A business changes as it grows. What once was a one- or two-person shop hires more talent as new roles are created to meet daily demands. Capital rises, office space expands, and business goals are set higher and higher. Throughout it all, there is one area that can make all the difference and yet is often relegated to a lower priority. A strong HR department improves your business and has become a focus for successful organizations across America.
Consider an organization that doesn’t have a true HR department. There are still HR-related activities that must be completed by somebody. After all, who processes the payroll? When an employee has a problem, who do they report it to? Who is conducting onboarding, processing hiring paperwork, or running trainings?
Despite being unrelated to an organization’s core business, HR responsibilities add up quickly for even the smallest of companies. When a specific department doesn’t exist to carry out this function, the responsibility is often shouldered by a member of the management team. Unfortunately, that typically means spending the time they don’t have to turn their focus away from business strategy and “deal” with HR duties that they may not have much knowledge in.
While some may get by with multitasking in this fashion because, as a smaller business, they feel they don’t have HR activities every day, it results in a compromise of HR’s ability to add to and improve the organization. Dedicated, expert HR professionals create a strong HR department because their focus is solely on human resources. While sometimes like payday may see a flurry of HR activity, other “slower” HR days are the times this department can focus on improving the workforce, environment, and culture. Abstaining from implementing a true HR department prohibits a company from reaching its full potential.
Each passing day seems to produce a new law or regulation that companies like yours must comply with. Even the smallest businesses have to address complex legislation, making sure they remain in compliance with applicable rules. A strong HR department is an organization’s leader in these efforts. There are payroll, tax law, employment law, benefits administration, disability, hiring, firing, and training considerations among a number of others that must be taken care of appropriately. While some of it may feel like bureaucratic paperwork, that doesn’t change the fact that one false move can cause significant issues.
Consider just one piece of this in the topic of harassment and discrimination, a hot-button issue surrounding today’s businesses. When an organization has robust training for all employees in these areas, their liabilities are greatly reduced. The workforce understands exactly what constitutes a violation and how to respond if they witness one. Management knows precisely what to do if they are presented with a claim. Instances of harassment and discrimination can drop sharply. Even if they do occur, when an organization follows all the right steps in addressing and reporting them, they clear themselves of a great deal of liability. When nearly 20% of U.S. adults have been sexually harassed at work, taking the right measures is key. The legal implications are similar for several other areas and, to be addressed appropriately, require a strong HR department.
HR is the internal face of your organization. When the department operates at subpar levels, or if someone without HR expertise is trying to run these activities on the side, it deteriorates the employee experience and negatively affects culture. If employees encounter HR disorganization and confusion, or if they have to wait weeks for answers to common HR questions, it will lower their engagement.
At a time when 87% of organizations cite culture and engagement as a top challenge, it’s clear that employees depend on a strong HR resource. When they have a question or concern, they need to know who to go to and expect rapid resolution. Above all, they must be able to trust their HR person. If the onboarding experience is streamlined, paperwork is void of mistakes, and company trainings are professional and helpful, that trust is built. When HR thrives, your employees thrive as well, and that can make all the difference in keeping them happy.
While the need for a strong HR department is clear, there’s no sugarcoating the fact it can be a difficult and costly overhaul process. For small businesses in particular, the cost of hiring HR employees may be prohibitive. Those in this position often find that a PEO like Synergy is an effective and affordable answer. In fact, businesses that partner with a PEO grow 7-9 percent faster and are 50% less likely to go out of business. At the end of the day, whether through a PEO or on your own, your HR department will determine just how far your business will succeed.