When To Call In Help From HR

The Right Person for the Job
The Right Person for the Job
Christina Lattimer
I help leaders develop self- mastery, helping them to become confident in their own inner guidance. I collaborate with leadership experts, managers and HR professionals to help them get their own message and unique services and products to a wide audience.
Christina Lattimer


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Christina Lattimer
Christina Lattimer

Determining when to get help from HR

The problem when starting to create a new team is that unless you have a strong HR background, it’s difficult to know the difference between what seems obvious when managing people and what just isn’t on your radar.  It’s not easy to decide when you need to call in help from HR.   If you are taking on new people or your team is already up and running, it is essential you know when to get vital, effective and timely HR Advice.   This article attempts to give you some pointers when to do so.    A good HR professional will understand the whole of the employment life-cycle, from when the new employee is simply a twinkle in the eye, until you close the door on them for the last time, whatever the reason.    At the least as an employer you need to understand your legal obligations and at best you need to understand how to get the best from and manage your exceptional talent.   From the very start when appointing your first employee, you need to understand your employer legal obligations and being able to get the best out of your people is essential. For many this is why the need to get help from HR.

As a small business,  it’s easy to comply with the minimum of legal responsibilities, and manage your team using your  gut instinct and being able to drive forward the business seemingly unhindered.   As your team grows and you become less hands-on with your team, you would be wise to get some professional advice.  Not to do so can eventually prove to be  costly, and in the long run it can be counterproductive if you become embroiled in an employee dispute, or people end up leaving because their terms, conditions and environment aren’t in line with more progressive employers.

Most small businesses can benefit from having access to:

  • The latest developments in employment law and guidance
  • Understanding how to attract and select the right talent by understanding the latest selection methodologies and labour market forces.
  • Knowing how to get the reward and recognition offer right which can often be the difference between mediocre and excellent teams.
  • A good understanding of how to manage different levels of performance, including underperformance, with minimal disruption
  • How to most economically and effectively develop employees
  • How to get the best out of people through engagement and good employee relations.
  • How to deal with employee disputes, including grievances, conduct issues and complaints.
  • How to be manage people exiting from the organisation in the right way and at the right time.

It’s difficult for a small business to keep completely up to date without a system in place because the legislation,  rules and regulations change regularly.  As more research is done about getting the best out of people, new ideas and systems are born to help businesses grow and excel. Depending on the size, remit and ambitions for your business there are a number of ways to make sure you keep up to date with the latest information, ensuring your business is protected and you are aware of the latest thinking in people management and development.

1. In-house

Managing in-house is how most businesses start off. There are a number of signposts for SME’s where information can be sourced on a “need to know” basis. If you only have a couple of employees then this option can appear attractive. If this is your preference, then you need to be able to source and keep up to date with changes in employment law and management trends as a minimum.

2. Join a mastermind or networking group

A good networking group will regularly host free or low-cost events which cover basic employment law changes as well as best practices in managing people. Before signing up to any networking group, make sure employee issues are covered. Networking with others about employing people can help to keep you informed about the issues which may affect you. Some mastermind groups will deal with how to manage employees in the best way, and learning from others can help to introduce you to best practices for your business.

3. Connect with an employment lawyer

Most good law firms will host regular breakfast events or short seminars. It’s essential to keep up-to-date with employment law, and being able to ask questions of lawyers face-to-face is an invaluable benefit of connecting in this way. If you need essential employment law advice you already have some idea about the law firm and the lawyer you might be working with. Employment law advice can be costly, though, and you only want to pay for advice and guidance for situations which might pose a substantial risk to your business.

4. Contract in ad-hoc HR expertise

Sometimes you just need some help for a “one off” situation. This might be to recruit a hard to find skill, or make a major change which could be fraught with difficulties; or if you have a poor performer, who just isn’t improving, then you might want to source some occasional HR expertise.

5. Contract regular HR support

If you are on a limited budget but have a team to manage, this could be the most cost-effective way of protecting your business and growing your team. For a relatively low cost each month, you buy in the services of an HR professional. You need to be able to have regular discussions not only about avoiding employee disputes but also about how to grow your business and your employees.

6. Appoint an HR professional

It is an HR professional’s role to keep up to date with all the latest employment law, guidance and current thinking, which is great to help keep your business in line with this. This option is a good one if you have a substantial and growing team, and overall the level of HR interventions can justify the cost of a full-time role.

What about you, are you looking for the right level of HR support, or tell us about what triggered you to get some help.