I give a lot of advice away and cover all sorts of HR related topics on my website. But one of the subjects I haven’t covered recently though is the very fundamental question of whether HR really matters at all. So what is HR and why do you need it?
What are core HR functions
Let’s start with a bit of real word common sense. The truth is that when most business owners start their journey they don’t really think about the ins and outs of having a workforce. Usually this is because in the early days they either don’t have one or it is a small group of invested employees. As the team grows though, managers soon realise that there is a lot more to employing people than they initially thought. There are legal requirements, processes that must be adhered to, employment regulations and a hundred other things that need attending to. It doesn’t take long for them to realise they are much more valuable to the company when they are actually running it. Inevitably, as a business starts to grow, they will need the services of an HR specialist.
What is HR in jargon free terms?
Well, it does tend to vary quite a bit depending on the business but as a rule HR will cover some or all of these key areas:
- Recruiting and onboarding new employees
- Paying and rewarding employees
- Managing employment relationships
- Being compliant with employment law
- Making sure employees are happy and motivated
- Helping employees to learn and develop
As you can see most of these are about process. They are the things that take up your time and also need some specialist knowledge of UK law and/or compliance as well as knowledge of what constitutes best practice. If you think of something that it a process of employment, it probably comes under the remit of your HR.
…But it’s not just paperwork.
While the above may well be the first things that spring to mind when most people think about the functions of an HR expert, they are far from being the whole story. All employers should be aware of the need for a strong support ethos for their employees and this is something covered by HR. When your team is being managed properly, they will engage with the goals of the business more readily and show loyalty to their employer. If the workforce is well looked after and a business focuses on the people within it, productivity improves and employee turnover falls. According to the University of Warwick this productivity jump is often around 12%. An HR consultant will look for ways to ensure this happens. They will work with you and act as a catalyst for improved relations in the workplace.
When it comes to employing new team members a HR specialist can be invaluable in creating or enhancing your unique employment proposition. In the current employment market, with a significant skills gap, smaller numbers of candidates and generally low unemployment, the hard truth is that your employer brand matters. Everything from your job specification to the ongoing development of employees, will affect your chances of successfully attracting the right talent.
HR is a key factor in your success
So far, we have talked about the practicalities of good human resources and what it means to when HR is done right, but what happens if it is done wrong? Well, some of the consequences of that could be:
- Costly legal issues with employees
- Difficulties recruiting people
- High turnover of team members in key positions
- Untrained or inappropriately skilled workers
- Disengagement in the workplace leading to toxic cultures
- Downturn in productivity
- A lack of compliance
For any business, but particularly for one that is hoping to grow in what is looking like a difficult year, getting your HR right is a necessity. Even putting aside all the other factors we have already discussed, consider the financial impact of just one legal problem or one unfilled key position. When it comes to recruitment, a bad hire can cost a business thousands, in fact it can be three times the salary paid. In short, engaging an external HR consultant is a positive move financially, because without one, you could be open to expensive problems and potentially missing an opportunity to increase your productivity and profitability.
Call me on 01604 261380 and let’s talk about how I can help your business to grow and thrive through your people with straight talking HR expert advice and guidance.