Our organisation is growing and we have just finished the onboarding for the very first Human Resource employee…Human Resource? Who came up with this word or department? I’ve always held the believe that Human Resource or Talent Development as some call it should be integral part of every department, of every Manager. Anybody leading a team or even only one person should be aware of contractual implications, of salaries and vacation time, or recruitment and of employee satisfaction. I always looked at HR like a place to run to if you have questions or doubts about your employer or direct Manager – a neutral person within our group who could cover that function had done the trick so far.
Other HR tasks like recruitment and partnerships with universities, contracts, onboarding, vacation organization and all employee evaluation should fall in the hands of every Manager. I thought it to be impossible that somebody else could do these tasks. But the day has come that we have grown to much and cannot keep up with the workload. As it is unacceptable to just focus on Marketing or Development without looking at our team member’s contracts or vacation times, we needed a solution. We made an inventory of all that needed to be done and the decision to hire an additional person was easily taken. I was also looking at other companies to see how they would solve their problems. Who is responsible for writing Job offers and publishing them? Who is responsible for contacting universities and offering internships? Who is responsible for pre-selection and interviews? In the beginning, it was us doing everything. The person doing the marketing knew best what kind of skills were needed and as the only person making up the department had to get along with the newcomer. More than just a fixed set of skills, we needed to match in mentality, mission and on a very personal level. Even though, this is true, I also learned that the personnel department can learn these things and actually give great support to the manager looking for new hires.
After having figured out the more administrative part of HR, we still had the motivation and spirit to think about. We had never had to worry about that working all on one big table, or sharing 40m2 at the most. Now there were three newbies joining our team every Monday and it was hard to keep up the rhythm with Burger and Pizza Dinners. If we continued like this, soon we wouldn’t be able to fit on our small ikea desk chairs. HR can actually help you spread the companies mission throughout every department and even infect the latest hire with the founder’s enthusiasm! Some companies like Spreadshirt even created a job around it: The Happy Manager or Feel Good Manager. As they were growing they wanted to preserve the team spirit and seem much smaller than they actually were, their Feel Good Manager now organizes lunch meets, open picknicks to mingle, after dinner parties but also yoga or work out sessions in the mornings and after work runs at sundown. But maybe most importantly, he or she lends an open ear to each employee and has a strong shoulder everybody can lean on. The Feel Good Manager is the contact between the Executive Team of the company and the whole team, just like a Cultural Minister.