11th October 2019
Business owners are experts in their field, but as their companies grow, most find it increasingly difficult to manage things like payroll, employee benefits and office conflicts alongside running a successful business.
Many start-ups or SMEs don’t have a dedicated HR department. This can be for a number of reasons, for example:
- They might not be big enough to justify having an HR team.
- They are so small in size that the need for HR might not necessarily be apparent.
- They can see that there is a need for some form of HR management but are wary of the ROI hiring a human resources professional will bring.
Companies who find themselves in one of these categories often tend to steer away from recruiting an HR team – but it usually leads to their concerns growing as the company increases in size.
If you’re one of the many business owners wondering how important HR is for your business, we’ve got you covered. Below is a breakdown of the role human resources plays in business as well as some helpful tips to get you started.
What is HR?
Perhaps the best place to start is to establish exactly what HR is and what it does.
‘Human resources’ is an umbrella term used to describe both the people who work for a company and the department responsible for managing resources related to employees – it basically oversees all things involved with managing a business’ human capital.
It focuses on major areas such as:
- Employee benefits.
- Training and learning.
- Employee relations.
Given that HR is such a broad field, it is made up of a multitude of professional titles, including but not limited to:
- Training Development Specialists.
- HR Managers.
- Benefits Specialists.
- Human Resource Generalists.
- Employment Service Managers.
- Job Analysts.
- Payroll Officers.
- Office Managers.
HR’s ultimate goal is to help employees do the best at their jobs as possible. But while an HR team can perform a large number of different duties, most HR responsibilities can be boiled down to 6 main points. These are:
- Tracking applicants and hiring strategically.
- Managing time off and benefits.
- Training employees.
- Streamlining the onboarding process.
- Resolving office conflicts.
- Handling legal concerns.
The Importance of HR
Each of the above functions has its own significance to the success of a company’s HR – which, in turn, has a knock-on effect on the business as a whole.
Tracking Applicants and Hiring Strategically
You’re probably already aware of how difficult and lengthy the recruitment process can be. It doesn’t just end when someone is hired to fill an open position. There are the onboarding, training and social aspects to tackle before optimum productivity can be reached.
Additionally, you always have to consider that not every hire will be a good one. You might occasionally find that you’ve recruited someone who doesn’t fit in well at the company or in the position as well as you had first thought they would – something that can put your productivity and company culture at risk. What’s more, is the after effect as you’re then left having to go through the whole recruitment process all over again. Yikes.
The chances are that, as a manager, you don’t really have the time needed to put your all into recruitment. That’s where HR professionals can help. It’s their job to supply the company with qualified, reliable talent and get them up to speed as quickly as possible.
Managing Time off and Benefits
Getting paid is obviously a top priority when taking a job, but it isn’t the only thing that prospective candidates look for when deciding on whether to accept an offer (or even apply for the job in the first place).
Other serious considerations include benefits and time off – pivotal aspects of ensuring a good level of employee engagement.
Read more about how to increase employee engagement here.
It’s essential to the business to have someone on the payroll who understands how to prioritise benefits in the interest of both the company and its staff.
HR professionals are in the best position to carry out tasks such as:
- Negotiating with health insurance companies.
- Monitoring the use of holiday and sick leave.
- Maintaining existing and introducing new incentives to keep spirits high.
- Promoting knowledge and usage of your company’s benefits package.
A large part of employee engagement is the opportunity for progression and development within the company.
While some people might be happy to slog away in a job they feel neither here nor there about for the majority of their adult lives, most want to find a rewarding career that they can find passion in. Upward mobility such as additional challenges, responsibilities and zeros on their payslips can also go a long way to showing staff that you are serious about their future at your company.
With HR professionals at hand, you will have someone available to prioritise employee training opportunities at all times. Part of what makes HR so valuable is that they can help elevate the workforce, training managers to be better leaders and training employees to have a deeper, wider skill set.
Streamlining the onboarding process
Not all companies have a working environment that people can easily adapt to; some businesses have a steep cultural learning curve, and it’s HR’s responsibility to make culture integration easier.
Only 32% of businesses have a formal onboarding process – that’s quite shocking when you consider how important people are to the success of a company.
This is likely due to the fact that the companies who don’t have an HR team don’t have the luxury of the time needed to set out such a process and just rely on the experience of existing employees to help new staff settle in.
Having a dedicated HR team means a more effective, engaging and diverse onboarding process, allowing onboarding to be specifically tailored for each job role to ensure that new staff get the right training.
Resolving Office Conflicts
According to one study, a staggering 67% of employees avoid their colleagues as a result of some form of office conflict, with 25% skipping work altogether by calling in sick just to avoid friction.
Many people are reluctant to approach their managers about issues they experience at work due to a lack of confidence over how the issue will be handled, which is why HR professionals are a great asset to have. Employees will always have someone they feel they can reach out to if they feel they need help or support. Who better than an HR team who have been trained in conflict resolution and are prepared to deal with difficult situations?
How to Implement HR
It’s difficult to discredit the benefits of having an HR team (or even just an HR person) to support your company – especially as it grows. But if it’s not something that you’ve ever dealt with before now, knowing how to implement an HR system into your business can feel a bit daunting at first.
If you are looking to introduce an HR team to the fold, here are some top tips to get you started.
Build a cultural vision: If you don’t have a defined company culture, determine one. Put the things that your company values down on paper and find ways to nurture them – e.g. policies, training, resources etc. HR can’t help to mould your workforce if they don’t know what kind of environment you want to achieve.
Track key indicators: Track KPIs such as turnover and absenteeism as well as any others that apply to your industry. This will give you an idea of the current state of your business and will offer something to track progress against once an HR system is in place.
Use available technology: Tracking things like holiday and appraisals can become a real thorn in the side when you have other work to be getting on with. Find software that tracks information for you so your HR budget isn’t spent on busywork. Staff Squared makes it as easy as clicking a button to request or approve time off or schedule an employee’s next performance review.
Give feedback: Communication is key. Be ready to talk more with your team, both in support of their efforts and with constructive critiques. Your people will thrive on positive feedback, and you’ll have a chance to improve their workflows if you can offer productive criticism.
Build a solid strategy: Use the benefits we looked at earlier as a foundation and build up from there. Be sure to include initiatives that give your staff a good work/life balance too – a stress-free workplace is a productive workplace.
Consider outsourcing: If you think your business is too small to justify hiring a full-time HR professional, consider outsourcing. Hiring an HR provider isn’t the same as having a full-time HR team, but it allows you to provide critical services and keep an eye on issues like laws and policies while staying within your budget. If you’re interested in learning more about HR providers, ask us about one of our dedicated HR partners.
Clarisse works as the Lead of our Customer Support Team to provide all of our customers with the very best care and guidance when using their HR software.