I can hear all my HR friends out there screaming when they read this title. As a consultant and coach to many small business owners, I have often found myself advising business owners to analyze their specific needs before adding to their headcount. And creating a human resource manager position is at the top of the list of what to reevaluate.
I always start with this question, “What is causing you to consider adding an HR manager to your staff?” Often I'll hear an answer related to the number of employees in the company. When businesses get to the 40-plus employee count, those in leadership positions start to think that of course they need an HR manager.
So, if your own answer to my question also revolves around the number of employees you have, think again -- and analyze. Carefully examine the following seven questions to determine what this new HR position would be for:
1. Payroll and benefits?
These functions can easily be outsourced if you haven’t already done so. There are plenty of payroll and PEOs (professional employer organizations) available to you as a business owner. There are both large national ones and smaller regional ones. From my experience, the smaller regional ones are generally more service oriented than the larger ones. And, they have lower turnover rates, so your point of contact is more likely to be consistent over time.
2. Compliance issues like employment law and workplace policies?
Generally PEOs offer services to their customers that include a database and/or help desk to answer your employment law and compliance issues They also have all the personnel forms needed and will assist in developing or reviewing your employee handbook.
3. Employee relations?
You may want to know more about what employees think of you and the organization, and you may want a more consistent method of employee communications. Engagement surveys can now be done easily using technology. One of my favorites is Tiny Pulse, because it provides constant employee feedback and is easy to administer. No longer do you have to wait to hear from employees anonymously, and once a year.
4. Employee events and activities?
Those holiday events and summer family picnics your company holds may have become too much to manage. And your volunteer activities have grown over time. But these functions don't require an HR manager. Ask instead for volunteers to form a committee. Give them some overall guidelines such as budget information and let them organize and manage your employee activities.
Unless you are a rapidly growing company, recruitment can be simplified with online recruiting tools that filter applicants using artificial intelligence. And don’t forget LinkedIn, which has shifted and changed the recruiting process, giving companies access to millions of candidates. Just make sure you have a solid interviewing process once you identify your candidates.
6. Training and development?
What type of training and development will keep your company competitive, and your employees growing and developing? There are many options for training today: Online, in class, custom, off the shelf, gaming technologies, and micro-learning are a few. I recommend that if you don’t have a training professional, hire one to come in and assess the needs you have today as well as in the future. Most HR managers are not even skilled in this area because most of them are generalists.
Once again, technology can take a lot of the administrative burdens off you for onboarding. But we know that onboarding is much more than paperwork. So, create a Sherpa program . This will pair tenured employees with new employees and help get new employees up and running and productive more quickly.
Now, think again: Do you still think you need an HR manager?