Effectively leading HR without an HR department

By Brad Lutz (CHRP) 

“We’re just a small organization, we don’t have Human Resources.”
Well, actually, every organization has Human Resources (HR), as long as at least one person (a volunteer, owner or employee), is working for it. However, not every organization has a formal HR team or HR professional whose sole purpose is maximizing the human capital of the organization.
Many organizations simply don’t have the size, resources or inclination to add an overhead cost like an HR department, or even an HR professional. These same organizations also don’t have the choice to ignore the importance of sound HR practice.
Solid HR does not simply ensure compliance with employment legislation (although this is important), but ensures that the most important resource, your people, can effectively achieve the goals and objectives of the organization.
As an organization without formal HR resources, what do you do? How do you ensure you’re not only following the rules, but are managing your human capital in a way that benefits your team, and ultimately your organization?
If and when a difficult situation needs to be resolved, what safety net do you have to support your team? What resources are in your back pocket to help you move forward?
Many organizations have made the decision to outsource part or all of their HR delivery. Although this may not make sense for all organizations, it usually makes a lot of sense for smaller to medium-sized organizations needing to manage overhead or overall cost carefully.
Partnering with an HR consulting firm can be an excellent way to gain expertise usually unavailable to smaller organizations, and to have access to resources that can be customized relatively painlessly for your organization.
HR tip: Partner with an HR team that has not only consulted but has led the HR function in a variety of different industries. Consultants with previous operational HR experience, especially for top employers or best managed organizations, will be able to bring solutions and perspectives that are not only valuable for your organization, but that can actually be implemented.
An excellent way to start a relationship with an HR consultant is to have them review your organization and the current HR delivery. It provides a relatively inexpensive opportunity to get to know the consultant and gain their expertise with respect to your organization’s HR function. Depending on the results of the check-up, they can also help you prioritize action items to help you take the organization to the next level.
HR tip: Be sure to partner with a consultant or firm that will help you prioritize the action items in your best interest (and not theirs).
By following your list of HR priorities, you will have an informed way of deciding how best to invest in your people, and can plan the timing of that investment. You will have also formed an important relationship with an expert you can keep in your back pocket as a safety net when those difficult situations need to be resolved.
Outsourcing your formal Human Resources delivery can be a very effective way to stay on top of your human capital without incurring overhead cost, and to have access to HR expertise when you need it the most.
With over 15 years of extensive HR experience, Brad Lutz is currently the president of Acuity HR Solutions. Acuity HR is a consulting and recruitment firm located in the heart of the Winnipeg Exchange District. Acuity HR was built by experienced professionals who have led the HR function for companies recognized as a Best Employer, Best Managed Company and a Fastest Growing Company in Canada. For more information about Acuity HR, visit http://www.acuityhr.ca, follow Acuity HR on LinkedIn or email brad.lutz@acuityhr.ca.

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