Far from being an unnecessary extra salary burden, a human resources manager can take staff matters off your hands and even bring in more revenue…
Daniel Sheildon always had a nagging feeling that he was failing to effectively manage employee-related matters at his IT consultancy company, Action Stations. Furthermore, the task was becoming a headache and a hindrance to growth, taking up time that would otherwise be spent building his business.
The Blackpool-based business had doubled its number of staff in two years, but with that had come a dramatic increase in the administrative burden of human resources (HR) functions. Payroll paperwork, recruitment processes, employee complaints procedures and health and safety assessments for the 40 part- and full-time consultants were dominating Sheildon’s working day and it soon became clear that important matters were slipping through the net.
‘In the early days, when the company was small, I handled the human resources issues as a matter of course, with help from the finance department and admin staff. Then early this year I dropped the ball on an important health and safety complaint from an employee because I’d been busy on my grand strategic plans for the business. It’s all very well looking at the big picture, but it’s the lower-level things that can take out your knee-caps if you’re not careful.
Sheildon admits that a lack of due attention to the complaints procedure nearly landed him in legal hot water. ‘It was a wake-up call that human resources issues were often being overlooked,’ he confesses.
Saving the day
After considering a variety of options, including new software or more admin staff, he recruited a dedicated human resources manager, Sarah Dunsted, in June. He’s evangelical about the difference it’s made to his business. ‘It’s possibly the best move I’ve ever made,’ he acknowledges. ‘Now we have accurate records for everything, which is bringing important issues to the fore of which we would otherwise never have been made aware.
‘For example, many of our part-time consultants are taking excessive sick days or abusing their holiday entitlement thinking they could get away with it, which until recently they could. Without Sarah’s involvement and a system to accurately monitor the allocation, I would never have known.’
Far from being an unnecessary extra salary burden, Dunsted’s appointment has directly brought in more revenue, claims Sheildon. He says, ‘Sarah recently organised an away-day that brought all the IT consultants together, many of whom had never met each other or the head office staff. It enabled us to forge working relationships and several team members suggested great ideas for improving our service that are already bringing tangible commercial benefits. To be honest, I wish I’d recruited an HR manager sooner.’