One of the major challenges of growing a business is managing and servicing the needs of an expanding workforce. When small businesses are just getting off of the ground, it is typical for the owner to oversee the basic human resources functions, such as posting job openings, interviewing, hiring, and even payroll.
As your business grows, many of these functions become more time consuming and demand more attention and specialized skills. Growth can bring with it new workplace requirements, such as expanded employee benefits and performance reviews, as well as the need to manage interpersonal issues that can arise as you build your team.
How do you know when your business can benefit from hiring a dedicated human resources (HR) professional? Here are four indicators that it’s time to take that step:
You’ve reached 50 employees.
Once you hit this milestone, it’s likely you will need an HR expert to help you navigate the mandates imposed by your federal, state, and local governments. For instance, this is when laws regarding FMLA and Affirmative Action kick in. Many of these regulations are complicated, and it can be difficult to keep track of the ongoing changes that can seriously impact your business.
Your business is growing.
Delegating the task of hiring new staff will help foster business growth. An HR professional is a valuable partner who will help determine the skills you need to enlarge your organization and how to structure your expanding workforce. While you or your managers should meet with job applicants and make the final hiring decisions, having someone who can manage job postings, sift through resumes, pre-screen candidates, and coordinate interview logistics and paperwork will take the pressure off of you and your management team.
An HR professional can also provide access to no- or low-cost staff training and development programs. This can be a critical need for small businesses, particularly during times of growth. Cross-training employees enables them to cover more than one job function or task, while utilizing development strategies to expand the skill sets of existing staff helps foster internal promotion.
You are experiencing high employee turnover.
High turnover can cost your business time and money. An experienced HR person will help develop a happy, loyal, and more productive workforce through improved internal systems and processes. These can include helping employees set realistic goals, managing benefits such as healthcare and vacation time, implementing professional development programs, and creating or improving your performance review process. Many small business owners do not have the time to take on these tasks or the expertise to do a good job of administering them.
Small businesses can also improve retention through employee recognition programs and activities that provide value and keep employees engaged and committed to the job. An HR manager can determine what’s important to your staff and develop appropriate programs and activities to help minimize turnover and absenteeism.
You need help with the people side of things.
Do you know your people as well as you know your product? People management skills are critical to running a successful business, but they do not always come naturally to business owners. A skilled HR person will work one-to-one with staff members to coach, counsel, and advise them as needed. She or he will also develop processes to streamline the handling of personnel issues and reduce the amount of paperwork on your desk.
Once you have made the decision, hiring the right human resources manager is imperative. This person can potentially be your most important business partner and serve as a vital link to the ongoing success of your business. You must take care to hire someone with the right skills and knowledge and who shares your vision for the future. You want a professional who will keep you in compliance with the law, ensure that you hire the best people, and help your employees succeed.
Hiring a full-time HR manager will have tangible business benefits and positively impact your company culture. If you don’t have the financial resources to hire a dedicated HR staffer, consider these options:
Hire a seasoned consultant.
An HR consultant works closely with ownership and the management team to align your human resources strategy with your business goals. Working with a consultant can also help you define exactly what your needs are when and if the time comes to hire a full-time HR manager. You can pick and choose the functions you want the consultant to handle based on the needs of your organization, including payroll administration, training and development, labor relations, and benefits management.
Contract with a staffing agency.
If recruiting and hiring employees is your biggest challenge, you may want to consider contracting with a staffing agency to handle this specific need. They will save you time and money by doing the prep work and using their expertise and resource pool to find the right candidates for your business.
A proactive approach to human resources management is vital to your team’s performance, commitment, and loyalty. The steps you take to nurture employees as you grow your business are crucial to ensuring your future success.
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