How To Have A Successful HR Department Of One

Human Resources is at the core of every business because it focuses on their biggest resource: their people. But, that doesn’t mean that it’s always feasible to have a full-time HR team to get the job done. An HR department of one is a necessity for many businesses; our HR Business Partner, Heath Lundy, is sharing her best tips for small HR teams to boost their productivity. 

What Are The Functions Of An HR Department?

You know that the HR department are your people-people. While the HR functions can change depending on your company size and structure, they tend to fall into the following categories: employee relations, training and development, talent acquisition and retention, compliance, and total rewards.

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What Are The Top Priorities For HR?

For any HR department, time management is key, and that’s even more important for small HR departments. Making sure your HR department has the right priorities keeps everything running smoothly. 

  1. Compliance – Without an HR department to keep track of things, businesses can open themselves up to the risk of fines, lawsuits, and negative PR. This means compliance should always be your HR’s first priority. Ensuring that a business is keeping up with state and federal regulations, EEO concerns, and workplace investigations should be of the highest priority for an HR department of one. These audits help businesses to avoid potential lawsuits that could be damaging for the employees as well as the business.

  2. Employee Engagement – The next priority is ensuring that employees have strong relationships with their employers, and each other. Having your employees work effectively (both on their own and in groups) is absolutely key for every business. Keeping these employees feeling positive about their workplace and their team, and overcoming interpersonal problems is a must for a successful business. A strong employee relationship benefits the company in many ways, including retention, high levels of production, and efficiency.

  3. Recruiting – Staffing your team with the right people makes sure that your business is able to run smoothly. It’s HR’s job to find the best possible fit for a job to ensure that your team is able to meet your business goals. Avoiding production lags is key, so keeping positions staffed appropriately is a must for any HR department.

  4. Organization Development – For a business to succeed, training new and existing employees is very important. HR should ensure training happens on an annual basis.  Learning and growing is important for all employees, managers, and executives. Training from HR can help boost communication with teams, help people to work well together, and help to avoid potential problems with respect in the workplace.

  5. Total rewards – A business that wants to grow and be successful needs to invest in the people who make that happen: the employees. HR departments should carve out time to analyze pay and benefits. This helps companies stay competitive and sets up a company for success when recruiting and retaining top talent. HR oversees total rewards, a system where employees are fairly compensated with their benefits, their take-home pay, and with learning and growth opportunities.

What Yearly Projects Does An HR Department Need To Do?

Keeping up with all of the above HR priorities is just one part of the job for an HR professional. There are also HR projects that need to be done on a yearly basis to ensure the best possible results for any organization. Heath says “annual HR projects include compensation analysis, performance management, engagement surveys, leadership development and training, and handbook review.”

On top of that HR should make sure to do regular I-9 audits, and review recruiting processes to ensure they’re effective. For businesses that are government contractors, there are additional yearly audits that will need to be completed for compliance. 

Keep in mind that the list of employment laws and regulations grows as a company’s employee count goes up. Multiple federal laws are added as your employee count hits 1, 11, 15, 20, 50, and 100 employees. As well as federal laws, many states have their own employment laws that have additional employee thresholds, so navigating compliance is key for any growing business.

How (And When!) To Bring On Extra Help?

Tackling these yearly projects on top of regular HR functions is more than one full time job for most companies. HR teams of any size can benefit from an outside HR consultant from time to time to assist your core HR team. 

Heath says “the best way to determine if an HR Consultant could be beneficial for your particular team would be to review how you’re doing in all of the functions of HR. If there is a function that always seems to be on the back burner, it may be a good idea to bring in some additional help to support that piece of HR. An HR Consultant is a great way to get help without having to hire a new full-time employee.”

Is An HR Department Of One Realistic?

For many small businesses, it’s totally normal for the HR function to be something that is tacked on to someone’s duties and is not their top priority. This can fall to an operations manager, financial leader, or other manager, and it’s not uncommon for HR to be just one of many hats a leader wears. 

“My advice for when HR is someone’s second (or third) hat would be to consider reaching out to a company like HR NOLA” Heath says. “HR has a lot of niche laws, regulations, and best practices that I personally wouldn’t expect someone with little HR experience to know. Having a pro weigh in on those complex employment related situations can be so helpful, both in the present and also in the future if that situation comes back around.”

An HR department of one can be a complicated job! Getting expert help when you need it can be key to keeping your company running smoothly. Contact us today to set up a consultation to explore how HR NOLA can boost your business. We love HR so you don’t have to!

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