When is it Time to Bring in an HR Expert?
We’ll admit upfront that we’re a little biased: we’re strong believers in the benefits HR can bring to any business. As HR consultants, we get to witness first-hand how solid HR practices have a hugely positive impact on organizations of every size, but at a certain point having an HR professional on your team stops being a “good idea” and becomes an absolutely necessity for continued success.
For many smaller organizations, the leadership team takes on the bulk of HR-related tasks. Hiring, onboarding, performance discussions, and related people-management topics all fall under the purview of managers, with no one designated individual responsible for HR. While this kind of flexible approach to HR can work smoothly for a while, when a business grows, navigates change, or experiences employee challenges, formalizing HR practices becomes crucial.
“HR practices have a hugely positive impact on organizations of every size.”
It can be difficult to identify when it’s the right time to bring an HR person on board, but there are a few common indicators to watch for:
When you’re growing quickly.
Growing your business is exciting – and when things are going well, it’s easy to get caught up in the pace and focus only on the moment at hand. Understandably, while it’s full-steam ahead, establishing formal HR systems takes a backseat. But while flying by the seat of your pants and taking a reactive approach to people management might work in the short term, it isn’t sustainable indefinitely, and it’s a recipe for allowing issues to fester and letting HR issues to fall through the cracks.
Bringing an HR professional on board during rapid growth minimizes growing pains. By putting consistent policies, systems, procedures and philosophies in place from the get-go, your efforts can be focused in the right place – on your product or service delivery.
When you’re navigating change.
It’s no secret that change management can be tough and time-consuming for leaders – when organizations are experiencing upheaval, it can be hard to know exactly when it’s time to call in reinforcements. But if you’re finding it hard to keep up consistent communication with employees, if there’s no time for transparency, or if questions are remaining unanswered and the rumor mill is churning, it could be time to bring in an HR professional.
Having an HR expert on your team while you navigate change can take some of the pressure off by fielding questions, creating clarity for employees, and keeping a finger on the pulse of any culture shifts that could result.
When there’s a lack of clarity.
When your team is small, it’s easy to rely on your open-door policy to respond to employee questions as they arise. At a certain point, though, answering the same questions over and over becomes inefficient, and issues of consistency arise with more decision makers in the mix. Bringing in an HR professional to create clarity and consistency with policies and procedures, means that employees are treated equally, past practice is recorded, legislative requirements are met, and the leadership load becomes lighter.
When the benefits outweigh the costs.
There’s no way around it – HR support falls under the umbrella of administration costs. That means when it’s time to save money, HR-related costs are often one of the first places organizations look to cut corners. But time is money, and when your management or leadership team is spending too much of their valuable time on HR tasks instead of focusing on their areas of expertise, it costs the organization. Bringing in HR help means your team can re-focus on what they do best!
Your Engaged Assignment: Running your business can be more than a full-time job! Rapid growth, changing needs, and shifting culture all need attention. When you have great employees who are aligned with your mission, and strong systems to support them, you can accomplish so much more each day. Take five minutes to reflect right now – name your biggest HR challenge and take an honest look at the time and energy it takes to manage. If you need to be spending that time somewhere else, it might be time to hire an HR professional.
Not sure when to hire an HR person, or if you need someone full-time or part-time? We’ve got some best practice ideas and are here to support!