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In the Absence of Human Resources

5 Minute Read

Written By Angelina Fitchett (CEO)

6 February 2019


In 24 years of my career in Human Resources I have interacted with many SME business owners and Directors / CEO’s of organisations who state, “We don’t really need HR”. Emphasis on “many”, there are definitely exceptions!

The simple fact is that every action you perform which is related to the people of your organisation is an HR Function! Whether you are performing the task yourself or you have someone doing it for you, it still IS an HR Function. You Advertise, you Recruit, you sign a Contract and a Job Description, some of you offer Induction, you Performance Manage, you Discipline, you Pay, you Strategically manage your departments / functions in what best suits the business, you negotiate Increases and the like.
In Essence, your business cannot function without HR. Whether HR is the physical person or the task at hand, it still exists.
In my experience, only much smaller organisations with a headcount of around 0 – 15 employees can function efficiently without a qualified Human Resource Professional, and even then, labour laws exist, which makes it impossible to avoid HR altogether if you have Discipline issues or you need documentation to be in order. But let’s look at the real value of an HR Professional in your organisation…
1. HR Professionals are not straight out of University with a Degree and no practical experience. Whilst it’s a start, I believe it takes years to actually be called a Professional in your field. Knowledge is a key factor which should positively influence the way you do HR in your business.
Recruiting someone into the role of an HR Officer at a young age with little to no experience or knowledge who has not professional guidance in the field is as good as getting an administrator or payroll / finance department to do “hr”. There is no value in HR if knowledge and experience are not prerequisites to your choice of direction for your business.
2. HR has a wide spectrum of specialities but that does not mean every organisations needs to tap into all of them. There are definitely different extents to which you will need to utilise HR in your organisation. Whether it’s administrative or for recruitment or strategic purposes, it will benefit your company.
For Example:
a) Your company may be focused on a Talent Management and Training specialist who may help maintain and recruit professionals for your organisation and train existing employees into Talented ones as well as focus on retention of staff.
b) A Change Management Professional can come into play when your organisation is going through a merger or planning to do so, or you need to restructure to make your business more efficient. This is just one example.
c) A Generalist Professional will have excellent Administrative, Payroll, Compliance, Documentation experience and a good knowledge of Labour Relations which comes from years of experience not textbook learning. They are “generally” good all-rounders. #learnerspherecd
3. Let’s consider your employees and the role a qualified Human Resource Professional (Practitioner / Manager) plays in their day-to-day existence at work. Too many business owners are focused on the task / function and not the people performing them. This needs to change! I know that I certainly don’t want an unhappy person working for me. My conscience wouldn’t handle the thought, my well-being is largely focused on happy and positive vibes.
a) A qualified Human Resource Professional holds life experience as well as people experience. When it comes to EQ (Emotional Intelligence), they have all the right skills and tools to deal with staff members of any level and are a consistent and unbiased sounding board for those who need to sit down and close the door without being judged.
b) Negativity breeds illness and resentment and can be very dangerous in a workplace. Sure there are “Toxic Employees” who need to be put in their place or failing that, out the door, but at some point, a good employee who has problems, whether work or personal, will weigh down on those around them.
c) Ill Discipline can spread like the plague! I have witnessed workplace environments where the lack of HR and the right discipline can cause a spiral of problems as there is no consistency and eventually, there is underlying unrest and a whole lot of challenging going on.
d) Lack of PROPER documentation such as company Policies and Procedures and Employment Contracts as well as Job Descriptions is a recipe for disaster when employees start to threaten with the labour department or the CCMA.
e) Payroll deficits and incorrect execution thereof not only fuels disgruntled employees but also makes you a target for the authorities.
f) High-level / Departmental managers need a different person to address people issues with, You are their “business bouncer”, your lack of HR knowledge can affect the way you mentor them or how they deal with those under them.
g) Calculate the cost of your time in the CCMA / dealing with Disciplinaries and people issues and decide if it’s worth it. YOUR TIME IS MONEY. You know this and it will without a doubt, negatively affect your decisions and the way you run your business.
TWO KEY REASONS TO OUTSOURCE WHEN YOU ARE AN SME ARE: YOUR EMPLOYEES CAN FULLY CONFIDE IN A TOTALLY UNBIASED HUMAN AND YOU MAY HAVE A CONSTANT OVERHEAD YOU DON’T NEED. OUTSOURCING IS THEREFORE A MORE COST EFFECTIVE SOLUTION WHEN HR DOESN’T NEED TO BE FULL-TIME.
DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE TIME AND EFFORT IT TAKES TO BE HR!