Christine Wzorek | Forbes Councils Member
Picture this: You're an entrepreneur with a fast-growing young company, and the time has arrived when bringing HR in-house is an absolute necessity. You have delayed, distressed and debated whether or not your company needs to add a burdensome cost to the organization. Either after submitting to the pleas of your staff or on the heels of a significant employment claim, you “give in.” Thinking it is a rather basic and simple role, you probably consider offering your office administrator the spot and think they can handle most of it while a consultant or professional employer organization (PEO) can do the rest.
Before acting, learn the truth about these three myths to ensure you are leveraging HR as a competitive advantage for your organization:
Myth 1: HR is primarily administrative work.
Little do most CEOs know the HR profession requires a high degree of skill, knowledge and experience. It is complex. Depending on organizational size and headcount, HR professionals can be required to navigate up to 19 federal employment laws, an additional number of state laws that may be interpretations or slight variations to competing federal laws and, in other cases, local laws. For this reason, it is easy to get caught up in an administrative time suck.
If you promote your office staff to a profession they know nothing about, it will become exactly that. When HR systems and processes are designed correctly, they follow the Pareto principle of 80% strategic activity and 20% compliance activity. By hiring a true HR professional, your organization and bottom line will thrive.
Myth 2: Bringing HR in-house means you’ll hear no all the time.
Your HR department only wants what is best for you and the organization. Right now, this very minute, throw every stereotype and misconception you can think of about HR out the window. The best HR professionals are not “no” people. They are “let’s find a solution to keep your company safe” people. When they share their perspectives and professional opinions, listen. Keep your ego in check, and trust the professional to objectively share what needs to change. Then partner together to find solutions.
Remember they are navigating multiple complicated and overlapping regulations. They are just beginning to sort through your unattended policies and processes. If other teams begin to oppose change, be patient, and support your HR professional by having collaborative discussions with the opposition. By doing this, you will help the teams see the bigger picture you have gained from your HR professional.
Myth 3: HR will come in and do everything the way we have been doing it, taking the full load off our hands.
Expect your procedures, processes and systems to be disrupted for a time. Why? Most likely because the way you are doing it right now risks exposing you to severe violations you hadn't thought about. HR professionals are responsible for building the entire internal system while meeting compliance standards to mirror the external system developed for your deliverable created over a number of years with large teams and probably a few executives. Remember to grant leeway to your new HR department, and release expectations based on your previous systems and processes. Consider the list below to understand the real complexity of internal HR systems when compared to your external systems:
• Applicant sourcing = Marketing.
• Candidate selection = Sales.
• New-hire onboarding = Client onboarding.
• Employee engagement = Client satisfaction.
• Employee pulse surveys = Quality assurance.
• Employee performance and coaching = Unknown external territory.
• Benefits and perks = Client rewards programs (to the nth degree).
• Talent management/succession planning = Supply chain.
• Training and development = Sales/product training.
• Turnover = Client churn.
Simply by understanding the breadth and depth of HR activities and services, you are armed with knowledge and perspective most entrepreneurs and CEOs are missing out on, putting you at a distinct, competitive advantage. With the support of a skilled and experienced HR professional you will create a distinctive competency for your company by beating the competition in your recruiting, hiring, employee engagement and benefits practices. Imagine the potential.