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When Is It Time to Hire an HR Manager?

With rapidly developing HR software industry in the last 5 years, it seems easier than ever to organize and handle personnel related functions, staffing, payrolls or benefits, to name a few. HR functions can also be easily outsourced. All this has created a notion that small businesses or start-ups could do just fine without an in-house HR person. But is that really true? And when is it exactly time to bring HR on board and finally admit that “I can do it all alone” thought is actually becoming a bit delusional?


Well, there are more than few clues that can nudge you to start looking for your HR professional, but before naming them, it is very important to mention that, in small companies, the owner is the person who drives the culture and values and (s)he wants to recognize the same passion in people who are coming onboard. So, comprehensive understanding of people skills appears to be crucial here, because it dictates the development direction of the organizational structure. It is much easier for a prospective HR manager to follow the owner’s (organizational) values if the structure is set right from the beginning.


Some HR professionals suggest that you should have an HR manager as soon as the number of employees goes above 30, because from that point on, you will surely notice the lack of specialized knowledge that is crucial to keep your company competitive and not in conflict with employee rights or employment law. There are also some common indicators that can help you map your position.


If you recognize some of the following situations as your own, then the time has definitely come to just let it go and leave it all to an HR professional:


1. The number of new hires is rapidly growing (e.g. you find yourself not knowing the names of some employees)


2. You are not able to deal or resolve all your employee relations issues anymore (or you might even have one or more lawsuits on your hands)


3. You are opening another location


4. Compensation and benefits programs has become disorganized


5. Hiring process has become lengthy, complicated and difficult to get through


6. Cost of hiring an HR professional seems lower than outsourcing (hiring a professional employer organization)


Of course, many small companies let professional employer organizations take care of the HR functions, and for many of them it works. However, you should re-think and decide is that also the right choice for your rapidly growing business. Or, perhaps, having an HR person on-board would mean having someone who will be closely related to your employees, business strategy and goals, organizational culture and values. Because these are crucial prerequisites for doing the job right: finding employees who completely fit into a company culture, providing them with meaningful professional development, looking after their needs and motivation, monitoring their performance objectively, all while handling various behavioral issues and ethical problems that emerge along the way.


If your company is only as valuable as the people who work there, then having an insider taking care of people while company is growing seems more like an excellent investment, rather than an expense.


Author: Olivera Andjelkovic, Olivera Coaching & Consulting

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