When Do You Need An HR professional?

While there are some industries that it’s possible to take a “do-it-yourself” attitude to, such as selling your home privately or having a go at fixing the plumbing, a DIY attitude to hr strategy is rarely a successful one. This is because human capital management is not just one thing, it’s a complex and broad function with. It will typically include up to 8 complex areas which include:

  • Staff relations
  • recruitment
  • performance management and appraisals
  • employee development and training
  • career management and succession planning
  • business development
  • benefits and pay
  • records management and administration

You need to make sure that you are expert in all of these areas to make sure that your business will run smoothly from the staff side of the organisation. Modern businesses and the depth of the issues experienced by organisations will no longer be supported by the aged HR as an add-on strategy and shoving it under the remit of the line manager, the risks far outweigh the benefits.

As an example, a high turnover of staff is one problem that will cost a company up to 3 times the wage of a frontline worker and this figure goes up sharply for a skilled professional. The possibility of low morale is another risk which can really affect performance, allowing staff conflicts to go unresolved, lack of development and training and the problem that there’s no possibility for advancement all cause major problems with employee productivity.

hr professional

Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alancleaver/4118367546/

Finally, it’s a difficult pill to swallow but people these days are more quick to each outside of their own organisation for help, support or restitution. If a company fails an employer, the first place the employee will likely vent is through social media (whether there are guidelines in place to prevent this or not) and the poor PR associated with such a breach is nothing compared to possible legal ramifications, tribunals, or even human rights commissions when a company fails to address disability, sexual harassment and other more serious employment related problems. From a business perspective, it doesn’t matter whether the grievance is won or lest, the legal fees, potential damages as well as the eye of the public firmly squared on the firm through media and social media is a scary proposition.

Whether your company is large or small or whether you’re operating as a not for profit organisation or a money making business, HR management matters. Let’s take a quick look at what a proper human resources department (or at least officer) in your organisation can do, and why investment in this business function is crucial.

Take a look at the following situations and how a HR professional will help make your company successful:

Productivity goals – Are you meeting your company’s goals with your current staff? Are there people who are discontented with work and therefore not giving their best? Are you losing the people you want to keep? An HR professional can look into performing an organisational review, They can look into whether your company structure is currently effective and whether positions need to be edited or expanded.

Respond to market trends – What is going on in your niche? Are you looking to make redundancies? How are you planning to do this? How will you decide who will stay and who will go? Or are you growing? Are you looking to get more staff? Where are you going to find them? An HR pro can put the systems and strategy into place to handle both of these common company changes.

Dealing with change – The world and your business are both fast changing. What changes is your organisation having to deal with? How will these affect your staff? How will you deal with any changes? A professional HR person can bridge the gap between management and staff and act as a change champion, making sure that everyone is aware of what is happening and managing the process of change.

Meeting the needs of customers – What capabilities and organisational skills are required to make sure your product line or company’s services meet the specific needs of customers and are delivered on time. Will the skills of new employees be required as your services/product line changes to meet demand? An HR pro can help ensure this by undertaking needs assessments, making sure that staff are trained in house.

Paying your staff fairly – How much do you pay your staff in comparison to others in your business? Have you ever examined internal pay equity? Do your employees feel like they’re being paid fairly compared to others in their industry? An HR pro can check your payroll practices and make sure that pay scale is made into a staff retention strategy.

These every day business tasks are only a small proportion of how an HR professional can add value to your company. But have you reached the stage where you need someone in a dedicated HR function? Take a look at where you’re spending your time. If you’re spending more than 20% of your time dealing with managing your staff, then it’s time to bite the bullet and employ somebody in the HR function or looked to contract an outside professional. Don’t wait until you reach a pain point, because by then, it’s probably too late.

Jim Seward writes about HR software, business software and general business subjects

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