How to start an HR department

How to start an HR department

At first it seemed like your company was getting along just fine without an HR department. After all, the work that HR does can be outsourced and seems mundane in the grand scheme of things. However, it’s indisputable that certain work needs doing and tasks such as employee relations, compliance, employee training, payroll, and benefits administration are all vital functions of a business, not to mention onboarding, termination, and employee performance reviews.

The fact is that personnel management has become more complex and outsourcing it can just add to the complexity. Issues such as conflict resolution, for example, can’t be handled as timely or effectively when using outside resources. Like other business leaders, you’ve probably come to the realization that your organization is better off handling these things internally. Now you need to know how to start an HR department.

HR has evolved

Traditionally, HR’s purpose was to focus on determining who does what and to screen out the “undesirables” during the hiring process. Yet times are changing. Over the past decade, HR has been transitioning out of this cookie-cutter role. Today, there are huge variances in the tasks they handle. Some HR departments still perform standard roles, but many are responsible for other business functions.

Before you start an HR department, you must first decide what tasks you want to hold HR accountable for, and most importantly, what you want out of your potential HR professionals.

HR skills that matter most

When searching for your human resources managers, you should put your focus on seeking out candidates who:

  • Are very detail oriented
  • Have strong written and oral communication skills
  • Have an open and pleasant disposition

A senior-level HR professional should possess all of these basic skills plus additional knowledge about the nuts and bolts of HR — compensation, employment law, benefits management and design, and problem resolution skills. A qualified senior level HR professional should also be highly empathetic and possess strong public speaking abilities.

Integrating your new HR team

Initially as you learn how to start an HR department, you may find that introducing your new HR team members can wreak havoc on other departments, especially when they first take on the tasks previously performed by other team members. Here are some pointers on how to introduce your new department without causing a major upset.

Be clear about why you need an HR department. If you don’t know why you need HR, then the process of creating a department is bound to be frustrating for everyone involved.

Prepare your managers. The tasks that your newly-hired HR professionals will be taking on may have been previously handled by your managers who have developed their own systems of hiring, firing, and counseling employees. That makes it imperative to speak with your managers about why you’re hiring HR professionals and stress that you need their full support for the new team members. After all, having an HR department will take a heavy load off of their shoulders.

Provide Support. Your new HR department will need financial, technological, and emotional support to get the job done. Financial support might come in the way of a budget that allows for continuing education, professional memberships, consultant fees, and monies for program supplies. Technological support may include a modern compensation management system and the training to go along with it. You can provide emotional support by keeping an open door and doing some hand-holding for new HR workers, especially during onboarding.

Set High Expectations. Set a high standard for your HR department. Your new department should be reliable when it comes to responsiveness, trustworthiness, and accuracy. The department should regularly generate new ideas, initiatives, and programs that add value by driving employee retention, reducing risk and liability, increasing employee productivity and profits.

There are many challenges, but with some effort you will know how to start an HR department. If done correctly, your HR people will help you manage your staff and let your business function much more efficiently.

Need help figuring out how to start an HR department? Get resources from the experts

Ultimately, HR personnel must set the standard for employees who can take the company to the next level. But before you get your HR department off the ground, you should have access to valuable insights from the experts. Consider signing up for Monster Hiring Solutions, where you’ll find expert recruiting tips and the latest hiring trends to keep your HR department busy.