Entrepreneurs are used to taking on as many different roles as possible in order to get the job done. But as the startup grows, so do the higher-importance responsibilities, like complying with labour laws, documenting HR issues and resolutions, managing payroll records, and much more. Entrepreneurs are great at a lot of things, but HR is a tricky subject to navigate when there’s so much other stuff going on. To keep your company running smoothly – and to stay in good standing with your employees and the public – you really oughta get yourself an HR full-timer.
When you're ready to hire your first employee, HR is a great place to start - they'll become an essential part of the business, basically overnight. Think of your HR staff as a business partner: while you build out the vision and the application of your product, HR’s making sure the people who make it all happen are taken good care of. They’ll implement policies and procedures that can help your startup reach its objectives in a structured way. Eventually, they’ll create training resources to nurture your employees and support the growth of your organization. They’re going to do a lot of stuff – and it’s all going to make your startup better.
So what kind of person would do well in the role? Consider the points below when you’re hiring your first HR employee:
- This person’s going to need to be able to wear many hats. Every day – maybe every hour – is going to be different than the one before. Look for people who are comfortable with taking on a lot of varied responsibilities.
- A sympathetic and sociable person might perform some roles well, but HR staff also need to be able to make difficult decisions. Look for someone who can be empathetic without letting it rule how they operate.
- You’ll likely only have one HR person for a fair amount of time. Make sure they can change priorities quickly without getting frustrated.
- Complying with labour laws is mission-critical. You want someone who’s detail-oriented and thorough to cover your backside, but self-directed enough to create structure where there is none. These two traits generally don’t come in the same package, so you may have to prioritize.
If you have these key points in mind, you’ll be well-positioned to find candidates who can be a great help to your startup. Once they’re up and running, they’ll be able to take a considerable amount of weight off your shoulders – so you can focus on managing and growing your company at a higher level. When it’s time to get those HR duties off your plate, consider these personality traits and you should be able to build a candidate persona that’s well-suited to help your company thrive. Ready? Set? Go!