4 March 2014
Human Resources (HR) is usually associated with larger organisations, and many SMEs think they can get by perfectly well without an employment expert. But if you’re getting bogged down in personnel issues or are a growing company, you might need to consider hiring a Human Resources management professional.
What is HR?
So, what does the Human Resources department do? Most people are aware that they handle matters such as recruitment, payroll, employment policies and benefits. They often act as a go-between for employees and managers, and can clarify basic company information such as maternity leave and sick pay.
What people don’t realise, however, is that they also work with managers to help develop long-term strategies for growth and development, and implement training procedures.
The most successful companies view Human Resources management as a vital link to growth from the outset, but the majority of firms with fewer than 50 employees don’t have a dedicated human resources department.
When does a company need a dedicated HR person?
Every company’s strategy is different, but you probably need to hire an HR manager if:
- You’re expanding rapidly
A company is only as successful as the employees who work for it, so if you’re hiring new staff at an increasing rate or opening a second location it might be difficult to ensure you recruit and retain the best staff without a dedicated HR person. They can help you create job descriptions and person specifications to ensure you attract top talent.
They can also be tasked with reviewing each of your employees’ performance on a regular basis to determine areas of strength and weakness, identifying where improvements need to be made and making recommendations based on where they’re best suited.
- You can’t keep on top of changes to employment law
By 2017, even the smallest companies auto-enrolled their employees into a pension scheme and made contributions to that scheme themselves, while in 2015 shared parental leave was introduced, and changes to sickness absence were also brought in. An HR manager can make sure you’re up to date with all the latest changes to employment law.
- Employee disputes are on the rise
The more employees you have, the greater risk of issues such as harassment claims, pay disputes and unfair treatment cropping up. The consequences of handling these types of situation badly could end up with you being sued. An HR manager is responsible for handling conflicts in the workplace, and should be able to avoid lawsuits through mediation. Harmonious employee relations are important for the success of any business.
- You’re spending too long on personnel issues
Many SMEs are put off hiring a dedicated HR professional because of the cost, but this means that key people in their business are forced to spend time on employment issues – time that could be spent elsewhere. So if you want to concentrate more on growing your business, an HR person could deal with all your legal requirements, policies and procedures, making sure they’re in line with current employment law.