Hiring a human resources representative can sometimes be the thing that separates a startup from a more stable business. HR professionals help take over several aspects of the business that can be crucial to maintaining company culture – hiring processes, legal compliance, payroll and employee relations.
Not all business owners will feel the need to hire a human resources professional. But here are a few reasons why it may be necessary.
Many owners like to interview potential employees, causing them to hold off on hiring an HR rep for their small business. It’s understandable, especially when the new employee will be in his or her direct hierarchy or team.
What an HR representative would be able to do though is filter out the candidates that will be a definite mismatch by conducting a simple prescreening. This can save owners and hiring managers an immense amount of time.
By having an HR rep conduct prescreening, it can reveal potential red flags and prevent wasteful interviews. Human resources professionals can also be put in charge of handling all the paperwork involved in the hiring process; another time saver.
Takeaway: Hiring an HR rep for your small business doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to hand over the entire interview process. Consider this person more of a supplement to ensure that the candidates that do make it in front of you are worthy of being there.
Administering healthcare plans to employees can sometimes be known as the root of all evil. It’s the headache that never seems to go away. Handing this responsibility over to someone who may know more about it than an owner or any other employee may be the best decision ever made.
For instance, beginning in 2015, the Affordable Care Act required employers with 100 or more full-time (or full-time equivalent) employees to choose between offering healthcare to those employees and their dependents or pay a tax. Employers with 50 but less than 100 full-time (or full-time equivalent) employees had until 2016 before these rules applied.
The person best fit to handle to this responsibility may very well could have been the owner. But having an HR professional take over these types of tasks would certainly have alleviated some of the burden.
Takeaway: Even though you may be able to handle healthcare-related duties for your employees, do you really want to? And are you well-versed enough to not miss anything? If your answers are “no,” then having an HR rep take care of these issues may be the way to go.
“I’d like to take my kids to Disney World next week. I am putting in a request to have Thursday and Friday off.”
“I’ve been here for six months now. I have completed all of my projects and excelled in my role. I want a 5% raise.”
Without an HR representative, these requests are generally sent straight to the owner. Even though regulations are clearly written in the employee manual, the requests for extended vacation days and pay increases seem to always flow in.
Spending too much time on negotiating these requests can be damaging to the bigger focuses of the business. They take your time away from other, perhaps more important tasks that require a greater part of your time and attention.
Takeaway: If you find that your employees are coming to you too often, interrupting whatever task you’re working on and causing you to break your concentration, it may be time to hire an HR rep. This person can serve as a barrier, keeping your distractions to a minimum so you can better run your small business.
It often seems that employees are never happy. Or if they are happy, it isn’t for very long.
Now, more people seem to be switching from job to job and retaining employees is requiring a little more effort. It isn’t just about the amount of vacation days or the amount of money offered (although sometimes it is). It’s also about keeping a safe working environment. A place for people to enjoy being. After all, half of a person’s day is spent in the office.
A human resources employee can do a lot when it comes to keeping the good talent around. They can create employee-satisfaction surveys and analyze some of the strengths and weaknesses in the company culture. They can plan activities and events for coworkers to attend after work hours to enable a more relaxed environment for employees.
Of course, some owners like to join in on the office fun. That’s no problem at all. Just leave the planning up to the HR rep.
Takeaway: Whether your goal is to reduce employee turnover or increase employee happiness (or both!), using an HR rep as a resource for your small business can be invaluable to the process. Besides, if the reason the employee is unhappy has anything to do with you, they’ll likely be more honest with HR. While no one likes to think that they’re the cause of the problem, if there’s a small fix you can make to improve your work environment, wouldn’t you want to know about it?
So, Do You Need an HR Rep for Your Small Business?
If you’re still not sure whether hiring an HR rep is the way to go, not to worry. Business owners in this predicament should simply ask themselves these four questions:
- Am I wasting time interviewing too many potential employees?
- Do I need help administering healthcare plans?
- Am I spending too much time negotiating with my employees?
- Am I struggling with retaining employees?
If “yes” was the answer to any of these questions, it might be time to look into hiring an HR representative.