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Why a Solid HR Infrastructure is a Must-Have for Business Growth HR may not be top priority for entrepreneurs as they work to grow their business. That should not be the case. HR is an essential component that will be the foundation for a more robust growth path.

By Steve Arizpe Edited by Micah Zimmerman

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

While it is a well-known fact that entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized business (SMB) leaders wear many hats and juggle numerous plates due to their size, it can be easy for them to become laser-focused on their products, services and customer base as they build their company, possibly dropping the most important plate – human resources (HR).

As savvy business leaders and industry experts continue to emphasize the importance of implementing an HR infrastructure, especially one that is more robust that lays the groundwork for attracting and retaining top talent, it can be perceived as an overwhelming task, which may rank as a low priority that leaves companies vulnerable as they plan for growth.

Related: Good Customer Service is a Disappearing Art — Here's How You Can Be Different

A robust HR program that makes a difference — handled in-house or by an external HR company — is a must-have component in today's business environment. As SMB leaders weigh their options, three things to keep in mind include:

1. People are the greatest asset

People are the foundation of success at all company levels. They are indispensable and often make or break a business. Employees are the ones who have intricate knowledge of a company's products/services; they are on the front lines interacting with clients and potential customers; and employees given the freedom to be intrapreneurs are often responsible for developing new products, services and processes that affect change and growth within a company.

The impact of people on a business cannot be overstated – without people, there is no business – they are an integral part of every facet of business operations. From initial customer contact and daily nurturing programs to product/service development and high-performing leadership, people are the greatest asset to business growth and ongoing success.

It takes the right people in the right positions working for the right company to make a difference. This begins with a robust HR program that incorporates effective and efficient recruiting and hiring practices that attract qualified candidates based on a company's purpose, mission, corporate values and job qualifications, which may indicate they have a similar outlook and will be a great fit for the culture and role.

While recruiting and hiring practices continue to evolve, one of the best ways to find top talent is through an employee referral program that offers monetary rewards for new hires. Employees serve as brand ambassadors who tout the benefits of working for a company to their network of like-minded connections. This saves recruiters time and money and helps new hires feel more comfortable and tied to a company with familiar faces in the workforce. An employee referral program should be a part of all HR programs.

Related: 4 Ways to Make Sure Your Employees Are Your Best Asset

2. Culture is key

When entrepreneurs and SMB leaders adhere to the philosophy that people are a company's greatest asset, it goes without saying that creating and nurturing a culture that takes care of them should be a top priority. A culture that puts people first in all areas, including attracting, recruiting, onboarding, training, employee benefits, performance management, career development and recognition, is creating an environment that results in increased employee engagement and high levels of employee retention for long-term careers within a company.

When companies take care of their people, there is a trickle-down effect, and everything else falls into place because happy employees typically display discretionary efforts and often consider their jobs as a calling, which leads to a stronger culture and greater growth opportunities.

As SMB leaders take care of their people with robust HR initiatives, some tried-and-true components that should be part of the program include generous PTO, flexible schedules, competitive compensation packages, top-notch healthcare, training or upskilling opportunities, performance management, career planning, mentoring plans, tuition reimbursement, EAPs with mental health and wellness components, financial fitness plans, community involvement opportunities and employee recognition programs.

When companies address employees' holistic wants and needs, from career and finances to health and community, workers feel more valued and content, freeing them to focus on their daily responsibilities. This creates a stronger culture that sets the stage for dedicated employees, increased engagement and greater employee retention that leads to company growth.

3. HR is dynamic

Savvy leaders understand HR is a dynamic discipline that has dramatically risen in prominence through the years, constantly changing to meet the needs of an evolving workforce and the companies it serves. HR infrastructure should be tailored and refined to meet the needs of a company, as opposed to a stagnant, one-size-fits-all solution. When leaders work with in-house or external HR teams, they should develop a strategy that serves their needs and is scalable for future growth – always putting their people first.

HR technology has played a significant role in dynamic HR that complements the human touch and should be part of a robust HR infrastructure. HR technology not only benefits HR departments with time/cost savings and greater employee insights, but it also streamlines processes for new hires and employees, providing consistent best practices across the company.

From payroll processing, people analytics and performance reviews to onboarding, benefits enrollment and online training, HR technology leads to greater efficiencies and increased employee retention and performance.

While a robust HR infrastructure is necessary for employee retention and the growth of a business, it should be viewed as a welcome addition to business operations because it helps leaders scale their business with consistent best practices and procedures efficiently to help companies take care of their people. As SMB leaders build their companies, it behooves them to implement an HR infrastructure that makes a difference.

Steve Arizpe

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

President & COO for Insperity

Steve Arizpe is president and COO for Insperity (NYSE: NSP), a leading provider of HR and business-performance solutions. He provides strategic leadership and guidance throughout the organization to ensure success for its small and mid-sized business clients.

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