Your business is only as good as the people you hire. Everyone knows this but many small companies fail to allot the budget for an HR Manager, whose primary function is supporting the people behind the products you’re pushing. Neglect of HR is particularly true in startup environments, where organizations are more focused on pushing a product into the marketplace.
But the benefits an HR Manager can bring are enormous. HR Managers are particularly important for organizations that are planning to grow. HR Managers can find talent and keep you legal and compliant with labor laws while doing it, but those are just some of the benefits they offer. Here is everything you need to know about HR Managers and why it might be time for you to find one.
What Do HR Managers Do?
HR Managers handle the tasks related to your most important assets: people. They can handle everything from hiring and firing to paying workers, overseeing benefits, and improving staff morale. They do all this while guiding companies through the tricky regulatory issues that come with hiring workers.
Most startup companies don’t make hiring an HR Manager a priority and instead adopt a do-it-yourself approach. Or they may hire a third-party vendor to handle the trickiest HR functions, such as payroll. As these companies scale, the importance of having a human resources professional onsite often becomes apparent. HR Managers keep businesses functioning by resolving workplace issues. They manage the people-centric functions of a company while serving as the perfect buffer between management and employees. HR Managers are the people administrators of the employment world, handling functions like:
- Strategizing and implementing hiring practices
- Job design and analysis
- Creating and overseeing a system of employee evaluations
- Planning and coordinating the best use of individual employee talents
- Managing employee benefits
- Advising on human resource issues like sexual harassment and diversity
- Coordinating candidate research and creating HR policies and procedures
- Overseeing a company’s recruitment, hiring, and firing processes
- Managing documentation of HR and employee issues
- Overseeing employee training
- Mediating disputes and directing employee disciplinary issues
- Organizing corporate team-building events'Managing payroll and vacations or paid time off
- Handling compliance with health, safety, and labor laws
The job varies by company, but HR Managers are frequently called upon to improve recruitment and retention of new and existing talent. In most markets, this is a huge job, as the current talent shortage requires 24/7 coverage to source and hire key positions. HR Managers can be segmented out into specialist roles. such as Payroll Managers, Recruitment Managers, or Labor Relations Directors.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says HR Managers typically have specialized training in the form of a bachelor’s or master’s degree and often attend specialized classes throughout their career in order to keep up on labor laws.
The value of an HR Manager is clear, but how do companies know when it’s time to hire one?
Is It Time to Hire an HR Manager?
Knowing the right time to hire is tricky for any small company experiencing growth. Certainly, there are budgetary issues that facilitate the decision, but there is also an element of guesswork in balancing these decisions. Here are seven questions you should ask to help you determine if it is the right time to hire an HR Manager:
- Are you frustrated with the amount of time you’re spending on administrative paperwork?
The paperwork needed for HR administration can spiral out of control. That’s especially true if the company is growing. While we know it’s common for high-growth companies to require their team members to wear many different hats, HR management is a 10-gallon Stetson. If you’re not specifically trained in the rigors of HR management, the risks associated with bringing on new talent are high. From managing the complexities of payroll to filing new hire paperwork, handling the human part of an expanding company is a full-time job.
- Is fast growth putting you on the fast track to burnout?
If the company is growing faster than expected, it will be easy to get overwhelmed. That is the downside of business expansion. Turning over the hiring process to an expert allows the existing team to focus on the core skills they were originally hired for.
- Are you struggling to communicate with employees?
As more employees come on board, effective communication will become more difficult to maintain. This is particularly true for sensitive issues such as compensation or performance. Hiring a professional to handle these issues will help your business be more productive.
- Is your staff turnover high?
Having a revolving door on your business is detrimental to morale. It will make it harder to find new talent over time. It also wastes a lot of money and time as you scramble to replace people. The first step to solving the problem may be hiring an HR Manager who can pinpoint the issues that are causing good employees to leave. They can also help improve the hiring process which may have failed to find the right people to begin with.
- Are you losing track of your employees?
Managing employees is a full-time job. If you find yourself wondering where everyone is at 9am on a Monday, you may have lost control of the most basic and important part of your business. Are the smaller details like time and labor slipping through the cracks? Is this causing the relationships you’ve built with employees to break down? You can fix this problem by adding an HR Manager whose job is to maintain these relationships.
- Do you have a system of benchmarks for employee productivity and rewards?
One of the biggest ways a Hiring Manager can help is by professionalizing the systems around hiring, reviews, and employee performance. This is a huge issue for small but scaling companies as they transition from mom-and-pop shops to businesses with more managerial layers. Variances in pay scales can cause huge rifts between employees. An HR Manager can create a system of merit-based reviews that are both fair and balanced, which helps companies retain top talent. This will set a baseline for individual employee performance that could increase corporate profitability in the long run.
- Are you confident in your ability to answer HR questions?
Do you know the current OSHA rules for health and safety? What forms of new hire paperwork are required to be stored on site at your business? What are the latest changes to employment laws in your state? Staying on top of today’s federal, state, and local regulatory issues is increasingly a full-time job. The regulatory environment changes rapidly and there are more rules than ever before. If you cannot confidently keep up with these issues, it’s time to ask for help from an HR Compliance Professional.
How Do HR Managers Pick New Hires?
One of the biggest benefits of having an HR Manager is that they can handle the tasks associated with recruiting new talent. With historic unemployment levels, recruitment has become hugely important. HR Managers work with recruiters or outsourced staffing firms to scour the market for workers. When they find them, the HR Manager has an important role during the interviewing process.
Most HR Managers go through a standard system of checks and balances in their hiring process before they select their new hire.
There are two primary ways for an HR Manager to assess and pick a new hire. The first is the review process that typically involves phone, video, and in-person interviews.
The second part is that element of guesswork in the HR Manager’s decision-making process, which requires something that is not very sophisticated or organized: human intuition. Human intuition is that process of knowing instinctively whether you trust another person. While the HR Manager backs up their gut check with facts from the candidate’s job history, it is the candidate’s intangibles that require the HR Manager to use their experience and feelings to ensure you hire the right talent.
Most HR Managers will suggest that the hiring process is logical and scientific, and for the most part, it is. But the best HR Managers also bring great people skills that help them decide if the employee is a good fit for the culture of the organization.
Challenges for HR Managers
The biggest challenge today for HR Managers is finding new talent. The days of placing an ad and having jobseekers knocking on your door are over. Attracting new candidates takes time, technology, and hard work.
Since most workers are currently employed, hiring today requires extensive effort to source new candidates. Sourcing is the process of building relationships with candidates that are open to a change but not actively looking for a new job. It’s a process that must be implemented regularly to keep a steady pipeline of potential candidates ready to move forward to interviews. Companies without an HR Manager simply don’t have the time to cultivate these relationships. As a company grows, the HR Manager may no longer have time for sourcing and recruiting. That is when they turn to a full-time in-house or third-party recruiting firm.
How Does a Staffing Agency Work with an HR Manager?
A staffing agency is the next logical progression of a company’s expansion. An agency can take on the full-time process of finding and building relationships with job candidates. It can help businesses find higher quality candidates by applying proven targeted search techniques based on the job skills you need. The best staffing agencies have already cultivated relationships with high-quality candidates. Hiring a staffing agency gives HR Managers a pre-built network of potential new hires.
Partnering with a staffing firm can free up HR Managers to work on some of the most challenging issues we see hampering employee retention today:
- Job incentives are key to attracting top talent. That’s why HR Managers must focus on building hiring packages that aren’t just about money. Today’s candidates care about work-life balance, the ability to work remotely, career development and job training, and extended family and maternity leave. If the HR Manager focuses on building these benefits, along with a competitive pay scale, they will stand a better chance of attracting top talent.
- Employee retention is imperative in a 4% unemployment market. Corporate culture plays a huge role in the retention of employees, but so does new employee onboarding. HR Managers must address the challenges of employee retention by improving the work environment and the relationships between workers so that they keep more of their top talent, even when competing firms come calling. A positive corporate culture and the best salary and benefits packages, as well as a systematized way for workers to climb the ladder to management, are all crucial to employee retention.
- Workforce training and development are crucial parts of employee retention that are too often overlooked. Finding the time to focus on this is problematic for the typical HR Manager. Setting up a system of metrics to help employees establish and reach their training goals is imperative for keeping employees long-term. But how do you deal with frontline employees that may not have time to step away and receive additional training? These conundrums can be solved when HR Managers are freed up to focus on these issues.
If finding new talent was easy, HR Managers would never hire staffing firms like Artisan Talent. Our job is to help HR and Hiring Managers focus on building the core strengths of the business to retain employees longer. We can help you find the high-quality talent you want to attract.