Building a Niche with Business Managers

Article excerpt

Human resources is such a fun arena, said Jill Hudson, president and CEO of Total Compliance Connection.

Though fun is likely not the word many human resource managers would use to describe the challenge of keeping their companies in compliance with the law and shielded from lawsuits, the staff at Total Compliance is putting a smile on the faces of business managers throughout the region.

Total Compliance Connection has found its niche providing human resource support to clients. Total Compliance's staff serves as consultants to other companies' human resources departments, or even to serve as the human resources department for other companies on a contract basis.

The company began three years ago as The Compliance Co., then changed its name to TcomplyCo in 2001. In February 2003, when the company moved from Gaillardia to 3817 Northwest Expressway (the building that formerly housed Hertz), the name changed to Total Compliance Connection. Though the initials have always been the same, the name has changed to reflect the company's expanding services.

The company now has nine employees who work at the main office, as well as two employees who office on-site with client companies - one in Oklahoma City and another in Texas.

Through agreements with a number of clients, Total Compliance provides consultation for businesses across the country. For instance, a major insurance company provides access to Total Compliance's consultation services as a value-added benefit to their customers.

Total Compliance was started by a group of investors, all business people who kept running into the same problems with human resources issues, said Hudson, and saw the need for this kind of company. Total Compliance is able to offer companies the expertise of a team of professionals for less than it would cost to hire that many experts full-time, or even to hire a lawyer on a case-by-case basis.

Working with Total Compliance acts as a kind of insurance, said Hudson. The very day a company receives notice that they are being charged with violating medical privacy or equal opportunity laws, they can pick up the phone and get help - before they do anything that could make the situation worse.

Total Compliance works with a number of strategic partners to ensure that all of the client's needs are met. For instance, one partner provides training software, and another provides online payroll software. Many human resources problems are rooted in another related problem, such as inadequate payroll procedures, Hudson said, and the companies are able to refer clients to one another based on the clients' needs.

Total Compliance tailors its services for each client. Some hold back because, they say, 'I don't want somebody coming in here telling me how to run my business,' said Hudson. That's not what Total Compliance is about, she said. Typically, a consultant will spend the day with the client on site, learning about the company's methods, needs and vulnerabilities. We want to take what you have and enhance it, she said.

Nobody can be an expert in everything, said Hudson, describing the plight of many human resource managers. Often, a small business has only enough in the budget to hire one person, or at best a handful of employees, to handle all human resources issues - from payroll to benefits to affirmative action and everything in between.

The arena of employment law is very specific, said Hudson. It is very detailed, and it changes all the time. Having some experience or a working knowledge of the issues is no substitute for the services a human resources professional is able to offer. If I tried to practice tax law, for instance, it would be ridiculous, said Hudson. I'd probably wind up in jail for malpractice.

Four members of Total Compliance's staff of (including Hudson) have attained certification as a senior professional in human resources, and another staff member is certified as a professional in human resources. …