Time to bring on board an HR professional
Never forget this thumb rule: people are the core strength of any business, and managing them takes commitment and effort. Most start-ups begin with just the founders, who personally screen and hire candidates. But, as the team grows, it is difficult to coordinate and manage the various roles without losing focus.
This is when most companies rope in a Human Resources (HR) professional, whose primary responsibility is to manage the company's manpower. We asked a few entrepreneurs for their views on hiring an HR professional.
An HR professional saves time
"When my start-up was only a few months old, it was only my partner and I. We felt we should wait a while before hiring an HR person. Now we are 8 months old and I am on the lookout for a good HR professional. I am ready to hire a bigger team, and there are various activities that take up nearly 60 per cent of my time. That's why I need an HR person on board," says Tony, who runs an e-commerce portal.
Anita, who runs her own HR consulting company, adds, "I put in place HR policies and procedures for start-ups and even big firms. They all understand the need for an HR professional but postpone the decision. The only advice I give them is to bring on board a professional and let them handle the people and related issues - payroll, attendance, processing of expenses and so on. There were a few who offered me the job! I politely declined and helped them find a reliable resource."
People-management is key
An HR professional must be a people-person. Managing all types of people in all sorts of situations and handling stressful situations come with the profile. "Businesses like ours run only because of the people who work with us. It is therefore vital to have an in-house professional who can manage the staff, and keep them motivated and focused. We hired an HR professional within 4 months of us starting the business and she has been such a pillar of strength for us," reveals Radha, who runs an event management company.
Understanding the staff, their various needs, clarifying queries they have on how the business works, and pushing them to do their best are some of the responsibilities shouldered by an HR person. For a start-up, it is essential to have a strong person because they will drive the people to perform better while the operations head focuses on delivery and quality.
While the management is busy driving the business forward, the staff sometimes gets lost in deadlines and delivery. An HR professional will bridge the gap and keep employees motivated. Ravi Kiran of a start-up, Mason, says, "Just as a company should create a website, they also should focus on creating a connect with their employees. An HR person will track performance, provide insights on which employees are to be developed and who should be evaluated. Having helped quite a few start-ups, I know the value of an HR person. They make sure channels of communication between management and teams are open. They also come with a certain set of skills, which add value to the business."
As the founder/partner of a start-up, you're already wearing many hats. But when is it time to get an HR professional on board? Ask yourself if you're burdened with staff-related problems or if you're ready to take your business to the next level. An HR professional will help your business grow along with your team.