Written by Jill Krumholz and Susan Kreeger – RealHR Solutions LLC for SmartCEO
Often, we are asked by business owners why and when to invest in Human Resources. If you believe, as Google does, that building a remarkable brand requires attracting and retaining the right talent, developing employees and motivating performance, then the tipping point for you is now.
Although the value of Human Resources has been debated for years, in the current business climate, there are increasingly more reasons to commit to a HR function, all of which have significant impact on a company’s bottom line:
- A rise in the number of federal, state, and local regulations that govern the workplace, and associated costs of non-compliance.
- The importance of hiring, developing, and retaining the right talent, and the expense of turnover.
- Challenges that come with a global, multicultural and multi-generational workforce.
- The costs of healthcare and other employee benefits.
As you consider the importance of your employees to your businesses success, take an informed look at your workplace with a proactive and practical approach.
- Are you hiring and retaining the best talent for your company and company culture?
- Are there specific competencies that are critical to the person’s success in the position and to their contribution to your organization?
- Are you tapping into the right candidate pool, vetting candidates by asking the right interview questions, keeping candidates engaged in the process, and making timely offers before losing your best candidates to your competition?
- Do you know if your salary and benefits programs are competitive with the external markets where you compete for talent?
- Are you on-boarding new employees in a way that educates and supports them to be their best?
- Do you know if employees are engaged in their work and understand/are committed to company goals?
- Are you compensating your employees fairly and in a way that is meaningful to them?
- Are you investing in training and development to grow and retain your internal talent?
- Are you losing valued employees to competitors?
- Are employee concerns and issues being addressed?
- Do you properly classify your employees and pay overtime when required?
- Are you confident that you provide required documents to new hires and current staff, and retain documents properly?
- Do you have complaints filed against your company by current or former employees, or have you been contacted by the government regarding an employment-related matter?
- Do you have a process for employees to report complaints?
Solutions to consider in response to the challenges (you can keep it simple):
- Develop a recruitment strategy that reflects the needs of the company, and holds managers accountable for the right hires.
- Develop an onboarding process to orient and support new hires, as well as obtain and provide required documentation.
- Create an employee handbook that is compliant, communicates company policies and sets the right tone for your company culture.
- Create job descriptions to be used for hiring and set benchmarking salaries to ensure external competitiveness and internal equity.
- Develop an employee performance process to evaluate and fairly reward employees for their work.
- Assess employee engagement through surveys, interviews and other methods.
- Invest in HR technology to manage employee-related information.
- Train your staff, at a minimum, on conducting interviews and respect in the workplace.
In addition to addressing compliance and operational practices, it is important to consider the people development strategies that impact customer loyalty, the health of your business and the overall value of your company. Some initiatives you might consider include: creating communication platforms; providing employee, leadership and management development programs; evaluating employee engagement and creating succession plans.
Investing in HR also requires that you determine who will do the work. Depending on your company culture, people and financial resources, consider options that will work for you:
- Build internal capability: Develop someone on your staff to take on the responsibilities for HR solutions (you may want to spread the responsibilities among different people such as your CFO, COO or someone on their staff.
- Build external relationships: create partnerships with your benefits broker, employment counsel, or HR consultant to handle all or parts of the process you are not able to build internally.
- Hire an expert: If you do not have the required skills, consider hiring an HR professional, either full-time or part-time, to manage the HR function.
Making the decision to spend time and resources on managing your employees is essential to grow your business. It will allow you to hire and retain the best and most committed, minimize the risk of penalties or costly employment litigation, and enable you to focus on the bottom line.