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Savvy business owners mustn’t let the good problems bewilder them. Far from being something to fear, company growth is something business owners should welcome with a smile and an overflowing gift basket. Only in this case, let the gift basket be scaling the human resources team’s work output for the betterment and well-being of the entire company.

Just imagine: newer and more efficient product lines, fresh work teams itching to get started, revenue flows surging up and up — the complexity this brings is the good kind of problem to have. Many small businesses wish they had cares like these — they’re signs of success. But human resource teams have to keep up with them all.

HR teams are like the front line of any growing company. They embrace the challenges of scaling employee workloads and efficiency with the new regulations and workplace policies that come with more staff. They also make themselves responsible for bringing in new team members and acculturating them with company values.

This guide presents an overview of how HR’s responsibilities can and will change as a business climbs the ladder of successful companies.

HR at 2-19 Employees

Human resources teams carry a lot of water in the modern workplace. They:

  • Write employee handbooks and important policy information
  • Recruit new candidates and help them acclimate to the company
  • Make sure company policies don’t clash with state or federal regulations
  • Assist employees with nearly every aspect of their payroll, from taxes to vacation time

So, it’s safe to say they’re indispensable. When companies are just starting out, business owners themselves most often take on the lion’s share of these tasks. That can work when operations are small, when employers enjoy direct, regular contact with workers. Naturally, this circumstance is easy on the budget as well, which doesn’t hurt.

But it’s just not sustainable. As companies grow, so do their needs, and no amount of CEO multitasking can accommodate it all. That’s when many first turn to professional employer organizations (PEOs) like Resourcing Edge to lighten their workloads. It’s simply a smarter way to get everything taken care of and avoid the burnout that inevitably results from “DIY syndrome.”

Meeting Regulations for Small Companies

Listing out all the different federal laws small companies must observe would take a while. There’s the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), the Equal Pay Act (EPA), the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)… it’s enough to boggle anyone’s mind. Business owners simply don’t have the spare mental capacity to deal with it all while simultaneously serving their customers and turning a profit.

And then there are insurance requirements that come into play as businesses hire more employees. Fewer than 10 employees? Many workplace insurance requirements simply don’t apply. 15 or more employees? Now companies need to account for:

  • Employment practices liability insurance
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Property insurance
  • And more

Companies should likewise consider what benefits to offer, especially if they plan to onboard long-term employees. The cost of training new people often far exceeds the cost of a modest benefits package, making it an attractive option to consider even for businesses with limited resources on hand.

HR at 20-49 Employees

The business with 20–49 employees has to think proactively about its hiring practices. It now has middle management officers in place, mediating between the new hires and the old hands at the top. This is a specialized leadership role that’s essential for the future well-being of any organization — assisting them is one of HR’s primary responsibilities.

This stage of the game calls for optimization. All the fundamentals were present when the company was smaller, but now the stakes are higher, and the margin for mistakes is smaller. Effective HR teams are those that cross every “t” and dot every “i,” particularly by:

  • Formalizing the company’s policies and procedures through codified written materials
  • Documenting contentious interactions between employers and their employees
  • Auditing company policy for compliance with state and federal regulations that affect midsized businesses
  • Developing training programs for new hires and continuing education programs for old ones

It’s also the stage for long-term planning. A company that grows from 1 to 49 may soon grow even faster — it’s the exponential function at work. That means cultivating the business’s most valuable resource with employee loyalty programs that directly encourage worker retention and productivity. Flexibility may make more financial sense than losing an employee and retraining another.

HR teams can now plan for the long haul. They might envisage fruitful career paths up the company hierarchy, each with its own range of benefits and training demands. Likewise, they can forecast the company’s future working conditions, such as how it could outgrow its current office, and offer upgrade suggestions.

HR teams have to carefully coordinate these duties with the accounting department to align the company’s payroll with its budget. But this isn’t just about living within one’s commercial means. If HR teams notice the budget can support a more generous payroll, they could elevate worker morale by recommending a fitting raise.

HR at 50 or More Employees

The company that reaches this plane of existence has learned to focus. It knows how to integrate and harmonize a wide range of goals from many departments into a singular plan of action. Now everything becomes about process: The sheer intensity of action can overwhelm even senior managers without a timely assist from dedicated HR professionals. 

This is when HR and management teams must really learn to sit at the same table and clash, scowl, cry, but ultimately agree for the good of the business. There will be disagreements and scuffles along the way, but a true and lasting partnership begins here. With a handshake and a comprehensive written plan for performance management solutions, the two sides must see eye-to-eye because the organization is too large to tolerate anything less. HR teams can help plan: 

  • Wide-reaching blueprints that express the organization’s philosophy, mission, and underlying structure
  • Lists of known skill proficiencies and deficiencies, with due consideration for the company’s future goals
  • Comprehensive hiring packages that coach new arrivals in the company’s idiosyncrasies and prepare them for a successful career
  • New wellness programs for existing employees, up to and including reforming the company’s on-site snacking options

HR at 100+ Employees

Chief considerations now include data security and risk aversion. Companies must provide at least minimum health care packages under the Affordable Care Act or risk government penalties. That means learning how to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), as well as safeguarding other vital employee health care data. They must also offer eligible employees at least 12 weeks of leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

These measures do more than just protect employees. HR teams at this level spend most of their time minimizing the risk of lawsuits. And as companies balloon to 100 or more employees, their need for risk aversion strategies only intensifies. HR teams have to lead by example by identifying potential areas of liability before they coalesce into a crisis point.

To achieve that, they need a solid understanding of the company and industry, as well as amicable cooperation from their management partners. It’s time to formalize employee mentor programs, the feedback process, and other aspects of the company’s internal culture. HR teams need the ability to both innovate and expect unseen areas of concern. They’re like the eyes and ears of the upper management team.

HR That Scales With a Business

With so many roles to play and so much riding on the outcome, flexibility and the capacity for self-improvement are paramount among HR teams. Companies depend on them for nearly every aspect of their operations. Payroll is just the least of their responsibilities after the company grows large enough.

It’s easy to get lost in all that shuffle. Fortunately, businesses feeling growing pains can partner with an organization like Resourcing Edge to help bring order to chaos. Resourcing Edge’s dedicated HR professionals know how to provide actionable advice in keeping with a company’s unique culture. To benefit from our services, reach out and speak with one of our representatives today.


Bureau of Labor Statistics: What Human Resources Managers Do

U.S. Department of Labor: Workplace Posters

Human Resources MBA: Reasons Why HR Is So Important for Business Success

Forbes: 13 Ways HR Can Help Build a Sustainable Company Culture

Jami Beckwith

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