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How Do We Know When It's Time to Hire an HR Director?

How many employees should we have before hiring a human resources manager? Our company is at 60 employees and has acquired a new company with 80 employees. It has turned around since the economy and expects to add to staff and have additional acquisitions. However, we have no HR staff and don't know how many employees is the “right” number to justify hiring one. (This would be the sole HR position in this company—no subordinates). Right now we are implementing HR policies with the assistance of outside consultants. —Anxious to Grow, aerospace, USA
November 29, 2011
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Related Topics: The HR Profession, HR & Business Administration, Dear Workforce
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Dear Anxious to Grow:

There is no magic number of employees that dictates when to hire an in-house human resources director. Instead, there usually are "pressure points" that indicate when the time has come. The specific background and competencies this person (or people) should possess also depends on your culture and business goals.

A few of these pressure points might include:

Inability to hire the right talent fast enough, integrate people from a newly acquired company and/or the need to focus on getting existing people into the right spots. Without dedicated internal HR resources, it may be difficult to ensure you use the most effective recruiting, development and retention strategies. These are absolutely necessary in times of mergers, acquisitions or growth. In these situations, it is particularly important to ensure that whoever is facilitating this process truly understands the business and how to seamlessly integrate new businesses.

Increased perceived or actual legal risk due to issues such as:

• Wrongful-termination lawsuits

• Pay inequity

• Harassment claims

• Lack of supervisory skills

• Lack of policies and processes, and so on

Each company will hit this pressure point at a different time and for a different reason. But if any of these issues surface with increasingly frequency, it is probably time to hire the HR professionals to put the best processes, policies and training in place.

Policies, programs or structures are not supporting growth. You may have a compensation and bonus plan in place that is not rewarding the right behaviors needed in the new, high-growth environment. You may have policies or benefits in place that are not flexible enough or no longer make sense. In these (or similar) cases, bringing HR talent in house helps ensure you continually assess and connect your HR practices to your business changes.

Excessive spending on outside resources, whether it is in the form of outside consultants, attorneys or administration services. (It sounds like this may also be a pressure point for you.) Analyze the costs during the past year and evaluate the potential benefits of taking these services in-house sooner rather than later.

This is about more than hiring an HR manager. It is about identifying specific pressure points and finding the best resources for your business and culture—enabling that person to grow with the company while helping the company prosper through its most important resource: your people.

SOURCE: Beth Sussman, Dovetail HR, Chicago

LEARN MORE: A related issue concerns setting up useful talent-management metrics for your human resources function.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

ASK A QUESTION

 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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