HR activities at startups are often reactive in nature instead of proactive. That leaves gaps in the system.
When starting their businesses, most entrepreneurs tend to wear many hats. However, there are times when they need to step back and look at how they may be unintentionally hurting their business and employees.
Consider the experience of Mollie Delp, the designated HR specialist at Workshop Digital, in Richmond, Va. At the digital marketing company, Delp juggled multiple duties while also helping co-workers manage human resource tasks.
“While growing and developing our operational service teams, we also took care of developing HR processes, like hiring, recordkeeping and benefits administration,” Delp told me via email. “We only had slightly over 20 employees, but things already felt messy and inefficient. Important things were bound to slip through the cracks.”
If Delp hadn’t taken charge of HR tasks, the company’s leaders would have suffered from the lack of time and attention they weren’t able to give other important projects. That’s why it’s crucial for entrepreneurs to take an unbiased look at their own processes. At what point do you need help?
Here are four indications that it’s time fto add a designated human resources department:
The number of HR tech tools on the market is growing every day. While these tools are helpful in running a business, even their founders admit they don’t replace people, if you go by the words of Steffen Maier, co-founder of Impraise.
Impraise is a New York-based performance-management and coaching platform, whose co-founder, Maier, says he recognizes human resources (staffed with people, not just tools) as a necessity, rather than a simply nice-to-have department.
“With the rise of HR tech tools that can help with everything from recruitment to payroll, many have tried to simply replace the department altogether with apps. This is actually the wrong move,” Maier explained in an email. “Instead, these tools are facilitating the transition of HR from an admin role to a more strategic role within the organization.”
Hiring his own human resources team early, Maier continued, allowed him and other Impraise founders to focus on hiring the right people for their team, thus creating a better employee experience and maintaining a positive company culture.
You might want the same for your own company: Take a look at the HR apps you’re already using to assist the business. Gather feedback from employees or use analytics to determine what’s still lacking in your employee experience and workplace culture.
Use this information to decide what employee and company aspects might be improved with the addition of an HR department. As Maier said, some functions, such as hiring the right people and creating a positive employee experience and culture, can’t be done with technology alone.
In the beginning, startups typically don’t have one employee covering human resource duties full-time. Instead, when a problem arises, people react by stepping into the role. Many times, however, this leaves holes in the system.
“The challenge with waiting until that point is, the HR activities that have been done up until then have been reactive in nature and not proactive,” Jana Tulloch said by email. She’s a human resources professional at Develop Intelligence, a technical learning solutions company headquartered in Boulder, Colo.
The problem with being reactive, Tulloch explained, is that, “This is where companies can get into trouble, when required policies, employee records or other compliance issues have gaps.”
While many company leaders view HR as only a transactional function, Tulloch said she believes it’s a strategic one.
“HR supports an organization’s goals by ensuring the right policies and programs are in place to attract, retain, engage and motivate staff, creating a high-performing organization,” the HR professional said.
The message, then, is that business leaders need to decide if current HR practices are reactive or proactive. Start by assessing the most recent HR incidents, transitions or policy changes: Were they built around compensation, benefits, performance management and employee relations? Or were they created in reaction to events that interrupted normal company procedures?
If entrepreneurs continue waiting for HR issues to arise before addressing them, their current HR situations will not help ROI or assist in building a sustainable organization.
Human resource professionals carry a lot of weight and skill. For that reason, having employees fill in when they can, with no knowledge of HR functions, can be detrimental.
Lovely Kaur, founder and executive director of human resources and business operations at ShieldX, a cloud security vendor in San Jose, Calif., has witnessed this scenario many times.
“I helped a startup where the CEO was doing HR without having any HR experience. He was trying to keep the budget low, but overlooked the potential costs and legal ramifications of HR done bad,” Kaur told me. “Making a smooth runway before taking off is so important, and HR is a crucial component of that runway.”
So, whether a company has five or 500 employees, managing the compliance and legal aspects of the job cannot be overlooked. If the person running between multiple jobs has no history or knowledge of HR practices, it’s time to end the balancing act.
Hire someone with the ability to mitigate risks for employees and ensure the company doesn’t run into any problems.
When cutting HR-related costs, company leaders can face expensive legal risks.
“Hiring, firing, promoting, demoting and even paying employees can have significant consequences under the law. So, the more employees you have, the more decisions you have to make, and the greater the risk of a problem,” Jaime Lizotte, HR solutions manager at ComplyRight, a compliance resources and solutions company in Pompano, Fla., explained to me.
Thankfully, there are outside contractors you can hire to customize your own organization’s HR solutions.
If you’re going in this direction, look for an HR company that provides real people — like Jumpstart HR (rather than an HR platform that’s all tech bells and whistles). With this type of “people” service, your startup can customize its HR solutions to fit its needs and have HR professionals watching your back, offering creative problem-solving techniques.
Of course, some entrepreneurs may feel more comfortable with an in-house team member. If that’s the case for you, start by looking to mentors and other business leaders to discuss what qualities their HR pros possess that you need, as well.
This will help you feel comfortable about what attributes you’re looking for when you set out to form your first HR department.
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Didn't Get Your Dream Job? This 1 Technique Could Get You a Second Chance Every job seeker experiences this at least once, if not several..
The Best Way to Set New Employees Up for Success Create an onboarding program that's both meaningful and memorable Congratulations; you've just hired a terrific..
Do This In Your First Hour, Day, Week, And Month Of Your New Job Getting settled into your new job is the ultimate act of..
7 Ways Modest Leadership Increases Team Success When we imagine the traits of successful leaders, whether they are managers, high level executives, CEO's or owners..
Grateful Workplaces and Engaged Employees All leaders need to ask themselves why happy and engaged employees are worth their weight in gold. If you’re a..
Managing employee stress during the festive period More than half of employees feel stressed in the weeks leading up to Christmas, with most calling for..
What's HR going to be in 2022? A Study sheds some light... A recent study shows us a glimpse of what HR might look like..
How to Avoid the No. 1 Reason People Leave Their Jobs William James, the father of psychology, stated that the most fundamental psychological need is..
Will You Be Leading an HR Function in 2024? Here are five things to look at to examine and determine if you’ve got what it..
Importance of Effective Employee Appraisals The performance appraisal may be one of the few times during the year where an employee and the reviewer, typically..
From Cubicle To Coffee Shop - How The Workplace As We Know It Is Changing In the past few years we have seen a major..
Employees don't see link between pay and performance Employers gave themselves only mediocre ratings on pay programme effectiveness. Employees are struggling to see the link..
Why You Should Consider Working For A Small Company Eighty-four percent of small-business employees are happy in their current job, according to the 2017 Aflac..
HR's key role in enlightened office design HR magazine and Landid's roundtable on the workspace of tomorrow explored how HR can positively influence facilities management..
Workplaces still hamper productivity Noise, lack of privacy and space are some of the factors causing the greatest dissatisfaction among office workers Nearly half of..
Nine Things You Should and Shouldn't Do If You Lose Your Job Most of us wouldn’t think to associate the words "joblessness" and "fun," but..
Top 10 Benefits Of A Workplace Wellness Program When Google opened up in the 90s it took a unique approach to employee satisfaction. In an..
It's all about potential: how to write a CV with no work experience Follow these tips to stand out among competing candidates – from research..
The Best Ways to Reward Employees. Having an effective reward program in place can help solve many of your HR issues. Every company needs a..
Burnout at Work Isn’t Just About Exhaustion. It’s Also About Loneliness More and more people are feeling tired and lonely at work. In analyzing the..
People Don’t Take HR Seriously; Here’s Why That’s Dangerous Legacy beliefs like being the bad guy and a lack of strategic vision isolates HR, and..
Think Strategically About Your Career Development In a world where the average employee sends and receives 122 emails per day and attends an average of..
Diversity Doesn’t Stick Without Inclusion Leaders have long recognized that a diverse workforce of women, people of color, and LGBT individuals confers a competitive edge..
How To Advance Your Career In A Crappy Entry-Level Job Yes, you can still bring yourself one step closer to snagging that dream job even..
Interviews are generally regarded as the primary decision-making event in any recruitment process. Regardless of your academic credentials or career thus far, it is crucial..
What causes burnout and how it can affect both the employees and the organisation How HR Can Help Prevent Employee Burnout An engaged workforce. It's..
Studies have shown that structured interviewing is more than twice as reliable a predictor of future employee performance than unstructured interviewing. That is why most..