From preventing turnover to advising you on employment law.
Employees are the lifeline of any business; we all know that one bad hire can damage your team and your brand. Just after the beginning of 2016 – and seven years since I started our company – we added a full-time human resource specialist to our team of nearly 30 people.
This was a tough decision because the position isn’t billable. Yet, after getting some great advice from colleagues and doing my research, we decided the only way we could grow, prevent turnover, and recruit new employees, was to bring in someone who not only knew employment law and practices, but could advise us on a number of other HR-related areas.
Is now the right time for you to hire an HR professional? The answer depends on a number of variables. Here are our reasons; see if any or all of these resonate for you:
- It sets us up for growth. The biggest catalyst to hiring a full-time HR specialist was a recent team strategy meeting. With the help of an outside facilitator, our management team established some pretty big goals, with the stretch goal of growing our customer base by adding 150 employees by 2026. HR will help us grow the internal team who, in turn, can help us grow the number of customers we serve.
- We can find excellent talent. With our growth goal, we have to hire the most qualified individuals available. Our past recruiting efforts took too much of our time, even using consultants, and had mixed results. Job boards, such as Monster, require labor intense resumé screening; frequently, more than half of the applicants are unqualified or overqualified. The recruiting firms we’ve worked with don’t know our company culture, so the applicants they put forth were hit or miss. We think our new HR specialist can help.
- We can remove some burdens from our leadership team. Before bringing someone in-house, our HR responsibilities were split among a variety of people. Our management team divided tasks, including hiring, HR documentation, orientation, training, conflict resolution, and termination, among themselves. The process was fractured and lacked consistency, often costing us in lost time or disorganization. If we needed to hire within different departments, we frequently waited too long because the process was painful.
- We can stay legally compliant. When making a list of pros and cons of hiring an HR specialist, risk was not at the top of the list, but it was. As a business approaches a critical number of employees, hiring an HR professional can increase compliance, reduce costs, and defray risk. The 50-employee mark is especially important because FMLA, Affirmative Action, and other state and federal regulations apply. While not the final reason we chose to add HR skills to our team, it’s an added benefit as we grow.
- We will develop better employees. An internal HR person will also improve internal processes and development, including tracking vacation time, improving our performance review process, helping employees set goals, and managing benefits. After all, a business owner doesn’t have the time or talent to take these tasks on, let alone do a good job administering them.
For entrepreneurs deciding the right HR approach for their company, outsourcing remains a great option, especially if you are a smaller firm that just needs occasional guidance or help hiring. However, outsourcing the HR function wasn’t working for us, so we’re now fully invested not only in our new specialist, but also in growing our future.
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