For many companies who have experienced rapid growth, Human Resources is an after thought. You start out with two employees and before you know it, you’ve grown to over 25. Life in the office goes from being fairly simple to highly complex.
When you are a small company, it is easy to operate on the fly. In fact, some employees find it thrilling to work in an environment where everything is informal. Unfortunately, there are many others who have a difficult time operating in an organization where the only thing that is predictable is change.
Like it or not, it may very well be time to formalize HR processes and procedures in your organization. No need to panic. You can easily accomplish this by hiring an HR Expert.
What’s the role of an HR Expert?
Think of an HR Expert like you would a VP of HR. Only you don’t have to provide this person with a fancy office and a big salary. The services of an HR expert vary depending on the company’s needs and the consultant’s depth of experience. Just-in-time services range from writing an employee handbook to helping guide you through complex HR issues.
Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. When evaluating consultants, focus on the value they can bring to your organization. A small decrease in turnover or an increase in productivity will more than pay for this investment.
So how do you know when it’s the right time to hire an outside HR Expert? Here are some clues:
You no longer know right from wrong-When you first started your business, you were feeling pretty comfortable addressing HR issues in your organization. After all, how hard could it be making up policies, such as vacation time, as you needed them? Now was it Bob or Mary that you promised an additional week of paid vacation? If you can’t remember, ask either one of them. They know exactly what the other one has.
You are having a difficult time keeping up with all the rules and regulations-Some leaders find it hard to let go, so they try to manage everything. This requires a great deal of reading and a terrific memory. Before you enroll in a three-day seminar on the fundamentals of HR management, ask yourself if this time would be better spent dramatically improving your product and enhancing your market position.
You believe you can do it all in house-Why hire an expert when you can use software to automate all of HR? Take employee handbooks. For a few hundred dollars you can do it yourself. Or can you? You probably could if you had the knowledge that it took to answer the series of questions that need responses. But if you could do this, then why would you need to buy the software?
Save yourself the money and aggravation. Hire an expert who can get the work done right the first time and in a way that works for your company. Then cross this important item off of your long list of things to do.
You are not Atlas-When you are experiencing rapid growth, it’s easy to forget that you need a strong foundation to support your company’s growth. Imagine what would happen if you decided to build a 5,000 square foot house on a foundation that is meant to support a 2,000 square foot home. Your house will eventually collapse.
The same is true for organizations that have grown rapidly and have not established a strong base. Through luck, or by throwing out huge sums of money, you might have attracted star players to your team. But few people will stay once they realize that they have joined a squad that is experiencing lots of growing pains. Invest in your infrastructure beforehand, to ensure you retain those valuable resources.
You can no longer look around the office and call each employee by their name-If you’ve reached this point, then you probably should have hired an expert several years ago. That being said, it is not too late. Now where are those name tags kept?
Despite what you might have heard, there is no magic formula for deciding when it is time to bring in an HR Expert. The right time is when you are serious about decreasing your legal exposure, enhancing employee engagement and dramatically increasing productivity and profitability.
© 2008 Human Resource Solutions. All rights reserved.
About the Author:
Roberta Chinsky Matuson is the President of Human Resource Solutions (www.yourhrexperts.com) and has been helping companies align their people assets with their business goals. She is considered an expert in generational workforce issues. Roberta publishes a monthly newsletter HR Matters http://www.yourhrexperts.com/hrjoin.cgi which is jammed with resources, articles and tips to help companies navigate through sticky and complicated HR workforce issues. Click here to read her new blog on Generation Integration http://generationintegration.typepad.com/matuson/. She can be reached at 413-582-1840 or Roberta@yourhrexperts.com.