By Kayla Matthews
Since startups often have limited resources, you may not think it’s necessary for yours to have a human resources (HR) strategy. However, the people you hire will have a direct impact on the organization’s long-term performance, along with its culture, turnover rate and more, and the HR strategy could affect all those things.
Also, if you only begin forming such a strategy once problems become apparent, it may be too late. Instead, be proactive and ensure there’s an HR strategy in place to promptly deal with issues that arise.
Being Aware of Needs Is Essential
One of the earliest parts of making an HR plan involves being aware of skills gaps that are hindering the startup’s progression. Determining that means meeting with all the decision-makers at the startup and getting input about hiring needs.
Anything you bring up at this stage must also be feasible concerning the company’s budget. Plus, any needs assessment should include company or industry-related forecasts. After all, those projections could cause needs to shift.
Have a Goal-Oriented Mindset
Staying focused on goals is also helpful when creating an HR plan. Looking at the company’s goals and determining how the human resources department or person fits into those aims is a good start. However, it’s also necessary to find out about the individual goals employees have. There are many things for startup companies to know about HR as a whole, but learning about employees is valuable, too.
Perhaps the HR strategy could accommodate some workers’ aspirations through online or night classes, cross-training or mentorship programs. The results of a global survey from PwC found only 33 percent of HR professionals had talent practices in place to drive skill development, but a majority of those polled recognized the connection between skills and the future development of the company.
Startups must realize how skill development ties into overall company prosperity and move beyond that knowledge by actually coming up with actionable programs.
The HR Plan Should Make Dedicated Individuals Responsible Answering Specific Questions
An excellent HR strategy should spell out how human resources professionals are the points of contact for questions employees have. For example, a person might want to learn information about workers’ compensation or know the process for requesting time off from work. HR professionals can handle both of those queries and many others.
When the HR plan outlines the kinds of questions HR professionals will answer, it’ll become clear which topics the HR staff needs to periodically stay abreast of while working at the startup. Plus, when employees know how to get the insights they need, they can avoid frustration.
Designating an HR professional as a point of contact for particular matters also sets professional boundaries by ensuring unqualified people don’t get swamped by questions they can’t or should not answer due to a lack of expertise.
A Hiring Process Offers Uniformity for Job Candidates
Even if your startup isn’t hiring right now, it may soon, and it’s best to prepare. Implementing a hiring process into an HR plan means all candidates applying for jobs have consistent experiences. The hiring process involves factors such as how and when you post positions, the methods you use to contact people for interviews and the steps of the onboarding process.
It’s smart for companies to address the hiring process in an HR strategy to prevent problems. Otherwise, people could make discrimination accusations or become so frustrated because of rampant disorganization at the startup that they have second thoughts about applying for jobs at the company.
Software Can Facilitate Creating or Adhering to a Human Resources Plan
Thinking about employee succession is another aspect of a well-rounded HR plan. That involves thinking ahead and getting people ready to replace leaders who may retire or leave the company due to other opportunities. Specialized software programs can make succession planning simpler by providing insights related to potential candidates within and outside of the startup.
Also, many software titles offer numerous features. That means companies may find options that meet several of their needs simultaneously.
Adapting to Change Should Factor Into Any Strategy
Things such as market developments, unmet needs and profit margins may cause changes in a startup’s direction. When those alterations occur, HR professionals can play crucial roles in managing change and setting expectations. As such, an HR strategy should detail the responsibilities HR professionals must handle, such as informing employees of changes and addressing their concerns.
Your HR Strategy May Evolve as the Company Does
In addition to being mindful of the recommendations here, remember you don’t need to make a plan that’s overly rigid. As your startup makes progress, it may become evident it’s time to make changes to the HR strategy, too.
About the Author: Kayla Matthews writes about communication and workplace productivity on her blog, Productivity Theory. Her work has also appeared on Talent Culture, MakeUseOf, The Muse and Fast Company.