By: Amy Dozier on August 13th, 2014

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The Best Way to Structure Your HR Department

Total Rewards | Business Management & Strategy | Best Practices

At Helios, we are often asked to recommend how to best structure an organization’s HR Department.  You may have heard the rule of thumb is 1 HR professional for every 100 employees.  Unfortunately, it is not that simple and there is no “one size fits all” solution.  There are a lot of factors that go into determining the right solution for your organization.

The first step is to assess the current state of your HR function and determine whether it is compliant and effective.  Here are a few high level questions to help you answer that question.

Is your HR Function Compliant & Effective?

  • Do you already have a strong HR infrastructure and resources?
  • Are you compliant with Federal, state, and local laws and regulations?
  • Are your policies and procedures documented and consistently followed?
  • Are you able to attract and retain top talent with a competitive Total Rewards package?
  • Are you using existing technology effectively to maximize potential?
  • Are employees engaged and always performing at their highest potential?
  • Are HR’s priorities aligned with the organization’s short- and long-term strategic objectives?

Once you take a deep dive into and get an understanding of the current state of your HR function as it is today, you will be better able to determine what HR’s priorities should be to remain or become compliant and effective.

Next, I recommend starting with a blank piece of paper to map out the department’s ideal structure.  If you have a strong HR function that is meeting the needs of the organization, is compliant, and has developed and implemented programs that are attracting and retaining your workforce, the 1 to 100 rule may work for you.  However, the less infrastructure currently in place, the more resources you will need to build a strong HR function while continuing to meet the needs of the organization on a daily basis.  Once you map the ideal structure, and this is where some difficult decisions may need to be made, determine if who you currently have on staff meet the needs of the organization moving forward.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to have the right people in the right roles.  I may sound a little trite and a little heartless, but you have a business to run and if you do not put the right people in place now, all the work you did assessing the HR function will have been a waste.

So before you identify what your HR function should look like, evaluate the state of the HR function to ensure that the roles and the people you put into place will be able to support the organization in meeting its strategic objectives.