I’ve been lucky enough to work with a number of smaller organisations who are growing fast and require specific HR expertise. Bringing in your first HR specialist can often feel like a big step but adds huge value. Activities that previously the founder(s) needed to manage can be handed over and streamlined, and that requires a trusted partnership between the HR expert and the leader.
So, what are the points at which a growing business needs to bring a HR specialist in?
“Resourcing is so time consuming and I have growth and client delivery to focus on”
Often a business grows by hiring from the founder(s) own network. Who do they know that is awesome? Let’s bring them in! But it always reaches a point when their network is exhausted and more specialist sourcing needs are required. The business leader is sourcing in their spare time as well as running the business and they need that additional expertise.
This is often how I have worked with new clients. They need help to find someone exceptional. And we all know that hiring mistakes can be costly – not just financially but also in regards to the impact on the team, with clients and on the firm’s reputation in the market.
“I want to be THE employer of choice for my sector”
The business recognises that people are its biggest asset and wants specialist expertise to help lead, engage and enable its Human Resources. A business leader who recognises the value of expert insight, knowledge, talent development, engagement and a people plan aligned to the business strategy is exciting! I was lucky enough to have that door opened for me previously and knowing you have a business that’s receptive to your HR mind is wonderful.
Even a small business, with part time HR support, can lay excellent foundations for growth across the employee experience which can help scale and drive organisational growth.
“I’ve made a mistake; can you help me?”
A business owner is rarely an expert on everything and sometimes they can get it wrong. It may be accidental (we didn’t know we had to enrol everyone in a workplace pension), through poor practices (we paid people incorrectly or late) or terrible judgement (we dismissed her without notice). Regardless of the reason, they can impact an employee’s experience of working for a business and have huge implications (legally, on your reputation, financially, personally).
An expert HR partner can swoop in and support the business to resolve that situation. However, it’s not just about that one-off occasion. HR’s role, in my opinion, is not to ‘manage the situation for the manager’. The role and value we can add is to help, coach and enable the manager to resolve that situation and equip them with the skills and knowledge to manage future occasions which may arise. In addition, also implementing processes and ways of working (or at least its our duty to propose them) which minimise that situation arising again – these are positive contributions that can be made to the employee experience. That is where HR can really add the value.
“My team are asking me for support on HR matters and I don’t know how to help them”
An employee is pregnant and wants advice on her maternity leave. An employee wants a personal development plan to achieve their professional goal to become a project manager. A team asks about team building and how they can become a high performing team.
Such exciting things for people to be requesting! The business realises that they need specialist help and reach out to an HR professional. When the wider business and the leader realises the value of HR there is great scope to add value to a business.
I personally love working with organisations of all sizes and from varied sectors to really see the value that HR can bring. Whatever the reason for my introduction to the business, it’s always a challenge and an opportunity to see where value can be added and to help tailor an impactful and exciting HR plan for the business.
By Caroline Arora, HR Director with Pallot-Cook Consulting