More Businesses Saving Money by Outsourcing HR

Almost every business has employees, meaning the need for human resources (HR) is a necessary must. Whether your business is small or large or somewhere in between, you can still benefit from an HR specialist.In times where all businesses are feeling the sting of a tough economy, outsourcing certain needs such as HR to outside vendors may seem like another expense you don’t need. If you think you’ve got your HR needs under control, think again! Top reasons business owners seek out HR consultant firms include:It Takes TimeIf you’re tackling all the HR needs on your own or have assigned them to another person who is also time-strapped, the results will be poor. Even if you only have a handful of employees, HR means taking care of the “human” side of personnel. With payroll, benefits, tracking vacations, sick and personal days, one person can’t do it all. In addition, what about federal and state quarterly reports, workers’ compensation claims, retirement benefits and general HR policies and procedures? All of things should be dedicated to an entire department or by outsourcing your HR needs.You Can Save MoneyReally, save money? Your time or that of a department supervisor is valuable. Every moment spent on human resources means time you’re not tackling your own tasks. How much is your time worth hourly?Affordable PlansMost HR business services have affordable plans in place for all business sizes. Or, HR outsourcing can rid you of tasks you have no time for, such as required reporting. Seek out companies who offer a plethora of menu choices where you pick and choose desired services. You don’t need to outsource every element of your human resource needs-only the ones you feel stymied about or aren’t qualified to perform.AuditingCompany audits are bothersome. These include business insurance audits, workers’ compensation audits, and even compliance audits. For each of these audits you will need accurate records on time worked, employee hire and termination dates, and easy access to payroll reports. If you don’t have a dedicated HR department, by outsourcing these needs, all you need to do is make one phone call to obtain these audit essentials.State & Federal RulesHow knowledgeable are you about federal labor laws or the laws your state requires when it comes to employees? Do you know anything about the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) or the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)? What is an exempt and non-exempt employee? What is the minimum wage requirement in your state; is it the same as the federal minimum wage? What about overtime laws? If you don’t pay attention to HR rules, which change often, especially on the federal level, by outsourcing, you’ll save yourself many headaches-even avoid employee lawsuits.These are just some of the reasons you should consider an outside vendor for all or some of your HR needs-you can probably think of even more! Many of these organizations will help you write policy and procedures manuals and help you create legal employee warning and termination forms. In actuality, hiring an employee means a lot more than saying “You’ve got the job.” If human resources are not your expertise and you don’t have an entire HR department, consider utilizing an HR specialist to help you be a smarter employer.If you need help finding an HR consultant, why not look to some B2B marketplace options? These online sources will lead you to the professionals you need no matter what size your business.

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Creating and Planting a Container Garden

We all have a garden planter or two dotted around our gardens, perhaps filled with a specimen plant or a seasonal display. But there is a lot to be said for using containers as the design basis for a garden. Containers are probably one of the most versatile forms of gardening, allowing you not only to choose type of container but also the plant and its location. There are many advantages to container gardening. You can move your containers to different locations within your garden, thereby creating an instantly different effect. You can change planting displays as often as you like, perhaps making the most of the choice of different seasonal plants. You can also grow plants which like different soil types to your own by simply filling them with the right type of compost.

Types of garden planter

There are an ever increasing number of different types of container you can buy, with materials and designs to suit every climate and different tastes. Pots and tubs are probably the most popular type of planter available. They are for the most part versatile and easily moved to different positions in the garden. Pots and tubs come in an enormous variety of sizes and designs, both traditional and modern. Materials vary from moss covered terracotta and artificially aged stone planters, to reused car tyres and fibre glass. There are no rules when it comes to choosing a type of container and there is no reason why you can’t combine traditional with modern. Just be aware that your designs and materials complement each other in some way.

Pots and tubs are equally as versatile when it comes to planting. You can grow almost anything you like in a container. Formally clipped box and other evergreens look stunning as focal points, as do specimen standard plants such as bay trees or photinias. Group a number of planters of different sizes together with a plant type such as herbs. A particularly stunning planter can be filled with seasonal annuals for an all year round display.

Window boxes are another great way to grow plants and enhance the appearance of your house and garden. Window boxes are particularly useful if you have a tiny garden or even if you have no garden at all! You can buy ready- made window boxes, have them made bespoke to your requirements or simply make your own. Window boxes don’t have to be made of wood. I have seen some beautifully aged metal ones as well as reconstituted stone ground-level boxes. Grow seasonal displays or plant up a box outside your kitchen window with herbs or easy to grow edibles like lettuce.

Hanging baskets are probably the most versatile of all containers. They can be hung on walls, fences and even in trees. Not only can your display be changed from season to season, but you can also grow edible plants such as tumbling tomatoes and strawberries and even a selection of herbs, hung near your kitchen door. Hanging baskets also come in a variety of shapes and sizes. More traditionally made from wicker, but I have seen some great modern alternatives made from brightly coloured plastics.

Troughs and sinks can be used to create mini container gardens in one place. Although strictly speaking you can grow anything you like in a trough shaped planter, the lack of depth makes them more suited to growing alpines and herbs. Stone troughs probably look the best in any garden but why not also think about getting hold of an old Belfast sink which looks particularly effective when planted with herbs under a kitchen window.

Another type of container not readily thought about is the raised bed. Raised beds are a great way of growing both vegetables and garden plants. They are easy to maintain and therefore popular with gardeners with impaired mobility. They are also an easy way of adding structure to an otherwise flat garden space, lifting plants higher up and creating the illusion of different levels to a garden.

Some planting rules

If you are going to maintain a healthy container garden, there are a few rules you will need to follow whatever type of planter. Drainage is all important for container grown plants. Make sure your container has adequate drainage holes and always add some broken pot or crocks to the bottom of the planter to aid drainage. If your container is to be placed on a hard surface, sit it on some feet to raise it above ground level slightly. Use the right type of compost. Try not to overcrowd your container, most plants will need plenty of room to spread their roots and grow into healthy specimens. Conversely, don’t let your plants become pot-bound. Although there are a few plants which do well in these conditions, as a rule, either divide you plant or re-pot it into a larger container.

In extremely cold weather both your containers and their plants will need some protection. For those that are not frost hardy it is probably best to over winter them into a cold greenhouse. Others can be wrapped in straw or fleece to protect them from frost.

Perhaps the most important consideration of all for container grown plants is water. During dry weather in the summer months you will have to make sure your pots are well watered. Materials like terracotta dry out quickly as the clay absorbs water, so you will often find yourself having to water at least twice a day. Early morning and evening is best. During the winter water container plants sparingly. Waterlogged containers easily freeze killing the roots of the plants in them.

I am a firm believer that a garden reflects some of the personality of the gardener who tends it. Garden planters are a great way of putting your stamp on a garden, particularly if you are a little bit quirky! I have seen old wooden boats used as planters, odd worn out walking boots, pan tiles, antique wash tubs, old car tyres and even a disused toilet!

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