Why have an HR function?
A well-established HR function will:
• increase your productivity
• reduce your overheads
• increase your employees commitment to your business
• improve your employee/employer relationship
• minimise risk in employment relationships
• assist in establishing your business strategy
• help put your strategy into an operational plan
• enable you to measure significant milestones in your operational plan
What will an HR function provide?
An HR function is designed to provide you with some practical tools and advice such as:
• an employment agreement
• a robust recruitment process and tools
• a performance management system
• tools and support for managing performance problems
• metrics regarding your people
HR will contribute to your construction of a strategic business plan integrated with sound people plans.
Following on from your strategic business plan is the compilation of operational objectives and action plans for employees with measures to monitor the progress and results.
These operational objectives mean you will have a way to measure and reward employee behaviour.
As your company grows and requires more resources or changes to your organisational structure the right HR person will be able to work with you to identify your business needs, establish a process and guide you through the change process to achieve maximum employee buy in and minimisation of risk. This would apply to change involving downsizing as much as change resulting from growth.
When should you put in an HR function?
Human resources starts from the moment you no longer can run your business with just you and you start on the process of planning how to meet your business requirements by hiring staff. It is the quality and intentionality of your HR function which drives when you should consider a dedicated HR resource to manage the HR function.
The rule of thumb is when you have 80 plus full time employees, you warrant having a dedicated full time resource in your own company. Up to that number you can outsource your function to qualified professionals who will achieve the same objectives on a part-time or contract basis.
Where would you find qualified professionals?
You could find suitable resources from finance/management consultants who offer HR resources as part of their auditing services as do some recruitment/management consultants. Lawyers may offer employment agreement templates. Some business associations offer templates and have internal advisors to assist businesses in employment related matters. Using non-HR specialists, particularly management consultants can be an expensive option, and often they lack the whole of business approach.
Another avenue for help with this function is through human resource experts who have set up their own consulting business. They offer the HR function on an hourly or monthly fee basis and work with you in your business on an as need basis. This is a more holistic and cost effective way of having a function which can be fully integrated into your business. These people can be found on the internet, through your human resource institute or local business association.
Who is the best consultant to choose?
The best people are those who are experienced Human Resource consultants. They should have both the qualification and the experience in order to understand your whole business and can partner with you. Look for someone who has worked either in your industry sector and/or over a broad spectrum of organisations, who has a proven ability to understand business needs. Check to ensure they have sat on management teams and can talk sales, marketing, operations etc., and can understand finance and customer service. You want someone who can think strategically but yet are operational. Also check to ensure they have personal credibility. Will they do what they say they will?
A quality human resource function is a major asset to your business. The sooner you ensure you have such a function the earlier you will start to see positive results in your company. It may not need to be a large financial commitment, but it does involve finding the right professional to manage that function for you.