CEOs and directors of small businesses go through a lot of ‘firsts’. The first hire, the first office expansion, the first IT investment, the first colleague promotion, the first employee dismissal, the first client knock-back, or the first office scandal.

Some positive, exciting and celebratory ‘firsts’. And some ‘firsts’ that we can affectionately refer to as ‘learning experiences’… 

So when is it the right time to make YOUR first HR hire?

With a question like this, there is never an exact science with answering it. Wouldn’t it be nice if it was as easy as saying: “When your turnover is £XXX” or “When you have reached a headcount of XXX”?

Unfortunately, with HR, it doesn’t (and shouldn’t) work like that. The answer will vary from company to company.

We understand that for many small businesses and start-ups, HR could be considered ‘lower priority’ or viewed as an unwelcome guest at a dinner party (cover your eyes HR folk – we know your worth!)

As a business leader, your emphasis has needed to be on revenue generation and growing a profitable company, with a keen eye on cost. We get that. And you’re not wrong.

But perhaps you’re now feeling bogged down by people-related challenges and you no longer have the time or brain space to focus on growing your business? That’s a really frustrating place to be, but thankfully it’s a place where you can do something to change it.

Dedicated HR expertise can help take away a lot of the operational and strategic pain from running your business. Most importantly it  will also significantly improve your chances of reaching your commercial goals by ensuring you have happy people, in the right jobs, at the right time, doing the right thing. 

An investment in your people will pay dividends many times over, create a meaningful and lasting legacy, and drive real commercial differentiation over your competitors.

When we talk about making a great HR hire – those are the criteria we believe you should consider first.

So is NOW the right time to hire an HR professional?

To help make your decision easier, we suggest you answer the questions below. If you answer ‘Yes’ to three or more questions, then it’s probably time to recruit your first HR hire.

  1. Are you spending more time on people-related admin than leading and scaling your business? 
  2. Is your headcount growing at a rate that is providing a challenge for onboarding and training your new recruits?
  3. Is it hard to communicate with all your employees on important matters (for example you feel like you are only hearing your people through an old fashioned ear trumpet vs dolby surround)?
  4. Are your employees leaving to join your competitors? 
  5. Do you sense that your staff might be disengaged with their work and the wider business?
  6. Are you concerned about the performance of your employees?
  7. Do you feel disconnected from your workforce and ‘out of touch’?
  8. Would you struggle to obtain employee feedback and do something meaningful with the results?
  9. Do you sense that your pay and benefits structure is preventing you from hiring the best talent?
  10. Are you preparing to sell your business and want to ensure you create value and a lasting legacy?

If you answered yes to three or more of the questions above then it’s likely that it might be time for you to consider hiring an HR professional. 

If this is the case, you’re going to have some decisions to make. For instance; 

These questions require careful consideration. And you’ll need to continue your research to find an approach that’s right for you and your business. 

Book a FREE coaching consultation to discuss your options

If you’d like our assistance with sense-checking your thinking, then we’d love to help. Simply click the button below to book an appointment with a member of the team.

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