I recently wrote an article on the value of bringing HR into small and growing businesses as over the last few months we have noticed a marked increase in businesses investing in their first HR professional.
The investment of a permanent HR professional in a business can be costly particularly to an SME business, so what are the benefits?
- It ensures businesses are treating employees fairly and consistently.
- People are frequently cited as a businesses most valuable asset – however the long term success and financial performance of a company is usually directly linked to the talent’s and motivations of its people.
- It gives the business legal protection - ensuring businesses and managers are up to speed on employment legislation.
- Ensures that relevant HR processes are designed to promote fairness and equality.
- HR is increasingly more important for a business as workforces becomes increasingly diverse.
- HR in a lot of businesses is now viewed as more of a strategic role with HR directors increasingly being present on management teams and participating in business planning. Strategic HR professionals are able to contribute to the current view and future expectations of people and resource needs, overseeing compensation and training changes, and researching emerging opportunities and threats.
- Bringing in HR can allow a business to be more proactive in relation to its people rather than just reacting to situations that have happened.
- HR drive employee engagement across the business.
- Having an internal HR professional that knows and understands the business can allow them to really get under the skin of the business and its requirements to help further growth.
- HR can oversee talent planning for the business.
Tony O’Farrell, Finance Director at Clarke & Clarke, is one of Four HR’s clients who has recently invested in HR. Due to expansion, Clarke & Clarke required in-house support after a number of years using a third party. Clarke and Clarke came to us earlier this year and we placed Nicola with them, in the role of HR Manager. Here Tony talks to us about his experience.
“The expansion of our workforce over the past few years led us to believe that we had outgrown the use of a third party to provide HR support. In addition, fast-changing and complex legislation meant that it was unrealistic to expect managers across the business to stay up to date with all facets of employment law.
“Bringing in a qualified HR professional has allowed our managers to concentrate on their day jobs without being drawn into unfamiliar HR territory. Nicola – our new HR Manager who was sourced by Gemma at Four HR – has ensured that contracts and handbooks are not only up to date but are also tailored to the needs of our business and, just as importantly, having a HR Manager on site ensures that staff know they have someone to go to when in need of support.
“Whilst the introduction of a HR function from scratch clearly brings some challenges, these are far outweighed by the benefits to Clarke & Clarke of having dedicated HR support both now and in the future.”
Zoe Brimelow, Director at Duo Plastics recruited their first senior HR role late last year she added:
“Consistency is key to any business especially a niche manufacturing business like ours where experienced people are hard to find and therefore we rely on nurturing and keeping our talent. Our HR and Marketing team work together to develop and deliver our people strategy and employee engagement programme. Our team are consulted every step of the way so we know we are investing in activity that is meaningful to them which includes everything from employee benefits programme to team days out and training programmes.”
In an article by HR Magazine, it noted that 90% of calls made to the Forum of Private Business (FPB) were HR related and many of these were reactive rather than proactive.
Reacting to an issue once it has arisen isn’t the best use of HR. When businesses embrace HR they are more likely not to incur these issues in the first place. In addition, SME’s have to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive market place. HR can assist in ensuring that the business has the right team in place, fully motivated to deliver excellence.