By: Ber Leary on September 5th, 2023

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The Quick Guide to Outsourcing HR for Government Contractors

When your company starts work on a government contract, you might that you’re spending a lot of extra time on HR. You still have to tackle private-sector HR challenges--such as attracting, engaging and retaining people—but now you also have to deal with a new set of federal HR regulations.

And the stakes are much higher too. A mistake in HR for government contractors can put you in breach of regulations. That could result in you losing your contract—or even facing fines.

Government contract compliance can be daunting. The official Federal Regulation Acquisition guide is over 2,000 pages alone. But, with 38% of GovCon firms seeing 20% annual growth, it’s worth putting in the effort to meet the challenges of HR for government contractors.

Dowload your GovCon HR Compliance guide

5 biggest HR challenges in government contracting

Government employment is much more tightly regulated than the private sector. There are strict federal contract rules about hiring, working conditions, and employee rights.

These rules apply to anyone who performs work for the government, even if that person is technically employed by a private company. Effectively, that means that all government contractors are subject to government employment rules.

This has a massive impact on how you manage your team. As a GovCon employer, you’ll need to think about things like:

  • Paperwork: You’ll have to show compliance by showing the right paperwork. This applies to policies such as OFCCP guidelines,  Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) compliance programs, Drug-Free Workplace, Service Contract Act (SCA), and any other applicable laws.
  • Recruitment: Staffing government contracts presents challenges, as there are rules about how you must advertise and screen for positions. You may also have to work with incumbent hires from previous contracts.
  • Manager training: Local managers have to apply these rules on a day-to-day basis. This means that all of your managers need full training on all regulations related to HR for government contractors.
  • Communication: Employees need regular communication about your company’s goals, values and strategy. That can be tricky when some of them are physically located at a government client’s office.
  • Organizational culture: Communication issues can also threaten your organizational culture. Off-site workers may develop their own subculture, which can cause your team to break into silos.

These are all serious issues that can affect your relationship with your government client. Navigating these challenges requires a talented human resources manager.

How HR outsourcers can help government contractors

You can avoid these problems by making sure you have an HR team that understands the ins and outs of GovCon.

If you don’t have in-house expertise, consider bringing in a GovCon HR consultant. Let’s look at some of the things a specialist in HR for government contractors can do for you.

1. Provide experience in HR for government contractors

GovCon HR management experience is essential—you need someone who understands the compliance side of working with state and federal governments.

Your HR Outsourcing consultant can offer their hands-on experience and knowledge of real-life scenarios. They will often be able to spot compliance problems that other HR professionals might have missed.

2. Build a GovCon HR compliance strategy

Solid planning is the key to HR compliance. You’ll need a strategy that helps ensure everything happens in line with the rules. You’ll also need a plan to for identifying and resolving any breaches.

Your GovCon HR consultant will help you create a strategy and initiatives that support your team. This plan will be dynamic and scalable, so you’ll remain compliant even when your team grows.

3. Align HR with business strategy

HR and compliance can both find themselves in conflict with business development teams. Business development teams focus on growth and delivering goals; HR processes and compliance both create stability and lead to a positive employee experience.

An HR consultant can help bring these two teams into alignment. They can help business dev experts to understand what’s possible within the constraints of GovCon compliance. And they can help HR ensure that they can deliver growth while staying compliant.

4. Recruit and develop employees

Recruitment and onboarding are the hardest parts of HR for government contractors. We have prepared a full guide on the topic, which you can read here:

Related reading: The guide to recruitment for GovCon

It’s also essential to keep training and developing your team. An HR consultant can help you to keep everyone on a long-term career plan, which will strengthen employee relations and help you retain your best team members.

5. Keep your culture alive

HR consultants have experienced all kinds of working environments, and they know the best strategies to encourage a thriving organizational culture. They will help you develop activities and communication techniques that will make everyone feel like part of a cohesive team.

This is especially important when your off-site workers develop their own culture, or if they become integrated into the government client’s culture. An HR consultant can help those employees to feel connected to their primary organization’s culture.

Getting started with outsourced HR for government contractors

Working with an HR outsourcer is a partnership. Like any successful partnership, things work best when you communicate, support each other, and share common goals.

Here are some tips on getting the most out of your HR outsourcing partner.

  • Start sooner rather than later: Seek out HR support as soon as you can. It’s better to get a consultant on board when you’re tendering a contract, rather than scramble to find someone a few days before the engagement commences.
  • Look for the right partner: Not all HR consulting firms are alike. Some have expertise in certain industries, or with specific government departments. Find a partner that understands your plans and has the skills to support you.
  • Offer ongoing support: Help your consultant to help you. Make sure they have everything they need in terms of systems, access to stakeholders, and information about upcoming events.
  • Keep communicating: Most importantly of all, keep in touch with your HR consultant. Arrange a regular meeting where they can share stats and insights, and you can talk about anything they need to know.
  • Set clear expectations: At the start of your HR partnership, talk about what you expect from your consultant. Remember, consultants can provide different types of support depending on the engagement, from day-to-day foundational HR to long-term strategic planning.

If you work together, you and your HR consultant can grow your government contracting business—and steer clear of nasty compliance pitfalls.

Want to talk about outsourcing Human Resources?

Helios HR has over 20 years of supporting businesses in the Greater D.C. area. Our consultants are experts in the world of HR for state and federal contractors. 

Want to talk more about how your business can succeed in GovCon? Book a no-obligation consultation call today.

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