Startups: Here's Why it Pays to Invest in HR Early

What Needs to be Said

If recent reports are any indication, some CEOs see HR as a necessary evil—an antiquated thorn in the side of efficient, streamlined, modern business practices.

To the seasoned HR professional, working for a CEO who sees you as a necessary evil and a thorn in their side sounds like a nightmare.

However, it doesn’t have to be this way. As HR software providers with a strong startup history, we have some advice for CEOs and veteran HR pros alike: learning to work well together and appreciating what each side brings to the table leads to significant gains for both sides.

What Entrepreneurs Want HR to Know

OK, HR people, here’s the straight talk. Truthfully, I wish my company didn’t have to jump through the million HR compliance hoops, but my lawyer says I have to if I don’t want lawsuits later on, so here’s the deal:

1. I Want Something Different

Insurance forms and workplace harassment training are necessary; I get that. But I went out on my own to do something different and do it my way, so let’s do HR differently too. I’m new-school, not old-school. Show me that HR is part of this decade, not a dinosaur.

2. I Don’t Have Time for HR

I’m super busy, and I can’t help you while I’m trying to run a business at the same time. You’ll have to make decisions and stand behind them, and when you need to escalate a problem, bring me some solutions in the other hand.

3. I Need to See Value

We’re on a shoestring budget, and we can’t afford to spend money without a good reason. You’re going to have to do more with less, be creative about spending, and show me the numbers that prove what you’re spending is worth the money.

What Entrepreneurs can Learn from HR

Dear CEOs: If your attitude about HR is founded on your experiences at other companies, stop right there. HR can be as innovative and forward-thinking as the rest of your company, and can help your business be better, stronger, and more profitable from a dollars-and-cents, bottom-line perspective. Here’s how;

1. We do More than Push Paper

HR might be in charge of your employees’ information, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We’re looking after your business’s most important asset - its people. We provide counseling, help new hires get to know the rules and ropes of the company, and make sure little problems don’t become big ones. Believe us, when a problem makes it all the way to your office, it’s for a good reason.

2. Give Us the Tools we Need to Succeed

We do the research needed to choose cost-effective options, and we don’t want to bankrupt you—in fact, saving you money is a priority. But just like your designers need Creative Cloud, we need a top-tier HR system. Good HR software is worth the money. With it, we can streamline hiring, payroll, and benefits, and provide reporting that shows you the value in hard numbers.

3. We Can Help You Profit

With the right system tools and a modern mindset, we can do as much for your bottom line as anyone else in the building. We can cast a wider net to recruit incredible talent, hire and train new employees faster, and help you analyze performance to maintain a streamlined workforce. If we’re not stuck filing papers and filling out forms, we’ll have the time to work on making everyone happy—not just because we like happy people, but because we know happier people work harder too.

With these examples, we want to show that when you stand in someone else’s shoes, you might realize how close your objectives really are. If you’re thinking these two parties are never going to see eye-to-eye, don’t worry; despite our portrayal, many CEOs do realize the value of a great HR team. Likewise, HR pros are often vocal proponents of streamlined, efficient business practices.

We’re just trying to bring some stereotypical gripes to the surface in an effort to help both sides see they’re really on the same team. We believe in the future of HR as a business asset, not just a business necessity. When you give the right people the right tools, you set them free to do great work.


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