A day in the life of a 1-person HR team can range from sourcing for candidates for an open position, to corrective action meetings to managing a barrage of employee questions about benefits open enrollment period. No two days in HR are the same because the department/function supports employees it ranges from day-to-day.

There are countless ways an organization can cope with a small (in this case a 1-person) HR department. Identify which will work for your company based on HR functions most organizations regardless of size will run into:

  1. Talent Acquisition (sourcing/recruiting): Invest in recruiting accounts/platforms to assist with sourcing. Have managers partner in the process and review resumes (give them access to the platform so it’s their responsibility to find the candidates as they come in & review them). Empowering managers in other departments to take ownership of sourcing for their own positions will lighten the load for the person in HR and will give them the ability to find/interview the exact person they’d like for the position on their team.  
  2. Onboarding (initial training/organizational culture): No matter the size of the HR team onboarding must occur. New hire orientation can be highly structured to a hands-off and done by the employees’ new team. Forget the formalized new employee orientation process with a 1-person HR team rather put folders together with benefits information, intranet access, getting a company email, directions to enter time. In doing this have an intern or someone who does administrative functions (i.e. a receptionist) help put the folders together. Tools like Sapling help streamline the onboarding process so your employee ramps up to productivity quicker.  
  3. Employee Handbook: Hand-in-hand with onboarding is the Employee Handbook. It’s an essential component to set the expectation for employees and show the benefits/processes in place for a workplace that’s in compliance with state and federal laws. Outsourcing this could be beneficial for your HR team of one ensuring compliance with state and federal regulations surrounding employment law. Additional onboarding best practices can be found here on the Association for Talent Development, the premiere professional association for human resource professionals tasked with developing and retaining employees.  
  4.   Employee Relations: Use the company intranet (make sure to put everything online) which provides easy accessibility of the Employee Handbook, forms, links to employees so they do not need to call or stop by HR to access to this information. Not only will a dynamic intranet provide beneficial for the 1-person HR team but it can be easier for employees to access. Provide an online method for communication with an expected turnaround time of 24 hours or even a Live Chat function for HR to answer by the end of the day if HR may not be located on-site with the employees.
  5.   Employee Morale: Often organizations think that employee morale is a luxury and one that should be put on the back burner especially given a 1-person HR team. A committee comprised of employees from all departments can be a part of a Morale Committee which is a great help to HR. This committee can brainstorm and implement tasks to improve employee morale, such as an employee recognition program, and the HR person does not need to be a part of the Committee. Entreprenuer provides other effective methods for boosting employee morale on a budget.  
  6. Training & Career Development (task/job specific and over the life of the employee): The HR team should partner with Leaders (or just the President depending on the size of the organization) to empower them to provide career development opportunities for their employees. These plans can be a part of an annual review process and HR can provide a format to capture and track this information to assist the Leaders in providing meaningful development opportunities for their team. Provide/offer off-site training opportunities and have a process in place (form for employees to fill out to get permission to attend) so managers are able to handle this. Revisit our own blog about increasing bottom line of the business by focusing on employee development. While Jeni gives context in the timeline of onboarding I would argue that development is an ongoing process that extends beyond successful onboarding.  
  7. Payroll: Outsourcing payroll has become a commonplace function to effect paychecks to employees ensuring the correct deductions are made. This also includes any garnishment received by HR in addition to local, state and federal taxes which are mandated. Even though your HR team will still have to manage an on-site payroll system (this can be automated for further ease) it will greatly reduce labor hours to have this function outsourced.
  8. Employee Performance (coaching, remediation and termination): Unfortunately between finding the best candidate, onboarding them and working with them on a day-to-day basis there can become performance issues that need to be formally remediated. In the case of a 1-person HR team the other managers must be empowered to drive this process. HR can have forms available for managers to initiate a process in-line with the written company process.

Outsourcing, empowering other managers, leveraging online tools and partnering HR with other departments/leaders are essential to effectively coping with a 1-person HR team. Share a way you have coped with a 1-Person HR team or when you use some of these strategies and how they worked with your organization.

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8 Ways to Cope with a 1 Person HR Team