How to organize the HR department in a small company?

How to organize the HR department in a small company?
  1. First step
  2. Second phase, HR-analysis
  3. The third stage, HR-strategy
  4. Fourth level, Basic HR functions
  5. Recruiting.
  6. Start to use HR software
  7. Adaptation
  8. Work with evaluation results.
  9. Key performance indicators

It is a special challenge to build something from scratch. And the creation of an HR department “from scratch” is no exception. What steps need to be taken so that your efforts are crowned with success - a house erected from the foundation not only survived, but also became a comfortable place to live?

First step

To build a system as efficiently as possible, first of all, find out the answers to two key questions.

Why now? Often, the need to create an HR department arises when something hurts a lot in the company and urgent treatment is required. Therefore, it is so important to conduct discussions with top officials and find out the necessary initial data: at what stage of the life cycle is the company currently located? What is strategy, strategic goals for the future (3-5 years)? Why right now there is a need for HR as a function? Why do we need this? What kind of HR functions does a company need? What functions will be needed in the near future (1-3 years)?

The answer to this question is necessary in order to understand the needs of the company and prioritize. At first, when creating the HR department, a huge pool of tasks is formed that cannot be completed simultaneously - only in sequence. Having talked with the first persons of the company - the owners and top management.

Take a day or two to analyze the situation, and at the same time I talk with employees to verify the vision. This will save you from rash actions and focus on what is really important.

Second phase, HR-analysis

Here it is important to take the following steps:

  • To analyze the received data.

  • Explore company strategy, resources, needs.

  • Identify decision makers.

  • Develop a HR strategy.

  • Align priority areas of activity and resources with decision makers.

A particularly important point is the identification of decision makers and who are real customers. It happens that the general director officially invites to work, and the key customer is the head of the department, who needs to solve systemic problems with recruitment or involvement, for example. If you do not identify these people, their needs and goals, if you do not establish contact with them, there is a high probability of encountering negative or even resistance.

The third stage, HR-strategy

HR-strategy is an integral part of the overall business strategy of the company. It is necessary to inform management about what stages of HR function development exist and what you can offer at each of them. Functions line up gradually. If the company has a lot of expectations, you need to explain that you do not have a magic wand, and the system will not build, it will not work perfectly in a month. You can make a presentation for managers, offer a roadmap and plan of action. Coordinate expectations and make adjustments to them. Employees of the HR function are agents of change, and the success of the implementation of business processes, as well as the entire HR strategy, depends on their daily actions. It is important to plan not only the necessary role models - for example, innovativeness. But also explain to the employees the goals of such behavior (wording option: “using modern techniques in work, continuous improvement of activities”) and specific manifestations (“self-study of existing problem areas in the department’s work, studying methods / trends to solve existing problems, applying new methods to work ”).

Fourth level, Basic HR functions

Usually, when building an HR system, they begin with recruiting, but, in our opinion, it is more logical to start with internal communications. Because, in fact, any HR-product needs to be "sold": people perceive everything new with caution. An effective communication system helps to reduce negativity and create the necessary corporate culture.


This most important task is usually solved in several steps:

  • Creating a process.

Here you need to agree with all participants in the process on the methodology, timing and responsibility.

  • Establishing search channels.

Drawing up a general profile of employees (which professional and personal qualities are key). Arrangements for “banned” candidates, if any. For example, some companies do not invite candidates from competing companies. It is important to find out at the beginning and fix it in the provision on personnel selection in order to create clear and transparent “rules of the game”.

  • Reporting.

Recruiting likes numbers, and in order to understand how effective the work is, it is important to have these statistics on hand. It is not necessary to create complex regulated documents; the main thing is that all participants share common principles. Simply put, the first step is to find out the needs and agree on which candidates are “ours”. To speak the same language, we decided to use a competency assessment - we created a competency model, and agreed to select people according to it, as well as our corporate values. The company's corporate values ​​are:

  • Exceed expectations

  • Accept and encohttps://brainyhr.iourage change

  • Be tolerant

  • Be honest in everything

  • Be support at work and in life

Start to use HR software

HRMS software is incredibly broad and complex. Most vendors offer a high level of customization with varying price points, so it’s really up to you to make the best decision for your company. BrainyHR can help you with this. If you just start to implement HR strategy, your company needs basic options:

  • Onboarding/Offboarding

  • Employees profiles

  • Time Off

  • Performance Review

Implementing HR software will of course involve one-off setup fees and, if using a cloud-based system, annual subscription costs. But, in the medium and long-term, your organisation should find that the efficiencies the software brings and time it saves will either allow you to reduce staffing costs or allow you to redeploy your HR team on more strategic projects. Better data accuracy should mean you experience fewer costly errors, too.


In parallel with the construction of a recruiting system, it is necessary to build an adaptation system. It is necessary to create a single process of "entry" into the company. It may be the same for all employees or differ for different clusters of positions. For office employees, a standard trial period (three months) is established with the support of a mentor. Adaptation must be effective and interesting - we actively use mentoring and elements of gamification. And the main thing is that everything is transparent and fair: if all top managers undergo an internship in retail, no exception is made for anyone. In order to familiarize newcomers with corporate culture, in the early days we suggest taking an online set of courses where we talk about our culture, rules and customs. And also an adaptation form is issued so that the employee clearly understands his tasks in the near future. The manager receives a reminder that it is important for a new person in his team to register on the corporate portal, take a course and get to know the team. It is necessary to establish HR communication points with new employees so that people feel safe and have additional support.

Work with evaluation results.

Identify competencies and knowledge that require development, offer training programs. Otherwise, it makes no sense to conduct an assessment.

Distribution of responsibility In order to build an effective HR department, it is necessary to distribute responsibility between HR and managers. Who is the last word in the "acceptance" of the employee? Who is responsible for the correctness of the tasks for the trial period? Who determines the minimum acceptable assessment result? Who determines the need for training? It is imperative to reach agreement on all these points at the start.

Key performance indicators

Performance criteria are needed not only in recruiting, but also for each process and project. For example, for training, development and evaluation, these may be the following criteria: fulfillment of the training budget; percentage of students' good grades based on test results; change in production (financial) indicators; percentage of those who passed the assessment / certification with high results; the number of employees included in the personnel reserve; percentage of appointments from the personnel reserve, etc. To assess the corporate culture and the image of the employer - the percentage of turnover within the company, the percentage of turnover within each unit, employee satisfaction index, etc. All criteria must be agreed with top officials and department heads. And after starting each block (HR process or function) make a presentation to talk about the results and plans. To make timely adjustments, you need to request feedback from those who use the service - for example, recruiting: from managers and employees.

Of course, you need to be an expert in HR, develop a strategic vision, clearly understand what the result of the company will bring the creation of an HR department. High adaptive efficiency is extremely important for the modern leader of the HR function - we write scenarios for the development of events, but the company and the market make adjustments, and we should be prepared that at some point everything will go wrong. And the key factor is strong motivation: the creation of an HR department from scratch is not only a methodology, but also an emotional stress. It is important to initially evaluate your emotional, intellectual and physical resources, to make sure that you are really ready to build the system in the first year and a half years - brick by brick.

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