Human Resources is different than recruiting which is different than hiring. If you find yourself at a small company, chances are you may find yourself doing all three jobs, sometimes all in one day. Here are some basic primers on each job and how to manage them when you’re wearing more than one hat in the hiring department.
Breaking down HR: in some corners of the internet you will find a nested menu of all the categories that HR has ever been responsible for. And then, if you are anything like me, you will sit down and cry. That’s not our goal here. Our goal here is to show you what HR was designed to do and then you can find the tools (cough OURS cough) to do those things. We’ve already mentioned some great bloggers who can help you along the way like Ben Eubanks, Chris Havrilla and Trish McFarlane but today’s wisdom comes from Chris Ferdinandi. On his blog, Renegade HR, he says the first mandate of HR is .
Hire great people, and place them in jobs that fit their strengths, skills and passions.
Sounds simple right? Kind of. You, the first one hiring, have a simpler job in some ways, than a big Fortune 500 company in that, you get to shape your HR department…from scratch. Hiring great people is easy when you have a simple system and the permission from your team to go and do it . But how do you identify great? First, identify what makes your current team work. My writing down the attributes of everyone that currently makes the company tick, you may start to see patterns in the data. Take it one step further by finding an assessment that screens for that thing.
Step #2 is the second hardest to do. It’s letting the great people you’ve hired do the work you’ve hired them to do. How does someone in charge of HR do this? By having flexible policies that do less prohibiting and more guiding. It’s tempting to think that the boss deserves a Facebook break while the new programmer doesn’t but most you hire won’t see it that way. Give people the freedom to do great work and they usually will not disappoint you.
Feedback. In fancy terms language this is what they call performance reviews. But formal once-a-year 360s don’t work quite as well in the lightning fast world most startups inhabit. Instead, find a way to provide constant, actionable feedback. This means that you find a system that will allow you to either give feedback directly (it has to be something they can DO) or allows you to manage the feedback process between manager and employee. Look for tools built within the startup world as they will most likely meet your needs better than large systems, which may be to bulky for your needs.
Figure out what your organization has to offer beyond the paycheck. I know loads of companies where people are clamoring for work not because of a premiere benefits plan or a fancy office building, but because the work itself is rewarding, the management is fun and driven and the team knows how to connect and when to unplug. These benefits tend to evolve over the lifetime of the company, no matter how short. If you have a great work-life balance, a weekly bike ride, a cool award-winning training or anything else, make sure that people inside and outside the company know about it. When you’re the first one hiring, you are the only one who can pinpoint what makes your company different or unique.
While you can’t control the kind of brand your company has, you can control the conversation. Giving your employees the tools they need to tell a story is a startup staple. When you have a small team and can only spare a few of that team to hire, you want to make sure the story they are telling is as attractive as possible. So use your employees to tell your story . Whether that’s a great new video you put on your job postings or a company blog or an old school newsletter, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you give them the framework and tools.
Letting people go the minute they walk in the door isn’t a training plan, it’s a disaster waiting to happen. So plan ahead, figure out all the essentials by…you guessed it, asking the employees. What do they wish they had known? Which webinars, books, white papers or internal modules can you use to get a new hire up to speed without overwhelming them. Start with basic needed skills (hopefully these were in the job description) but everyone has a system or process that is more specific to their organization. Show the new hire “how we do things” and then keep tabs on how the manager is training them thereafter, even collaborating on training options if possible. You don’t want a crummy onboarding process to send your great hires running for the hills!