Joanne Howe, MD of Howe Consultancy gives us her top tips on HR and what HR really is…
When I first started out in business I would get asked on a regular basis “what exactly is HR?” My young nephew goes one step further and asks “what do you actually do auntie Jo?” My BNI (Business Network International) colleagues are used to hearing my response:
“HR is about two things; first of all you have to get your staff to come to work every day, and when you get them to come to work every day, you need your staff to do what YOU want them to do.” Sounds simple…but it is a very daunting task for business owners.
I guest-speak every month to a group of new businesses and one of my top ten tips I share with them is to “stick to what you’re good at”. So, if you haven’t done HR before then buy it in as soon as you can afford to. Obviously from my point of view, you can’t afford not to, as the consequence of error can be much more costly. Let’s not forget the internal damage caused when staff are seen to be “getting away with it”.
My professional institute, the CIPD, of which I am a fellow member, states that you need one full time HR person per 100 staff. So if you compare your staff numbers to this ratio and you as the MD do all the HR, then it will now make sense to you that you are spending too much time sorting out the HR headaches.
Pareto’s Principle states that you can apply the 80/20 ratio to just about anything. In my experience if you apply this to your staff numbers it will help identify how many staff you may have trouble with over the year. So for every five staff you employ there will be issues with one, and so on. Professional HR can deal with the 20% of naughty staff and allow you to get on with making more money. The downside for HR is that they very rarely get the chance to work with the 80% of staff who actually do come to work every day and do what’s expected of them.