Small businesses generally don’t need to hire a full time HR manager. Their focus is primarily on running their business and helping it grow, which is exactly where it should be.
However, when a business has employees there are still HR responsibilities that need to take place. In small businesses, these duties are usually handled by the Office Manager or sometimes even the CEO of the company. Generally, these individuals will look for assistance in trying to navigate the HR world that they are not familiar with.
Two Different Types of Resources
There are numerous tools that a company can purchase or download that provide different types of HR resources. Payroll companies often provide access as part of their services to an online resource that may include templates for handbooks and job descriptions, as well as access to an HR “virtual file cabinet” where employee information may be stored electronically. These provide quick tools that the business has access to 24/7, however, the individual handling the HR responsibilities is still the one who needs to do the work to customize the templates without a lot of guidance.
Businesses that decide to establish a relationship with an HR professional, whether it’s utilizing an HR Consultant to help ensure compliance with federal and state labors laws as well as current best practices or outsourcing the entire HR function may like the fact that they have a “live” person that they can talk to – someone who can help guide them through the somewhat confusing maze of labor laws, policy development, and employee relations issues that arise.
How to Decide What is Right for Your Company
When you’re trying to decide whether it makes more sense to utilize some of the great online tools that are out there or invest in an HR consultant, here are a few things to think about:
How do you want to interact with all that is out there?
There is so much available in the way of online tools for guidance and advice platforms with artificial intelligence (AI) that can help make workflows easier that it can be overwhelming. How do you pick the one that is right for your business’ needs? How often will you need to upgrade the platforms to keep up with the constant changes in regulations, especially if your business operates in more than one state? Many of these tools may contain industry language that the non-HR professional might not be familiar with which could create more challenges.
What is the best way to delegate the HR functions to an office manager or other administrative employee?
Since the office manager, CFO, or someone in a different administrative role will generally wear the HR hat in a small business, it is important to figure out how to delegate the company’s “people management” function to their plate that is already overflowing with responsibilities. It’s important to remember that most of the time, the individuals in these roles don’t have any HR training and may benefit more from having someone that they can call who has the experience and judgement to put their mind at ease, answer their questions, and guide them through difficult situations.
What makes the most sense for your business now and as you grow?
A small business may start out with just a few employees and be able to manage all of the basic HR requirements at this size. However, as the business grows and continues to hire employees, the responsibility to maintain compliance with all of the federal and state regulations, even by utilizing online resources, becomes overwhelming. If the business expands into additional states or even simply hires one or two employees in other states that can complicate matters with trying to understand what regulations they are now required to follow. By establishing a relationship with an HR consultant, some of these concerns may be alleviated. The consultant can help the business understand what their responsibilities are in these situations, ideally in terms that are simple and not full of industry jargon or legalese.
How will you create your company culture?
A company’s culture is such a big part of what attracts people to an organization and also what keeps them there. Culture can sometimes be hard to define and develop. An HR consultant can work with the small business owner in a way that online tools are not equipped to do in order to help shape a company’s culture. This could mean developing it from infancy or changing an existing culture that may not be as effective as it was at one time. Consultants can help the business put the mission, vision, and values into practice to create a company culture that makes the business a great place to work.
Small business owners often don’t think about the need for HR support. When they do, there are options available in different forms and it is important to take the time to research and figure out what will work best for their needs, both current and future.
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