June 26, 2023

The Role of HR for Startups

Startups are often seen as the wild west of the business world. They're fast-paced, innovative, and constantly changing. But even in this chaotic environment, there's one thing that's essential for any startup's success: a strong HR department.

HR is responsible for everything from recruiting and hiring to on-boarding and training to performance management and compensation. In short, HR is responsible for ensuring that your startup has the best possible employees.

But HR isn't just about hiring and firing. It's also about creating a strong company culture and building a positive work environment. A great HR department can help your startup attract and retain top talent, boost morale, and improve productivity.

If you're a startup founder, you need to make sure that you have a strong HR department in place. It's one of the best investments you can make for your business.

We sat down with Edua Effiom, to gather some of her insights on the role of HR:

Hi Edua, thanks for chatting with us.

No problem at all.

In your experience, how do you think HR can help a start up business?

As a startup founder, it definitely pays to invest in having your documents professionally drafted. Many founders choose to take a DIY approach, and HR documents that aren’t done correctly can cause problems for the future. I would thoroughly recommended getting things done correctly from the start, and then using an HR professional for any other ad-hoc advice you may require for your startup.

What are the most important responsibilities of an HR professional for a startup?

An HR professional can help with ensuring that all HR documents are drafted correctly, whether you’re dealing with freelancer, casual, employee contracts etc. If you’re recruiting new staff for your team, an HR professional can help with the drafting of your job descriptions as well as the sifting, selection and interview process. When you’ve selected a suitable candidate, an HR professional would also help you conduct right-to-work checks and all other aspects on employment, ensuring that everything is done accurately from the start.

What are the biggest challenges that HR professionals have when dealing with founders?

A lot of the time, we don’t know what they don’t know! This can make the relationship between founders and HR quite tricky, when everything is not clear from the beginning. My approach is always to go back to basics. Start by identifying what the founders have in place right now, get a sense of their experience and business background, and then establish the best plan for them moving forward. Some founders may never have managed staff before, and it can be genuinely very confusing for a first-time manager. I often recommend training for those founders, so that they develop a better understanding of what’s involved, and it gives the startup a better chance of success moving forward.

What advice would you give to a founder who is considering hiring an HR professional?

In the early stages of your startup journey, you might want to use an independent HR consultant to draft documentation or help you recruit new staff - more on an ad-hoc basis, as and when you need professional advice to get things done accurately. As you scale up, founders can consider taking on an independent HR consultant on a retainer basis to manage things on a fairly ongoing basis. The risks to a startup business will increase as they grow, and it’s best to have someone on hand to advise and help mitigate those risks quickly and efficiently. My advice would always be to try and find an HR professional who has some sector experience and can speak your language. It just helps the process become more streamlined and the relationship even stronger.

What important qualities should a founder be looking for in an HR professional?

The obvious ones are their professional qualifications, the main one being Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD), as well as any other accreditations that make them relevant to your sector. However, founders should also assess an HR consultant’s practical experience too. Choosing someone who has worked with startups and SMEs is important, as well as someone with a commercial and pragmatic approach. If you can get that sector experience as close to your niche as possible, it always helps. Take your time in finding out about them, using testimonials and reviews as a guide to measuring their credibility and suitability for your startup.

Get in touch with Edua Effiom here to book in a call with her today

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