Sun, 30 January 2022


When does a Small Business need an HR expert?

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For many small business owners, Human Resources (HR) can be an easily misunderstood profession. If you grew your business from a small team or even started out as a solo founder, you might not see the need yet for an HR expert to help guide you and the people within your business.

We sat down with Nyla Shafiq, the People and Culture Manager at Exo Digital, to get the lowdown on Human Resources 101 for small and medium businesses.

When do I need to hire an in-house HR professional?

Knowing when to pull the trigger on hiring an expert is dependent on numbers within the business. In a team of 10 or more people, communication and managing so many stakeholders can become overwhelming. Everyone has different expectations, but it’s helpful to have a People and Culture person to provide a different perspective and clarity on company expectations. At this point, it might not be justifiable for a full-time role, but having a consultant to discuss these questions can be beneficial.

Once you have a team of 20 or more people, you can justify bringing in a full-time person. It’s too much to solely put the role on the business owner at this point. As they focus on growing the business, the human side of things can often become forgotten or pushed off, leading to a high turnover rate.

Important HR policies to consider for businesses of any size

It’s not about specific policies, rather it’s more about sharing the process or method or what happens in certain scenarios.

“If teams are growing and there’s a lot of work to be done, what’s the process in allocating resources? Do we want to invest in freelancers? Do we want to grow out teams? What is the best way to discuss options?”- Nyla Shafiq, People and Culture Manager at Exo Digital

Providing that platform to share ideas and comment on what the business might be lacking is critical. This way, the team understands there is support available and there is a process to acquire that support.

The importance of communication in HR

Sometimes it’s just as simple as telling the team that something is okay and encouraging them to talk about it. Sometimes it makes a difference to let them know that they can come to you with ideas or concerns. Communication and being open with the team is crucial.

“We can guide line managers through the admin process, but in terms of feedback and career development, it’s always best to get that advice from your own line manager.” - Nyla Shafiq, People and Culture Manager at Exo Digital

Your line manager is the person that you’re working with the most. They know the most about what your day to day looks like, what your challenges are, how you started with the business and how much you’ve grown in the last six months to a year. That feedback is a lot more valuable than People and Culture sharing what they think about your work. In terms of being on the human side of things, they can provide that platform and advise on team views or thoughts on processes depending on the team’s challenges and cultures. What does the team need from them and what would be valuable? If performance issues or a challenging teammate comes up, they can advise on those areas too.

Get the basics of HR management right

Getting somebody in on a contract or full-time basis to support the business owner with HR management gives the business the best support possible.

HR provides fundamentals in terms of admin, procedures, frameworks and all of the support needed to ensure that everyone within the business are set up for success.

Get the processes and procedure right. Consult with an expert in HR. Maintain clear, open communication channels. When you’re ready to bring an expert full-time, make sure they understand your challenges and can set up the different admin and support mechanisms for the team to keep growing.

Is your business at a stage of growth? Reach out to our team at Exo Digital, we’re here to support the growth of your business!

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