When it comes to human resources, small businesses tend to have little – if any – real resources dedicated to the role. For most companies with fewer than 25 employees, there isn’t even a person dedicated to the position. Usually, the position is filled by owner or a trusted admin who takes on the day-to-day HR responsibilities. This isn’t because HR isn’t important, but because – for small companies – there isn’t that much “HRing” to do every day.
Without a team of quality employees, you know that the products and services delivered will never sustain your customers. Given the amount of time we spend chasing after customers, doesn’t it make sense to want to keep them?
It becomes a chicken-and-egg conversation. We hire great people to get customers; when we have customers, we need to put them in front of great people. With that in mind, isn’t the role of HR a little bit larger than some of us make it?
Most companies see HR as a primarily administrative function. New-hire forms, insurance, benefits, and terminations are what HR is framed around. Really, HR should be about recruiting the best talent, earning their commitment to bring their talents to your company, and then figuring out how to keep them with your company.
Why Recruiting, Hiring, and Retention Are Everyone’s Role
For most small business owners, there is a tremendous amount of effort that goes into recruiting. Sadly, the effort is spent in the recruitment phase; the honeymoon quickly fades after hiring.
Part of the reason for that “quick fade” is because time is limited. Usually, the recruiting frenzy begins when a need arises. “We just landed a giant project and need a project manager. Let’s find someone ASAP!” This short-term hiring necessity isn’t uncommon; in fact, it’s hard for small businesses to hire until the work is there, but it’s also hard to find great people when you aren’t recruiting on an ongoing basis.
One way to counteract short-term hiring challenges is to make the entire recruitment, hiring, and retention process part of company culture. Here are a few tips:
- Always Be Recruiting: There may not be a role to fill at this very moment, but finding great talent should always be encouraged. For brave business owners, sometimes taking a chance is the key when great talent is found. At the very least, build a strong Rolodex of potential hires you can call on when opportunities pop up.
- Don’t Settle On Hires: Far too many companies get desperate and hire “not-quite-good-enough” candidates. While it’s easy to understand why this happens, poor-performing employees are organizational cancer. If you know they aren’t right from the beginning, chances are good that it won’t get better. Put the effort into finding the right person even if it means paying temporary overtime or doing more work on your own.
- Retain, Retain, Retain: Perhaps the biggest mistake I see integrators make not paying enough attention to retention. Keeping employees is the most overlooked area of HR because, in a small company, HR isn’t around to do it. Everyone needs to contribute to retention, and it starts with management. Spend time getting to know your employees, make sure you discuss their professional goals, and stay consistent in managing them. We all know that the real cost of replacing a key employee is astronomical, which is precisely why we need to spend more time on retention.
For small companies the face of HR may be one person – and that may even be part-time. But, for the sake of your business, make HR part of everyone’s role. The entire company will benefit! -Daniel Newman, BroadSuite Consulting