By Leslie T. Snadowsky
Driven by a mission to enrich lives by connecting people to exceptional places, products and experiences, Outside Brands’ Outside Hilton Head offers customized group travel services, team-building programs, activities and specialty retail. The company’s Human Resources Director, Susan Edwards, manages up to 140 employees who take clients on multiple adventures including biking, boating, fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding, sailing and skiing trips. But Edwards is the guide when it comes to ensuring her company doesn’t waste time or money on its HR journey.
When to jump aboard
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a human resources department can fulfill many business needs, including labor law compliance, employee recruitment, employee engagement and development and compensation and benefits management.
“It could be revenue driven, or it could be needs-based,” Edwards said. “And there are ways to outsource your HR needs while you’re still a small business as well. If you have an HR consulting firm that writes your handbook and does your job descriptions and some of those smaller tasks that you need to have once you really get over that threshold of 35 to 50 employees, you definitely want to have someone on staff just to help keep you legally compliant. But there are ways to remain small and still have your HR needs met.”
Edwards said the general rule is to retain one HR professional for every 100 employees as your company grows.
Edwards said having HR on staff can save business owners valuable time from performing administrative tasks themselves. Plus it can help create an inclusive company culture.
“Having HR is a huge asset because your culture will be built the way that you want it to,” she said. “With each new hire, they’re driving that culture into everybody that comes onto the team. They’re really an extension of the business owner, assuming that you’re bringing in an HR team or an HR person that matches well with the business owner.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce considers HR the backbone of an organization, defining the company culture and investing in the long-term success of its employees. The Chamber finds 75 percent of employees would stay longer at an organization if they thought the company would listen to and address their concerns. The average cost of hiring the wrong person can top $17,000 annually when evaluating lost productivity and the expense of hiring and training a replacement.
Undertaking the lifecycle
At Outside Brands Edwards handles the life cycle of an employee from recruitment, new-hire orientation, benefits, performance management, compensation management, legal components, including employee handbooks and job descriptions, making sure Outside Brands is compliant from a worker’s comp standpoint, handling workers’ compensation claims and exit interviews.
“The benefit of having somebody in-house is that there is somebody available to you right then and there,” Edwards said. “Especially if you hire the right person who is well educated and has the experience level to help you strategically plan about what needs you might have from a business standpoint. There are so many different trending topics, especially with diversity and inclusion and how to know when it’s time for you to include something like that within your organization.”
Budgeting for the voyage
Edward said the cost for HR should be factored into the labor budget, which is often the most expensive line item for an enterprise.
“If you include HR, knowing that it is an expense, it could save you a lot of money in the long run, especially from lawsuits from different things that you may not even be aware of that you could be at risk of exposure to,” she said. “You always could start small with an HR coordinator and work your way up to an HR administrator or an HR generalist, and then get yourself an HR manager, or an HR assistant director, and then work your way up to an HR director. So, there are a lot of different opportunities in terms of how much money to set aside specifically for an HR person. And any of those titles are going to bring some level of expertise of which the business owner may not be aware.”