Your small company is growing, and so far, you’ve been able to handle everything yourself. When you have employee issues, maybe you have people you call, perhaps an outside HR consultant or an attorney. Maybe you’ve hired a couple of great managers who seem to know how to manage people well, and they handle whatever comes their way. You don’t really need an HR person on staff, do you? At what point is your company big enough to really need on-site Human Resources?
Probably sooner than you think.
I can’t give you a specific staff headcount at which you want to hire an HR person, rather, I’ll share with you some things to consider.
- Improved Ability to Hire and Retain Staff
While you can certainly outsource recruiting, there are still staffing related areas with which an on-site HR person can help. An HR manager can help educate hiring managers on proper interviewing techniques, assist with applicants and new hires that request accommodation, and ensure a great onboarding experience. They can also continually monitor and evaluate your compensation and benefit offerings related to the market and employee needs, to ensure they are competitive and meeting the needs of your organization. An on-site HR person can be a very valuable resource in administering and educating employees on your benefit offerings. During times like these, when recruiting is especially difficult, having the guidance of an on-site HR expert can be very beneficial in your efforts to find and keep the talent needed to run your business successfully.
- Employment Relations and Employment Law
You and your managers might be very skilled at handling employee relations issues such as behavior issues, performance problems, discipline, complaints, etc. But sometimes managers struggle with hard employee conversations, and HR can provide guidance and support in navigating these troubled waters. This not only keeps your company out of legal trouble, but how you handle employee relations issues can impact company morale, turnover, and productivity.
Legal compliance cannot be stressed enough. Your line managers don’t know the nuances of the various employment laws, and they sure can get you into trouble when they mess up. HR will understand wage and hour laws, disability and leave laws, discrimination, retaliation, and more. HR will understand the need to monitor not only federal laws, but state and local laws as well. As the company grows, certain laws start applying: at 15 employees, at 50, at 100, etc. Owners and managers may not realize that the company has gotten big enough that another law applies to them. Or you may move into another state or city that has different laws to navigate. Ignorance of the law is typically not an acceptable excuse for violating the law. What you don’t know can hurt you.
Human Resources can also ensure that documentation is appropriately worded, including offer letters, termination letters, employee handbooks, disciplinary write ups, etc. They can be an objective person handling employee relations issues, including harassment complaints. HR can tactfully and legally navigate investigations and appropriate resolutions.
- Company Culture
Human Resources can be stewards of company culture. HR can provide input into company strategic goals, and how to make them happen. Your employees are the key to your success. An HR person supports the organization and the directives of management, but they also represent the interests of employees. They often have insights on employee needs and concerns and can advise on strategies for building a strong and successful workforce. This might involve employee engagement surveys, improving communication across the company, monitoring and adjusting the employee experience; really everything from hiring/onboarding all the way to exit/termination, and much more. HR is not solely responsible for culture, but, they are positioned to put many initiatives in place to help monitor, define, and guide the company culture.
A small organization may not really need a full-time HR manager, but perhaps a part-time position is a good solution until the organization gets larger. There are HR professionals who would be happy to take a part-time position. You could also add other duties, to round out a full-time job. Sometimes an HR person might also be involved in event planning, or accounting, or even marketing. When you decide to bring HR into the organization, in whatever capacity, be sure the individual is educated in Human Resources laws and practices.
Asking your office manager to be responsible for HR is fine, if you send that person to training, seminars, etc. Human Resources is a complex and diverse area of expertise. Are you ready to bring in that expertise? HR can help protect you and your organization, and support your future growth. A talented and knowledgeable HR person can be a key component of your organization’s long-term success.