Tee’d Up for Success: Three Core HR Tools that Every Startup Needs to be Successful
If you’re an entrepreneur running a startup, or a CEO at the helm of a fast growing business, you already know that you’ll need some kind of HR system in place either today, tomorrow, or worse, yesterday. But because you’re ridiculously busy, you probably want to cut to the chase and just implement the most necessary core HR tools that every business should have in place from the beginning.
And here’s where most companies go wrong.
They think of HR as a transactional, overhead cost that has no positive impact on the bottom line for the business. When in fact, the exact opposite philosophy must be applied – ideally beginning in the earliest days of the company!
Smart business leaders get this and are proactive about putting the right HR tools in place from the start.
I just came back from meeting with a client of ours (Beautylish, based in San Francisco) and they are the epitome of how to do HR right from the start. Their employee experience is in direct alignment with the client experience for which they are known.
Notwithstanding the basics such as payroll and timekeeping systems, here are three HR keys to ensure your business success:
1. There is no all-in-one “magic bullet” for HR
Do not seek to implement an end-to-end, HR system that does everything from on-boarding new hires, to benefits enrollment, to performance reviews, to training records, to terminations. If you do this, you WILL, and I repeat WILL, end up marginalizing your HR toolset, your culture, and ultimately your customer experience.
If you are mission-driven for your clients, then you must be mission-driven for your team experience and culture. Take the time to choose best-in-class tools and leverage technology to seamlessly pass data between each tool. This gets you the best of all options: (1) seamless data, (2) best in class tools, (3) low total cost of ownership.
2. Install these three critical Core HR Tools (core pillars) that every company should have:
First, seek out a tool that is explicitly designed to capture and communicate your Core Values, your Business Strategy, your Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), Business Process Optimization, and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The tool you choose should readily align your team efforts (strategic projects, goals, and OKRs) to the company KPIs. There are only tool on the market that I’ve seen that do a really good job at this is Promapp. Note, team alignment using these powerful tools is different than simple performance management or cascading goals. These tools truly drive and align the efforts of every team member to what matters most for the business.
After the first pillar is in place, grab a relevant communication platform for your team that integrates internal dialog with the business strategy and KPIs. Every organization has a formal org structure (the org chart) and an informal org structure (how and where the work actually gets done). The proper selection of your communication platform, for example Results.com’s ‘Connect’ platform, should enable the informal organization structure, and align its output to the company strategy and KPIs. This will also ensure that the work getting done is well documented and has the necessary degree of fluidity and nimbleness.
Lastly, the third and final core pillar, is your compensation tool set. Compensation these days includes traditional, as well as more non-traditional elements (AKA cafeteria style total rewards programs). Your compensation tools must be broad enough to handle a diversity of programs as well as flexible enough to pinpoint what is truly considered of value to each individual. And, like Maslow’s hierarchy, each individual team member is unique. There are only a few compensation systems that can handle the demands that your business has in this area. It is also a spot where an HR/Compensation partner can be helpful to provide creative and pragmatic ideas in this area.
3. Know your limitations!
Now, while there are some excellent best-in-breed, systems available for the 3 pillars I mentioned above, at the end of the day, every software system has its own inherent limitations. In fact, the more your business software tools adapt to any type of process flow, the better your business will operate.
This is simply because you then have the greatest amount of flexibility to respond, adapt, and adjust as your business grows and evolves.
So, it is best to choose process-agnostic tools to automate wherever possible.
For example, tools such as Cornerstone Growth Edition work to reduce the long term cost burden as you grow and evolve because the software can readily adapt to new performance processes, rather than becoming a limiting factor that impinges on your ability to scale to meet your customers evolving expectations.
Remember, what gets measured and rewarded is what gets done!
And this is the critical core of every successful business – from the 2 person startup, right through to the large, 2,000+ employee multinational corporation.
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