It can be a difficult road to navigate, but finding the best human resources employee is a crucial part of modern business. We spoke to Chris Pitchford, founder and managing director of our company, about how to get it right.
How do you find the best person for the job?
This can be a tricky one. You need someone who understands the legalities behind staff. When you’re on your own, or you just have one member of staff, HR isn’t something that worries you, but then suddenly you have 10 or more people and HR comes into play if you are a responsible employer.
We decided that we needed someone part time, so we looked for a freelancer – it wasn’t very easy.
So, to find my HR person, I decided to reach out to my personal contacts, and asked them how they found theirs and if they could they help in any way.
It took a couple of freelance contracts for me to fine tune what I wanted. I found by farming out a couple of briefs the type of person that would fit the business and I could work well with – it’s about finding a HR person that responds quickly and efficiently.
Eventually, I came across our current HR at a social event. She introduced herself – at the time she was doing freelance work for a well know public transport provider, and still is – and we clicked from the start as our relationship was extremely open and honest and that’s important in terms of attracting the right type of HR person.
She started working with us and what a great asset she is.
Does HR become more difficult the bigger the business gets?
I think so, mainly because of all the legalities that come with it – every year the HR rules change and so does your business – it grows and so more systems need to be put in place.
Of course, as a business owner you owe your staff a duty of care. It’s about keeping up to date with the laws and a good HR keeps you in line. At the start of my working career, 25 years ago, HR wasn’t really used, as everything was dealt with by your line manager. Times have moved on. HR is an important role in your business.
A good HR person is there to help both parties and to keep us all abreast of best practice and to make sure that the company does exactly that.
If people are giving 110%, then the business should give 110% back. It’s important not to lose the human interface. You need to take people’s feelings into account. When you find a good HR person, stick with them – they are like gold dust.
Would you have done anything differently?
It’s trial and error. It can also work well by bringing in people from different industries, to give their perspective of our business, and notice I say ours – we’re all in it together.
Pitchford’s top tips:
- Look for someone on a freelance basis first; you can commit to a contract later
- Always be aware of the law, ignorance isn’t accepted
- It’s so important to understand your staff – if you communicate through voice (rather than email), most of the time you can sort things out and everything will be fine. HR is there as a last resort.
- If you have a good HR person who understands your culture, they are a useful tool for both staff and employers.