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The Importance of HR for Growing Businesses
Blog //19-10-2021

The Importance of HR for Growing Businesses

by Alex Arundale, Chief People Officer, OneAdvanced

The HR function for many, is seen as the lifeblood of organisations. From ensuring high levels of employee engagement and wellbeing to helping devise business strategy and company ethos, it is clear that having a skilled and well embedded HR team is a key component in driving forward success.

A long running debate has been around the importance of HR for growing businesses and exactly how much these organisations should be prioritising the growth of their people teams. Being at the helm of a dynamic and ever evolving business can mean that for many, their focus may fall on other areas of the organisation. With so many spinning plates to keep track of, it is understandable that a focus on the HR function may fall by the wayside.

As easy as it may be to let the people management side of the business fall by the wayside, especially as an organisation undergoes a period of rapid growth and development, there is an ever increasing indication that the HR function and the people who make it work, form an integral part of ensuring the success of emerging and growing businesses. Startups and growing organisations often find themselves at the heart of dynamic market structures and the ability to adapt to change, particularly from the perspective of your talent pool, can be the make or break point which determines the future success of businesses.

In this piece we will explore the importance of HR in helping to support growing businesses. At Advanced we believe that your people are your greatest asset in helping you reach your goals and a well defined and embedded HR processes is integral in supporting your employees. We understand that as exciting as any period of growth and development may be, that it also places great demands on time and energy and that for many organisations, the HR function may not be the most obvious area of focus. We believe in the power of HR to help you achieve more however and we would like to take the time to explore the potential of people management to help your organisation remain agile and effective, no matter what heights you are reaching for.

Why is HR important for growing businesses?

The challenges faced by modern emerging businesses are often linked to the typical structure of these types of organisations. Broadly speaking, start ups or growing businesses are often comprised of a relatively lean structure which relies on a small core of talent. This structure inevitably leads to a certain degree of blurring between job roles, with individuals having to wear a variety of different hats in order to suit the requirements of the business.

As organisations look to grow, this ambition will bring with It a number of specific demands with regards to their talent pool. It is inevitable that as a business grows, so too will they expand their employee numbers, expanding the scope of specific roles or possibly creating entirely new divisions as the demands of the organisation dictates.

These shifts often find organisations moving from a low key, more intimate set up where a small number of close knit employees work closely together, often with a certain degree of overlap to their roles, into a more traditional, wide spread workforce where employees are more ringfenced to their specific discipline. This change can sometimes be jarring for organisations, representing as it does, a move away from a scrappier, somewhat informal structure to something decidedly more “corporate”.

Many emerging business owners may be reluctant to invest in a full time HR team as it represents for some, a perceived money sink during a period of expansion when resources may be at a premium. This is a somewhat outdated view and one that many organisations appear to be moving away from. The function of HR is absolutely vital in helping ensure that your people remain in lockstep with your overall business goals. Ultimately the growth of your organisation will be determined by the talent you rely on to enact your goals and strategies. As your business expands, you cannot afford to take your eye off the ball with regards to the myriad demands that growth brings, particularly in the areas of recruitment. Furthermore, a well embedded HR team can be absolutely instrumental in helping formulate and effectively communicate any ongoing policies of change or strategy.

How does hr benefit a fast growing company?

As mentioned previously, a well embedded HR team can be an asset in helping growing business achieve their goals. When looking at undergoing a period of expansion, there are certain elements where your HR teams are perfectly placed to assist:

  • Recruitment- Any period of growth will find organisations at a pivotal point in their lifespan. The ability to bring on board the right talent to help you meet your goals can In many instances be the make or break point which determines the success of any expansion. Smaller organisations looking to expand in scope will also find this a particular challenge as in many instances, they will be moving from a more intimate set up with accepted overlap of job roles, to a more formally defined structure.

            The logistical and administrative demands of recruitment isn’t for the faint hearted and as much as smaller organisations may be loathe to invest in a full time HR team at such an early stage, it is clear that the most effective recruitment process can only come about as a result of leveraging the expertise of HR professionals. Being able to identify specific skillsets and requirements in order to enhance the development of your organisation, as well as crafting a recruitment and onboarding process which benefits employee and business alike is an extremely demanding process and you should lean on your people teams where possible in order to make the most of their knowledge.

  • Compliance - As an organisation expands in scope, it can also find itself faced with a raft of legal and legislative considerations to take into account. It’s no understatement to say that failure to be compliant in many of these areas can mean significant legal implications for organisations. The advantage of a well embedded HR function is the ability to leverage the expertise of professionals who understand your growth and expansion plans and also how they must align with any potential legislative changes. Having a team in place to help identify these pitfalls ahead of time can help you influence your business strategy in order to account for them.
  • Grievances - A move away from a smaller, perhaps more informal organisational set up can bring with it a greater potential for employee disputes and grievances. As businesses look to expand, it is vitally important that they have the proper framework in place in order to deal with any grievances or matters of employee discipline. By leveraging new systems and processes, as well as the expertise of HR professionals, emerging organisations can ensure that they have a well defined and formalised process in place to support their people.
  • Training and development- As organisations grow in size, they may find that their older methods of employee training and development may no longer be viable. Smaller businesses may have been used to a more informal, one to one setting where knowledge is able to be passed on from one employee to another. As businesses look to expand in scope, it is important they consider the growth and development of their people and craft a formalised structure which not only allows each and every person the ability to broaden their knowledge and skillset, but also accurately and effectively charts each employee’s developmental journey.
  • Employee engagement- As a business expands in scope, it can be all too easy for the human element to be lost. As employee numbers increase, many organisations may find that their more informal methods of engaging with their people may become untenable, running the risk of becoming alienated from their employees unless a formalised process is created. HR teams are ideally placed to bear the strain of employee engagement, ensuring there is a system in place for regular catch ups and one to one meetings to gain a measure of an employee’s mood as well as setting out goals and aspirations.
  • Wellbeing and your Brand- Employees across the country are becoming increasingly more discerning when looking for a new organisation to join, with more and more evidence pointing towards a heightened awareness of mental and physical wellbeing. As organisations look to grow, an embedded HR team are an undeniable asset in helping to not only create policy sympathetic to these requirements, but also communicate them to employees and potential candidates. How an organisation is able to pivot to meet these requirements can be a make or break factor for new talent deciding to join the organisation as well as a representation of their overall brand.

HR Performance Solutions

Any period of significant growth is a time of excitement and trepidation in equal measure. For organisations expanding from their smaller beginnings, it also represents a fundamental shift in their structure and way of working. Smaller companies- particularly start-ups, may have been reliant on a scappier, more informal structure where casual interactions and a blurring of lines between job roles may have been the norm. As these businesses expand in scope, it will become quickly apparent that this older way of work will no longer be tenable.

Most periods of growth will see an organisation’s finances balanced on a knife edge, with careful consideration about resources and talent acquisition required in order to facilitate a successful expansion. It is for this reason that it is all too easy for many organisations to overlook HR as an unwieldy, superfluous function, more suited to long established, larger businesses. In being beholden to these outdated beliefs, many emerging organisations are missing out on the opportunity to harness the power of HR performance solutions and professionals to help enhance this process of growth and evolution.

At Advanced, we believe in the power of HR to allow you to achieve more. We believe that as your company looks to expand, your HR teams are ideally placed to help you reach your goals. Your HR professionals are placed at the heart of your organisation and their expertise will be invaluable in helping you developing, reinforcing and changing up the culture of your organisation.

Advanced believe technology can help to empower your people. We know that your HR teams are far more than just admin robots which is why we’ve designed our Cloud HR Solution to specifically tackle the challenges faced by HR professionals day in, day out, freeing your people teams to focus on the humans not the resources.

If you would like to find out more about how Cloud HR can help empower your HR teams and allow your business to evolve, contact one of our friendly team members today.

Blog Human Resource
Alex Arundale

Alex Arundale


Chief People Officer, OneAdvanced

Alex joined OneAdvanced in February 2016 with a track record in senior HR positions. She has been responsible for innovative strategies to lead the company’s talent management.

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