When it pays to have an HR person on your team

As a small business, adding HR to your headcount is not an easy decision. Chances are that you’d much rather recruit people that will help you win more business, improve service delivery or keep customers loyal.

However, as your company grows, so do the challenges of keeping on top of HR admin and ensuring that you’ve the right team in place to grow your business productively. Investing in a dedicated HR person – on a full or part time basis – not only helps you stay on top of your legal duties as an employer, but makes it easier for you to achieve your business goals.

Here we explore some of the key areas where an HR professional can make a real difference to your business – and quickly become an indispensable part of your team.

Stay on the right side of the law

Whether it’s ensuring your employment contracts are up to date, or checking you’ve got it right when it comes to everything from pensions to mandatory training and proof of right to work, is time consuming. Get it wrong, and it can easily end up costing you time and money.

With a dedicated HR person on your team, you’ll have someone to handle the paperwork and keep on top of ever-changing employment legislation.

Keep day-to-day HR admin running smoothly

Every-day HR activities, like calculating holiday entitlements or staying on top of mandatory training renewals, can take up a lot of time. Much of the drudge work can be automated using the latest cost-effective online HR software. However, there is still plenty that needs the personal touch, from organising training or staff inductions, to chasing up overdue sick notes and liaising with payroll. With the right systems in place, HR can also check to see that the overall health of your businesses is good – not just in terms of spotting if you’ve an issues with absences! They are often better positioned to identify potential retention or recruitment problems, or where cross-team collaboration would be helpful – and suggest cost-effective solutions.

Recruit an HR professional to look after the admin for you (and give them the tools to do it with), and you’ll free up time, and help other processes run more smoothly.

Help managers manage

As your business grows, chances are you’ll be asking existing employees to take on management roles, with all of the associated responsibilities for organising and motivating their own teams. Not everyone feels comfortable taking on this kind of role without support, especially when it comes to having difficult conversations, or the legal context of human resources management.  For example; what needs to considered if someone reports in ill with stress, asks to change their working hours, request time off for antenatal appointments or wants to take shared parental leave.

With an HR person on your team, there is someone for them to rely on to support a tricky interview, or ensure the right steps are followed for legislative compliance.

Promote successful growth

Researching the applicant market, writing job descriptions, posting them out to job boards, sifting through CVs and co-ordinating initial interviews and follow up is probably not best use of your time – or that of your senior managers. Even if you recruit through an agency, you’ll still find it valuable to have someone inside your company co-ordinating your recruitment activities. They’ll help keep activities on track, manage the paperwork, and help ensure you don’t miss out on key candidates because someone was too busy to get back to them, or the offer you made wasn’t in line with market expectations.

Once your new recruits join, HR can also help ensure they settle in and get up to speed fast. According to ACAS, good staff induction not only helps with performance, but is also better for long term retention.

Lift productivity

A good HR person will remove barriers, improve collaboration between teams and help ensure everyone is focused on achieving key objectives. They are ideally positioned to identify skills gaps, source appropriate training, and work with management on productivity initiatives, such as performance reviews or internal mentoring.

Improve staff retention

Employees join companies for a host of different reasons, but topping the list in SMEs, is company culture. This is often a direct result of a small team working together, with everyone supporting each other and focused on the same goals. However, as the business grows, there are simply not enough hours in the day for the leadership team to have the same level of contact with everyone, or offer the same types of opportunities.

An HR person can act as the eyes and ears of the management team, and help keep the culture alive.

Boost the bottom line

A study by Investors in People and economic research consultancy TBR found a performance premium of up to 11 per cent for companies focusing on better people management.

Obviously, it’s not just HR that determines how people are managed. However, including an HR professional in your top team, not only frees up your time, but helps put the focus in the right place, and sends a message to the whole company that your people really do matter.

About the author

Sue Lingard is from Cezanne HR, a leading provider of modern, cost-effective online HR Software that is helping UK and international businesses to manage, engage and motivate their people better.

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