Setting Up an HR Department

Robin Throckmorton, M.A., SPHR

Because I was able to attend the annual SHRM Conference in Las Vegas on June 25 - 28, I wanted to share with you some of what I learned from the presentation on Setting Up an HR Department by Nina Drake.

If I had to re-title Ms. Drake's presentation, I would call it "The HR Audit." Basically, in the short amount of time that she had with us, she provided us with a brief outline that could be used to audit our current human resources function.

Right off the bat, Ms. Drake's first recommendation was to "listen…observe…listen". By this she meant, find out what the company's strategic goals and culture are, identify what the CEO wants you to focus on, and gather any information about what was done in HR before you. Most of this can be done by conducting a needs assessment to find out what HR functions are in place and what still needs to be done.

To conduct the needs assessment, Ms. Drake broke down the assessment into basically ten different human resources areas:

    1) Recruitment and selection (i.e. job descriptions, selection tools, background checks, offers)

    2) Compensation (i.e. methods, consistency, market)

    3) Employee relations (i.e. labor agreements, performance management, disciplinary procedures, employee recognition)

    4) Mandated benefits (i.e. social security, unemployment insurance, worker's compensation, COBRA/HIPPA)

    5) Optional group benefits (i.e. insurance, time off benefits, flexible benefits, retirement plans, employee assistance programs, perks)

    6) Payroll (i.e. internal vs. external options, compliance)

    7) Recordkeeping (i.e. HRIS, personnel files, confidential records, I-9, other forms)

    8) Training and development (i.e. new employee orientation, staff development, technical and safety, leadership, tuition reimbursement, career planning)

    9) Employee communications (i.e. handbook, newsletter, recognition programs, announcements, electronic communication)

    10) Internal communications (i.e. policies and procedures, management development, management reporting)

Once you have carefully evaluated each of these ten areas, you are ready to put together your strategic human resources business plan. This will help you map out exactly what you need to do and how it impacts the bottom line, plus when you will need to do it. With a good grasp on this plan, you are ready to sell it to management. Some tips that Ms. Drake offered to successfully make this "sell" included:

    1) Prepare prepare prepare

    2) Focus on bottom line results

    3) Compare to competition (do your homework)

    4) Highlight benefits of implementing the plan

    5) Promote better labor relations

    6) Investigate legal requirements

    7) Be brief

    8) Build consensus

As you begin this process, don't go at it alone. There is an enormous amount of resources out there including ours - don't forget you can ask the team of experts at any question related to HR Audits and Startups to help you in this process. Plus, we would be happy to share any additional resources that we would recommend given your specific situation. also can perform the actual audit as well.


e-Laws | e-Newsletter | e-HRLinks


Home | About Us | Ask the Experts | e-HRLibrary | Guest Book
P.O. Box 54455 • Cincinnati, OH 45254 - 0455
513-697-9855 or 513-753-8870

Copyright © LLC, 2000. All Rights Reserved.