Why Your Startup Should Emphasize HR
As a new company just getting off of the ground, you need every aspect of your organization to work like clockwork. You need to continuously earn profits to fund your product line, nurture good employees who can help your company thrive, and create a human resources department to ensure that everything goes off without a hitch.
By JORI HAMILTON
Many startup entrepreneurs may assume that an HR department is the last thing they need with so few employees, but moving forward without one could be a very costly mistake. To get you started on the right foot, let’s talk about the type of HR rep you need and how they can help your company grow in all the right ways.
The HR You Need
It is important to know what to look for when it comes time to hire an HR representative for your organization. There are many types of positions under the HR umbrella, from assistants to managers to human resources directors, but you don’t have to hire several people right off the bat. Instead, you need to hire an HR generalist.
This individual is a jack of all trades when it comes to employee matters and business-building tasks. They onboard employees, create training materials, and ensure that your company remains in compliance as your organization grows.
When interviewing for an HR position, you will want to find a candidate that has a bachelor’s degree in human resources and ideally has years of previous experience. In a best-case scenario, you may even find an HR representative who has experience with other startups, so they may know what to expect.
Building Your Business
Having an HR representative on staff is essential when you are first building your business because they can ensure that you do so properly and efficiently. When you are ready to bring on new employees, your HR generalist can create a comprehensive list of job titles and write detailed job descriptions so potential candidates know your needs as a company and how their qualifications may fit in.
Once you find a few promising candidates, HR can also hold interviews and help you hire the best people. One of the benefits of having your generalist complete the interviews is the unbiased nature they’ll bring to the hiring process. They know the type of people your company needs, so they look at all candidates through the same lens so there is no favoritism.
Your HR rep should also be involved in helping you to set up fair compensation and benefits packages for all employees. When the company owner handles pay and employee raises on a case-by-case basis, they are opening themselves up to potential conflict and may risk accusations of favoritism. Instead, an HR professional can set up a pay structure and ensure that every employee is paid correctly by basing pay raises on merit alone.
Once you get your business off of the ground, your HR representative can help your workforce thrive by creating development and training programs for the employees. You likely want your staff members to complete their tasks similarly for maximum efficiency. In most situations, it would be very difficult, if not entirely impossible, to teach each employee individually. An HR team, on the other hand, can set up a training program that all employees can take upon joining the organization without bothering company leaders.
Human resources can also help to further develop employees so they can grow within the company. These days, many employees are more concerned with growth and advancement than they are about getting a paycheck, so you need to provide a clear path for promotion.
Your HR representative can speak to you and discuss where your organization is now and how you plan to grow in the future. They can create pathways and stepping stones that show employees what they need to do to reach the next level of their career. When employees know that a company truly wants them to succeed, they will appreciate the effort and stay for years to come.
Keep You Out Of Legal Trouble
When you are starting a business from scratch, an HR representative can also help you to navigate any potential legal pitfalls that can be easy to forget about during all the hustle and bustle. To keep your startup out of hot water, all rules, benefits, and important aspects of your business should be properly covered in a comprehensive employee handbook.
With this handbook created by HR, every employee will know what to expect on a day-to-day basis. In addition to providing essential information, having expectations in writing can protect you in the case of a lawsuit.
All expectations should be stated clearly within the workbook, including the details about clocking in for lunch and breaks, details about vacation and sick time, and expectations regarding dress code and grooming. If an employee ever has a question about a topic in the employee handbook, they should speak to HR for an answer.
Your HR representative can also be a lifesaver when it comes to employee safety. For the most part, they should be the primary contact in the case that a worker is injured on the job. Not only will HR be able to get them the help they need, but they can also navigate workers’ compensation issues if it gets to that point.
Keep in mind that workers’ compensation doesn’t only cover physical pain but also mental health issues as well. If an employee is experiencing feelings of stress or anxiety, they can also file a claim. Since such situations should be handled with kid gloves, it is a good idea to have an HR rep on staff to ensure that everything is handled properly.
Since workers’ compensation claims can cost your company money, it is best to avoid a situation in the first place by creating a culture of safety within your organization. Your HR rep can help you in this regard and ensure that your business is always in full compliance on the safety front.
The human resources department should also have an open-door policy in the case that an employee feels less engaged, stressed, or depressed. In addition to being a shoulder to cry on, the HR rep can also find a new arrangement for the employee so they feel better about their work and don’t have to resort to a claim.
As you can see, a good human resources representative is the cornerstone of a successful startup. Just remember that as your business grows, so should your HR department so you can continue to stay protected and follow the right path to corporate success.