Our Internal HR Chick Needs Help – Where Do We Turn?

Staff coming, staff going and an avalanche of paperwork and administration that goes with it. Your HR chick may know that she’s not keeping up with demands and requirements, or she may be blind to her own shortcomings. Either way, she is probably very stressed and making unintentional costly mistakes.

There is a broad area of responsibility that HR cover off in the ‘Human Resources Lifecycle’ for any business with double digit or more staff numbers. There is the obvious stuff like, payroll and hiring, ensuring the Employee Handbook is up to date and policy and procedure is in alignment with the new Fair Work legislation but there is less obvious stuff that needs to be addressed as a company grows, including:

  • Employer branding to attract the best candidates.
  • Getting a faster return on investment for new employees.
  • Building an employee engagement and retention strategy.
  • Ensuring you are not paying too much or too little to staff.
  • Leadership Engine Optimisation (or my spin on SEO!)
  • Adopting the right technology to facilitate painless HR admin.
  • Succession planning to ensure you are ahead of the game

As any company grows, the skills, competencies and expertise required to leverage the growth changes both in need for depth and strategic vision. Different knowledge is needed to support a company with 30 employees as opposed to a company with 200 employees. And this keeps changing as headcount grows (or even retracts) and the need to leverage human capital for maintaining profit increase.

Once your business and systems grow to need an HR resource, it is only a matter of time and further growth until that person is spending 80% of their time on administrative tasks that don’t impact the bottom line. At this point, is it wise to hire another HR resource that just gets sucked down into the vortex of HR Admin Land? If you go down the path of hiring someone in-house to support this environment, it may ‘seem’ like a cheaper option for you. However, you are not getting effective value for your salary.

Focusing on operational HR activities and administration does not impact or support the bottom line positively. This is not the fault of HR, it is the mandate of upper management by not leveraging your business growth through adopting a strategic view of human resources within the organisation.

It is very important that non-HR people running a business seek advice from HR experts in their field. The real problem is this –

How do you know that the people you are talking to as HR experts are really experts in your scale of business?

HR is definitely not a one solution fits all type affair.

In fact, for one business in one industry, the required HR strategy can change as the business grows. With many best practice solutions and new employee trends it is important to know:
1. How these HR solutions fit now and give a good return on investment (ROI); and
2. How they will work for you in a couple of years time when your company has grown.
With 30 staff, you may get a great ROI with a basic paper-based employee performance appraisals, but at 80+ it may make sense to automate the process saving hours and hours of time and streamlining the process. But most importantly it gives you the benefit of measuring the growth and performance of the company enabling you to make better decisions. It also gives the staff a sense of direction and purpose which is the number one retaining strategy for key staff you don’t want to loose.

I mentioned before that your HR chick may be treading water in a swamp of admin. Companies usually hire someone to handle the growing HR issues, and alleviate managers bogged down in HR ‘process’ or lack of process. She knows more about Industrial Relations than anyone in the business, so she arrives and is instantly the hero, the savior and the expert – on reactive issues. She is hired because she knows how to work with what is in place, or what is needed next (to combat reactiv-ity), possibly because she’s had the right experience somewhere else, highly reactive.
But, soon enough, she will get to the point where being stuck in an HR admin quick sand, through no fault of her own, has prevented ongoing training and exposure to the latest practices and trends that she can bring back into your business for future strategy. You end up with an HR Administration expert.

Bringing in the relevant experts to impact your HR strategy and assist your HR chick needs to be part of your ongoing solution to HR management within a progressive business.

It doesn’t matter what size your business is – you need to work with the right Human Capital expert partners and advisors to get current advice that is relevant to your organisation. A well meaning HR professional or Finance Manager who gets a subscription to the industry professional association publication and attends the odd seminar, probably has less impact on what will work best in your business.

Finding trusted advisors who have their finger on the pulse of the HR industry and lead and creates HR innovation in the business world is key to the future success of your business growth…

Or you can stay well, ho-hum.

Anne-Marie Orrock is founder and Managing Director of Corporate Canary HR Consulting. Helping technology companies ease their people management challenges through human resources strategies making them more profitable.

For more information and further reports, video’s and vidnews on how to lead effective employee performance management visit: (click here) – connect with Anne-Marie