There are some situations in life when the best approach is to enlist a professional. Getting a haircut, renovating a bathroom, or dealing with HR-related issues, for example.
When cost is a factor, it’s tempting to justify the DIY approach based on cost savings. Hair grows back, after all, so what’s the worry? But not everything does. Not everything can be fixed with time alone or put back the way it was. Some business owners attempt to DIY HR, even wondering why HR is important. But when the result has more serious implications, it’s important to consider:
- Does the outcome of this situation have a level of risk I am willing to take if I handle it myself and it doesn’t go well?
- Is the level of [uncertainty/risk/headache/general inconvenience] likely to decrease if I enlist the help of an expert?
- If my approach is unsuccessful, how will the cost to remedy the situation compare to hiring a professional in the beginning?
Enlisting a professional reduces risk and makes outcomes more predictable. Usually, at a predictable cost. An HR professional, for example, brings experience, specialized skills, and perspective that you may not otherwise have as a business owner. These things are important when it comes to dealing with people and compliance. While every business owner wants the best for their people, they may not know how best to achieve it. An HR professional doesn’t just help to address difficult workplace situations. They can help to create positive environments where your people are well taken care of.
Putting your people first
Investing in HR is one of the best ways to put your people first. Often, business owners find themselves in situations where they want to do what’s best for their people but aren’t sure how. Partnering with an HR professional can help you find a balance between the needs of your people, your business, and the many compliance frameworks that exist (eg., employment standards). Taking a high-level look at the situation, we can identify options and potential outcomes that support this balance.
This perspective also helps business owners find balance in their approach.
Business owners need to make people-related decisions all the time. It’s part of the job. But it can be difficult to remove emotions or personal feelings from the situation. Often, business owners aren’t just personally invested in the outcome of these decisions but in the people themselves. This can create unconscious bias and make reactive decision-making more common. This is one of the reasons why HR is important.
The key is to start with strategy. By forming a balanced, high-level view of the business, decision-making becomes more proactive. Reactive, emotion-based decisions are reduced. Achieving what’s best for both your people and your business becomes possible.
Managing short-term and long-term risk
Taking a DIY approach to HR usually entails an approach without strategy. You’re naturally going to be more reactive and focus on the problem in front of you when it arises. When you do this, you’re rarely able to think about how your decisions today impact your HR needs long-term. When the level of uncertainty is high, mitigating risk to avoid problems down the road makes good sense.
Starting with strategy helps you mitigate both short and long-term risk. It ensures you have the tools you need right now and going forward as you grow. A solid strategy helps you navigate people-related issues both positive and negative to ensure more predictable outcomes.
Of course, a strong foundation of HR knowledge is the secret to any successful HR strategy. There are countless nuances that HR professionals understand that can save your efforts.
Take employment, for example. Several laws and policies may apply at the same time with overlapping or parallel responsibilities. Knowing which laws and guidelines apply and why they apply will help you handle difficult situations that arise in your workplace.
DIY is never a long-term solution for your HR needs
While you may need to handle an HR-related issue or two as you grow, attempting to do it all yourself long-term carries significant risk. Worse, taking a DIY approach to HR risks one of the most important parts of your business: your people. Even if you happen to have experience with HR, trying to manage your own while running a business means something isn’t getting the attention it needs.
The cost, headache, and time required to remedy a DIY solution gone pear-shaped are typically higher than it needs to be. While low or no-cost is great in theory, a predictable cost ahead of time will almost always be lower. Costs (material or otherwise) are easier to control when you consult a professional before an action or decision is undertaken.
Bringing HR in early allows you to set a strategy that fits your business needs. It ensures you’ll have the pieces required to keep your business healthy and your people happy as you grow. It moves you from a reactive to a proactive state and allows you to focus more on running the business.
Yes, it is tempting to try to do it all yourself as a business owner. But, when it comes to your greatest asset?
Don’t be afraid to call a professional.