Entrepreneurs starting out in business are expected to do it all. Build a business, make sales, create a product, buy the tea and clean the toilets. While surviving on savings and baked beans!
Once you are successfully growing your business there comes a time when you will need expertise beyond your own skill set in HR. Maybe this is driven by a recruitment need if you are an investor backed business, or if growing organically, it can be when dealing with people is taking up time and money. Some studies estimate that small business owners can spend up to 40% of their time dealing with HR and people -related issues. This is time you simply don’t have.
Our advice gained through hard won experience is that a lot of pain can be saved by hiring someone to look after your people once you hit a critical stage. While there is strong evidence that the ratio of employees to HR practitioner in UK businesses is falling, the truth is that the bare numbers are a poor guide to what you should do in your business as there are other factors in the mix. So much depends on the following criteria:
Your growth trajectory.
If your investors are expecting exponential growth and rapid hiring, definitely hire someone who understands recruitment and can leverage the latest tools and platforms to deliver high quality hires. This will be critical to your growth and success, and recruitment agencies are rarely able to deliver in our experience. Hiring an excellent Head of Talent to create and refine your candidate brand, engagement and selection process will pay dividends.
Your skills needs.
Do you have vacancies in specialist, high demand or hard to find roles? Or is your requirement generic and easily filled? Are you located in a region where there are skills shortages or do you have candidates knocking your doors down? Finding a person to get under the skin of your potential candidates and recruit passively, without going out to market is vital in the first scenario.
Your business complexity.
A complex business with multiple processes will require higher skill sets and therefore there will be more complex HR requirements that go beyond recruiting, basic training, and pay review. Think about how you are going to develop the next level of managers beyond the senior team, how are you going to ensure you drive teamwork and innovation through the business, create a positive workplace culture and motivate your employees. All of this will require a skilled person who can translate the latest concepts and thinking from organisational science into your workplace.
Your personal beliefs and values.
Presumably you have started a business because at some level, you want to make the world a better place. For us at Air, it was to put the latest and best tools for creating a fantastic company culture into the hands of the small start up entrepreneur. We call it democratising HR.
And for the vast majority of entrepreneurs and business leaders we know, their purpose goes beyond making a profit. They want to build a great organisation that enhances the potential in employees. And in the long run, it is these entrepreneurs who are successful. To articulate and translate your values into actions, you will need a skilled HR/people/talent team to translate your values into action.
Take a look at some of the resources on Air to help you and your HR team manage your HR challenges while you are growing. Use Air’s beautifully designed, simple and intuitive platform to automate routine tasks, keep everyone updated with important information, and allow employees to manage their time off.
You’ll be well on the way to creating a workplace people will fall in love with.