A Personal Note from Allison:
January always brings thoughts of new beginnings and/or change. A number of my clients are looking to implement change in their businesses this month. Inevitably, the conversations we have usually come around to HR representation and what would be right for them. These conversations have contributed to this month’s article.
This is a question I get asked a lot, by existing clients and potential clients. The common belief is that “we’re too small to need HR”; or “HR is just an added cost”; or my favourite, “one of my employees took a course in HR, so we’re good”. Let me dispel these beliefs, with a list of reasons why you might need Human Resources representation in your business.
1. Your company is growing, and everyone is doing their own thing.
It’s not that people are setting out to do anything wrong, but with no boundaries people tend to do what they think is right, or more importantly – what works for them. If this is not corrected early on (before your company gets too big), it becomes more challenging to reign things in once people are comfortable with how things are being done. A Human Resources professional can help you build some structure in your business.
2. The developing culture is not what you want for your organization.
A culture will naturally develop based upon the people you have hired into your organization. Hopefully, you had a culture in mind while you were recruiting and hired people who shared your vision. If not, and if left unguided, you could end up with a culture that is counterproductive to your brand, and will be difficult to shift into what you want. A Human Resources professional will understand your desired culture and can build that in to all your people practices, beginning with job descriptions, recruiting the right people, then through training and employee engagement activities.
3. No one has ownership over employee-related issues.
Without Human Resources representation in your business, there is no one whose sole focus is to take absolute responsibility for your employees while they are at work. I am talking about ensuring your company is in compliance with the Employment Standards Act, Worker’s Compensation Act (or WorkSafeBC as it is called in British Columbia), recruiting, onboarding, training, attendance management, claims management, performance management, conflict resolution, and offboarding. OR – the person that these responsibilities do fall to, has zero training in these areas. There are a number of professional development streams that include a Human Resources course, but one course is not sufficient to ensure your company stays out of court, avoids a Human Rights complaint, or stays up to date on changing legislation that can impact your business with respect to your employees.
4. You want to make changes within your business, but are concerned about (or unaware of) potential repercussions.
A Human Resources professional is a great strategic partner for your business. Tell them where you want to take your business, and let them help you map it out, from an HR standpoint. Whether it means eliminating roles, moving people into other positions, or creating new positions, a Human Resources professional can help you in understanding your legal obligations to current employees, what changes could trigger claims of constructive dismissal, and how to build bigger or new teams to grow your business.
5. You want your organization to be a great place to work!
You are doing all the right things, now is the time to let people know! A Human Resources professional can help you get publicly recognized for offering a great place to work. This is done through employee engagement activities, surveys and applying for the various workplace recognition awards. Why would you want to do this? Simple – it increases retention, makes recruiting easier (who doesn’t want to work at a great place?), thereby saving you money! The added bonus – when you offer a great place to work, your employees are happy. When your employees are happy, they are more productive and more inclined to give you their discretionary effort. This increases your bottom line.
You might say you don’t have the budget for a full-time Human Resources representative, and you know what? You might not necessarily need someone on a full-time basis. Depending on the size of your organization, you may only need an HR professional on-site one, two or even three days per week. There are many ways to get the skills you need, when you need them. You just want to ensure you get the right skill set to meet your needs.
These are a few ways a Human Resources professional can help your business. Still think you don’t need it?
I invite you to connect with me, to learn more on this topic, and how I can help you with Human Resources in your workplace.