When Do You Need an HR Staff?
Small-business owners rarely see the immediate value of staffing a human resource generalist. Actually, most principals take on many HR tasks themselves or delegate them to other employees — department heads, accountants or administrative assistants. Others will outsource to an insurance broker and a payroll specialist. Of course, they come with a hefty retainer fee, but it's still far less than staffing a new employee.
But as your company grows into a larger firm, payroll, benefit management, hiring and training will seem to drain time that you could use on other business-related duties. So — what is your time worth? If you're delegating these tasks to other team members — what is their time worth to the business? You don't want to take valuable time away from productivity and profitability.
As your business grows in numbers, your HR need will grow, too. The rule of thumb says that when your staff count grows to 40 or 50 employees, it's time to look for an HR staff. So, then, how can you use an HR function? How should you structure the role? What should the day-to-day responsibilities be? How does this add to the organizational hierarchy?
If you're finding that you need to hire and train new talent quickly, you'll need an HR professional trained in recruitment and retention processes. If you want to add robust benefit packages, you may want an HR manager with experience in compensation and benefits. Approach the hiring process knowing the intrinsic value of a staff member focused on employees to raise staff satisfaction, productivity and profits.
Benefits of an HR Manager
HR staff can work with managers to help develop long-term strategies for growth and development. HR manages the internal structure of a company — everything from recruiting to orienting new employees, writing job descriptions, tracking attendance, and establishing policies to make sure you've got the right benefits. At some firms, HR is responsible for happy hours and volunteer days because it's important for employees to get to know each other outside work.
A good HR department can help a company get more done: hiring, compensation, compliance —keeping track of federal and state laws regulating benefits and compensation — and handling disputes between employees or any claims of sexual harassment or workers' compensation injuries.
What else should you get from an HR specialist? A better work environment. So, if you have a lot of employees and no one on staff has the time to deal with documentation to ensure compliance with workplace policies or to handle benefits, it may be time to hire an HR person to help you out. Are you spending too much time reaching out to consultants and lawyers for answers to your employment questions? Hiring someone may be more cost-effective in the long run. If your employees are confused about policies, you may want to consider hiring someone.
Other HR responsibilities will likely include:
- Creating and maintaining employee files.
- Publishing an employee handbook.
- Posting required state and federal notices.
Keep in mind that the main goal is to have someone take care of staff issues so managers are free to run and grow the company.