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By: Paul Davis on July 15th, 2015

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Ready for HR? Here's the Best First Step to Take

Risk Management | Business Management & Strategy | Employee Relations | Talent Acquisition

One of the biggest questions that businesses face as they grow is when to start working with a Human Resources (HR) professional. The best answer to that question is going to vary by the organization based on their unique needs, and it won’t always take the same form. As an HR consultant, my goal is to arm you with resources and information to help you make the right decision specific to your organization. When I speak with individuals who aren’t sure when their company should start partnering with an HR professional, I recommend that they consider the following:

First Start by Conducting an In-Depth HR Audit Review

A third-party conducted HR Assessment of your organization will reveal what HR functional areas are legally compliant and have documented and consistent processes. This sort of review commonly also reveals a number of areas in which your organization has opportunities to address gaps that aren’t illegal per se, but present high levels of risk if not addressed.

Generally speaking, employment laws that affect companies scale up with organizations based on headcount. By the time that an organization reaches 50 employees, they’re already subject to a myriad of employment laws and regulations. This is on top of additional compliance requirements based on an organization’s industry and whether they contract with the government. Making sense of this patchwork quilt of labor laws takes a substantial amount of time, training, access to resources, and effort.

The risk of not conducting an HR Audit is that a company won’t have a good idea of where its HR-related gaps and corresponding opportunities are. The agencies in charge of enforcing employment laws do not accept ignorance as a valid excuse for noncompliance.

One HR Solution Does Not Fit All

An HR Audit will only identify compliance issues and suggested areas for improvement; it won’t actually fix anything by itself. Based on an organization’s needs and constraints, the best HR solution/partnership can take a number of different forms. These solutions can take the form of:

  • Hiring a part or full-time HR professional;
  • Partnering with an HR Management Outsourcing or Consulting firm for a set amount of on-demand support (hours per week or month) or to complete a specific project;
  • Outsourcing recruiting activities on a position by position basis or hourly basis.

Businesses that carefully consider what their needs are as opposed to what other companies are doing set themselves up to have the most beneficial and impactful HR partnership. It’s typical for an organization to create an HR presence that begins by addressing the most basic and pressing HR-related needs. As these needs are addressed and the company grows it faces similar but different questions regarding bringing on additional and potentially specialized HR support.

The Unlimited Opportunities

In a labor landscape that is dominated by services, an organization’s most important assets are its people. This makes it paramount for companies to hire the right employees and act with intention in keeping them engaged and connected to the company. Deciding when to begin a company’s partnership with a Human Resources professional is the first step down this path.