A growing business faces new problems. When those problems are people-centered, as opposed to financial or sales or production, you may need an HR professional, maybe someone from within the company who has earned an online human resources degree.
What does an HR pro do?
- Recruit and Hire
- Authorize eligibility to work
- Orient new employees
- Evaluate performance
- Determine compensation
- Maintain employee records
- Help develop policy
- Administer benefits
- Process workers’ compensation
- Accept and process employee complaints
The need for a Human Resources Generalist arises with the growth in the number of employees. When you business is very small, you can handle these functions personally. With a dozen or so employees, you can delegate the work to a responsible clerk. But, as you approach 100 employees, things get more complicated; for example, the number of employees puts you into a position where you must comply with more Federal regulations.
So, there is no magic number of employees, but beyond 100 employees, you should be looking for at least a Human Resources Clerk. This position would be administrative only, processing payroll, administering the benefits, and maintaining records. If your business continues to grow, you may want to develop this employee to handle more responsibilities. A human resources degree would certainly help bring this person up to speed.
When you see the company culture beginning to deteriorate because the HR duties have grown beyond the ability of the clerk specialist or when you find that the employees’ needs and demands are affecting your growth and goals, it is time to expand the HR function. There is a great deal of truth in the idea that satisfied employees produce better work.
Complete a checklist:
- Formal posters – explaining employee rights under Federal and State law – are required if all you have is one employee.
- Employee files should have required documents – application, right to work I-9, tax information, and so on – in a certain order, a labor-intensive responsibility.
- Employee Handbooks include the company policies on benefits, tardiness and absenteeism, discipline, and so on.
- A system to review and assess employee performance on a regular schedule needs to be followed and documented.
- A structured and consistent application of a compensation plan needs a neutral voice and administrator.
- Recruiting, hiring, and orientation duties are too burdensome for the business owner.
- Someone needs to run interference when there is high employee turnover.
- Communications are the key to a positive business culture, and the business needs someone to cultivate it.
In a small business environment, every employee issue and incident has a larger impact than it does in a large business because the small company needs the maximum effort and output of each employee. An HR Professional or Department is an added expense to a business, but it can save the company money:
- Enforce the culture’s mission and values.
- Make crucial information accessible to owners, managers, and employees.
- Reduce employee complaints and lawsuits.
If a Human Resources professional does nothing more than take weight off the shoulders of the owner/manager, the function earns its keep. Now, an educated HR professional is even more effective and productive.
You can get a good lead on Human Resources professionals in your area by contacting professional associations, such as the National Human Resources Association or Society for Human Resources Management. You need to focus on the education completed by candidates. A good candidate will have an Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources, but you may find a potential candidate among your current staff. This subsidy will be repaid by quality performance into the future.
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