Bottom-Line Benefits to Building an HR Village

by Nathan Christensen on February 8, 2018


If you’re a small business owner or executive, you know that the field of Human Resources has never been more complex. HR is now comprised of over 20 separate disciplines, including recruiting, performance management, retention, wage and hour, compensation, immigration, professional development, culture, and benefits – all of which can affect the bottom line.

To add to the challenge, most of those disciplines are becoming increasingly complicated, as new regulations, technology, workplace transparency, and workforce dynamics accelerate the pace, complexity, and stakes of each practice area. It’s simply hard for any HR practitioner or even team to keep up.

We’ve all heard the phrase “it takes a village.” The key to building, maintaining, and continuously improving your HR practice – and strengthening your organization -- today is to create an HR village of your own. Success starts with 3 equally important pillars:

  1. An empowered internal HR practitioner. Whether full-time or part-time, senior or junior, your organization needs an internal owner of the Human Resources function. This person is responsible for making sure that your policies, processes, and practices are defined and administered in alignment with your organization’s culture, mission, vision, values, and objectives. Executive management needs to empower this HR leader with internal authority and resources to execute those responsibilities effectively across the organization.
  1. An external HR adviser. Even seasoned HR professionals cannot maintain expertise in every HR discipline today. More importantly, you shouldn’t ask them to. Maintaining expertise across such a wide range of disciplines is expensive and time-consuming. The most efficient way to supplement and increase the HR capabilities of your internal HR practitioner is to pair them with an outside HR adviser -- a team of HR experts. When selecting an effective HR adviser, look for these 3 key attributes: (1) breadth and depth of HR skills and expertise, (2) commitment to building your HR practitioner’s skills and expertise, not creating dependencies, and (3) a pragmatic approach focused on actionable advice and deliverables.
  1. A core suite of HR technology. HR technology has taken big steps forward in the last 5 years and, when deployed effectively, can provide visibility, streamline manual processes, and improve the experience of the people who interact with your organization, including employees, candidates for hire, or vendors. The particular solutions most appropriate for your organization depend on your size, objectives, and industry. The key is to evaluate your goals, budget, and the options available, and to identify the right level of technology for your organization. Your HR adviser can play a key role in helping you find the right technology and get the most out of the technology you’re using.

Each of these 3 pillars of the HR village works together and enhances the other two. For instance, an organization that has industry-leading external HR support and technology will not see the full value of those investments without an empowered internal HR practitioner who can give them life within the organization. Similarly, an empowered HR practitioner surrounded by the best HR technology will not reach peak effectiveness without support on subject matter expertise.

The organizations that see the best outcomes are the ones that take the village approach. They identify and empower their HR practitioner, and pair them with both outside expertise and technology. The result: an HR practitioner who has the time, information, focus, and tools to rapidly build and execute your HR program – and significantly increase the effectiveness of your organization.

About the author:

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Nathan Christensen, CEO - Mammoth HR 

Nathan is a recognized innovator and leader in the Human Resources field. He is a regular speaker at industry conferences and podcasts, and his articles on management, human resources strategy, and public policy have appeared in publications such as Fast Company, The Washington Post, and Workforce Magazine. In 2014, he was named a “Game Changer” by Workforce Magazine.

Nathan is also an adjunct professor of law at Lewis & Clark Law School. Before joining Mammoth, Nathan practiced as an attorney with Perkins Coie LLP and as a management consultant with The Boston Consulting Group. On weekends, he can be found coaching his sons’ little league teams and following his daughter’s orders from the back of his bicycle.

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Topics: Best Practices