Do We Need To Hire An HR Person?

As companies reach the 25 – 45 employee mark most start to wonder if they should consider bringing an HR person on staff. Being that my sweet spot is helping companies of this size create the HR infrastructure they need to sustain growth, my answer is YES.

But it’s not, “Yes, go find any old HR person and hand them the reigns to your future”. If you’re going to bring an HR person on staff think carefully about what type of person you want because s/he will truly alter the way your business is run from an employee standpoint.

There are two different types of HR people:

1 – The traditional, compliance-focused, mandate educated, buttoned-up Human Resources Professional  who will always be looking out for the company. This person will ensure the policies are secure, the infrastructure is consistent, and the company is following all the rules. This person will typically nod their head in agreement with the statements, ‘All employees should be treated equal and consistency is the key.’

2 –  The culture focused, risk-taking, less rigid HR Pro who will push senior leadership to consider new ways of approaching employment issues. This person will be helpful in thinking through the creation of infrastructure and company policy but will make every move with a clear focus on the employees. She is okay walking in the grey area between the rules and what it will take to build a great culture full of engaged employees and is most likely to nod her head to the statement, “Every employee is different and has different circumstances so lets treat them differently”.

Either of those HR people can be great for your organization depending on what your end goal is. If you’re working in a high-risk industry where rules and structure matter a whole lot then go with the first one. I promise, that’s what you need to make sure your employees are safe and your legal butt is covered. But if you’re in the type of industry where you have a little more flexibility, don’t need to be as rigid, and really want to create a great culture for your employees (think Google, or Zappo’s) then go with option two.

Or, you can go with what Inc. suggests in this post,

“…to what extent will you look at your HR director to establish your company’s culture? If you really want a person to build upon the culture you have established, you may go into the hiring process with the expectation that you should hire two people: one to work on culture and one to assist in handling more mundane tasks such as the paperwork involved with sponsoring employee visas or benefits administration.”

Either way, I know making a decision about hiring your first HR person can be a tough one. I have tons to say on the topic so if you ever want to know more, hit me up.

About Marisa

Marisa Keegan is a leadership coach, trainer, and HR consultant for quickly growing organizations who are passionate about strengthening their employees, their brand, and their culture. She has helped lead the HR, culture, and engagement initiatives at two nationally recognized great places to work; Rackspace as Culture Maven and Modea as Talent Manger. She is an author at Fistful of Talent and Culture Fanatics. Marisa has her Masters in Industrial Organizational Psychology and currently lives with her husband and twin boys in Richmond, Virginia.
This entry was posted in Culture, Hiring, Marisa Keegan. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Do We Need To Hire An HR Person?

  1. Indy Neogy says:

    Hi Marissa,

    Nice post.
    As someone who makes culture their speciality (although I work more in change than HR) I can’t emphasise enough that even if “today’s plan” for a small company doesn’t involve someone dedicated to the culture question, it needs to be part of their future plans.

    Many founders take the culture position upon themselves, but get distracted by other important parts of running the business (notably cashflow and vision/mission questions.) Too often that means it is no-one’s responsibility – or it falls upon the HR director. Unfortunately, as the company grows beyond “45” – HR has a lot to do. If they have to fight to get someone to do the culture work, it’s probably not going to happen.

    Culture touches many parts of the business – from product/service delivery, through the way the business treats employees and the way it talks to employees and the outside world. Some of this fits easily with an HR portfolio, but the rest is not easy for an HR person to deliver on unless it’s their main focus…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s