Adding human resources early is key to fostering a great company culture and helping startups succeed

Startups and small businesses are so busy at the beginning that human resources are not always a priority.

But it should be, said Megan Duncan, founder and CEO of Austin-based Cambara Duncan Consulting Firm LLC.

“As soon as a company has 15 employees, it needs HR,” she said. But ideally, they should set up the human resources framework in the five-employee organization, she said.

Human resources help a business grow and succeed, Duncan said. Those who do it right from the start reap huge market benefits, she said. Duncan, originally from Austin, has years of experience in human resources and a master’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology and is completing his DBA in human resources management.

There are all kinds of software and apps out there that help small businesses and startups deal with HR issues, but the best way is to hire a professional to work with a company to lay the groundwork for HR, Duncan said. That way, solutions can be tailored to your business problems and needs, she said. HR is not a one-size-fits-all solution, she said.

“HR is important because companies need to have guidelines and policies to help their employees know how to function properly,” Duncan said. “Additionally, managers need to have a guideline of what their employees’ performance looks like. You have to tell them. »

Human resources keeps all employees on track to achieve company goals, Duncan said.

“When you go from five to 10 employees, it’s not a lot to manage, but when you go from 10 to 20 to 50 employees, you really need to have a base in place,” Duncan said. “It’s a lot of chaos and there’s a lot of fortune going on. Without coherence, it is chaos. And then you have the bad employee experience and the bad culture.

HR keeps a company in legal compliance with local, state and national laws regarding employee health and safety, Duncan said. It also helps with employee recruitment, onboarding, training and retention, and it can help create a positive company culture and a productive workplace, she said.

“A lot of times when you’re in a growth phase and you don’t have someone to manage human resources, you’re overstretched and you may not be getting the best employees you want for your organization,” Duncan says. .

And startup founders don’t necessarily have the bandwidth to do it all and that’s okay, Duncan said.

“That’s why you hire someone,” she said.

Duncan works with any company that has employees in a variety of industries, from high-tech startups to restaurants and retail operations.

HR helps define a company’s culture with the founder and the people running the organization, Duncan said. With current work-from-home and remote work arrangements brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, human resources can also help foster a culture virtually, she said.

“HR is a partnership,” she said.

In today’s competitive marketplace, it’s also important to have human resources in place to retain valuable employees, Duncan said. To retain employees, you want to pay people what’s fair, but you also want to have employee development plans in place that allow them to grow within the organization through training and other experiences and valuable benefits, Duncan said. Some employees value flexible work hours and paid time off rather than bigger raises, she said. Listening to the needs of their employees is important for employers to be successful, she said.

Cambara Duncan Consulting offers a monthly consulting service as an on-call HR service. Duncan helps with employee job descriptions, employee recruitment, retention and development, and can create an employee handbook for the company.

Companies shouldn’t wait until they hit the 50-employee milestone to implement human resources within their organization, Duncan said. These startups are more likely to struggle to recruit and retain top employees, she said.

“Additionally, HR is a strategic business partner,” Duncan said. “HR can identify existing threats as well as new business opportunities. They can tell you what’s coming down the pipeline from a different business or industry perspective.

HR can identify an upcoming disruption in the industry, Duncan said.