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What do you do when your HR Manager just can’t do it all?


Let me share a scenario with you.


You start a business and begin hiring…as the staff numbers grow and revenues increase you decide that now is the time to get someone else to send out the employment contracts and manage the payroll. 


There is a strong and capable administrator who manages a lot of the book-keeping and office supplies and they are well-placed to take on some of the people-related admin. 


The staff numbers grow even more, and a decision is reached to make this person a full-time HR Manager. 


As the business develops, the HR function needs to change. HR moves away from being a pure admin function to something more complex; employment law expertise, performance management knowledge, recruitment and selection, HR Information Systems and related HR software, employee engagement and culture, compensation and benefits, learning and development, coaching, staff wellbeing - the list continues. 


Your well-intentioned and capable administrator starts to struggle with all these new expectations of them as HR Manager. They need help.


You decide to hire someone more experienced, who comes with more years of acting as an HR professional and your existing employee becomes resentful and either leaves or remains disengaged working for the new HR Manager. 


The struggle to manage HR needs


This scenario happens often in start-ups and SMEs. They struggle with managing their HR needs. There is an unfounded, but frequently held, belief that one HR Manager can do everything and be everything within a smaller company. 


Even when a company hires an ‘experienced’ HR Manager they find that there are still gaps in knowledge. The company may not have the budget or resources to employ extra headcount and the existing HR Manager just can’t meet the multiple people priorities that the business has.


So, what do you do?


Hiring an HR Consultant


I’ll admit that this is a shameless plug for my own business. But, you don’t need to hire me.


What you do need to do is consider hiring some form of external support to plug the gaps whilst keeping your costs low, not increasing your headcount, and keeping your existing HR Manager sane. 


External HR Consultants come in all shapes and sizes and there is no one-size-fits-all option! 


Selecting an HR Consultant


The first thing to consider is what kind of support does the HR Manager need? 


It could be a specific project that needs to happen such as implementing a performance management process or creating salary bands.


If so, is it an extra pair of hands that is needed or is it expertise? 


Perhaps some employee relations issues have cropped up and you need someone with some expertise in handling disciplinaries and grievances.


Or it could be that the current HR Manager needs access to someone more experienced to act as a coach and mentor to help guide them through the daily challenges of being a standalone HR Manager.


Or maybe your business is now at a stage where you are considering acquisitions or mergers or being sold and you need someone to work on the related HR strategy.


Rather than hiring more headcount internally, consider HR like any other specialist function. There are plenty of experts out there who can help you with some or all of these issues without adding substantial costs to your business. Asking for recommendations from your network is a great place to start and your HR Manager will thank you for it!


N.B. Photo courtesy of Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash


As a freelance HR consultant, I can help you and provide ongoing support as your business grows. Contact me on alex@alexkotsos.com to discuss your HR needs.


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