. These tasks are sometimes what can make the difference between having a happy and productive team instead of a team that (too slowly for you to recognize) is becoming unhappy. 

Getting these tasks done (and done properly) builds positive momentum in your business. 

When I help businesses with conflict resolutions, the problems usually would have been avoidable should things have been taken care of six months prior. Neglecting these important (but non-essential) tasks can be very costly. 



  • People can listen more

Rightly or wrongly, an external HR person is usually considered more of an expert than an internal team. 

Having an external HR consultant can also create an ‘us v them’ scenario. Instead of you being the ‘them’, your team accept you as part of the team (despite being in a senior position).

This means you can be more objective and staff find it easier to confide in you – improving your relationship with them. 


  • It’s cheaper

Instead of paying for a full-time staff member, you pay for a slice of an external HR consultant’s time. 

During that time, you’re getting all of their experience – without having to pay them for it. 

In my case, you’d be getting 20+ years of experience for a fraction of the price. 


Benefits of having both

When I was an internal HR leader, I used consultants to add capacity in times we needed an extra hand. I also used them to weigh in with specific expertise.  

This is important if you’re an SME. 

See, your internal HR department generally will be quite good at most things, but particularly good with employee relations. As different situations arise, it can help outsourcing certain things to an external team. 

Plus, if things get busy, how can your internal team continue looking after the day-to-day if they’re needed elsewhere?



My approach 

Thinking about outsourcing your HR completely? Or are you interested in an extra hand? 

Here’s my approach. 


  1. I help businesses become self-sufficient 

I’ll upskill your management team so they become the face of change. If I don’t do this, as soon as I step away, things would go back to how they were.


  • I’ll be honest about whether you need me 

I only work with businesses that genuinely need my support. 


  • I ask the uncomfortable questions

I’m here to get you the results you want – and sometimes that involves you facing things you’ve been avoiding.  


  • I don’t do off-the-shelf approaches

Instead, I do diagnostic work to determine what we need to do and in what order. We’ll start with the ideal outcomes you’re looking for and work from there.


  • Initial meetings won’t cost you anything

We need to make sure we can work together. Mutual trust and respect is essential. You have to like and trust me, otherwise, we won’t get the results you’re looking for. 



Ready to arrange a chat to see if we’re a good fit?

Click here and let me know when you’re free for a meeting.


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