.nav li ul { width: 300px; }#top-menu li li a { width: 240px; }

If your business is like most, in the early stages it was all-hands-on-deck with everyone doing whatever it took to keep the organization afloat. You likely pieced together a human resources process with several people taking on various duties.

Managing HR may be something you can’t – or shouldn’t– use your valuable time to do, depending on the scale of your organization. If the leadership team of your small to medium sized business has been handling the HR tasks it may be time to hire an HR pro. However, how do you evaluate when is the right time to make that decision – and who you should hire to do which HR tasks?

In this post, we’ll discuss

  • Growing pains that indicate it’s time to add HR to your team
  • Tactical and strategic HR tasks
  • Types of HR employees
  • HR technology and outsourcing

Growing Pains

You’ve pieced together an HR process that seems to be working. Recruiting and hiring are handled by the business founder who’s been tasked with building a team from scratch. Your CFO manages payroll and compensation and handles benefits issues. Meanwhile, your admin or office manager processes new hire forms and requests for time off.

Then you hit a snag.

  • You’re not attracting the best candidates
  • An overburdened key employee quits
  • You face legal and compliance issues
  • You don’t have a process to make essential hires quickly and effectively

With so many competing priorities, you may find it challenging to prioritize HR. Perhaps your top pick for a critical role turned you down because you haven’t had the time to research what’s in a competitive benefits package, let alone put one together. You missed out on another candidate when they lost interest because you spent your time screening candidates for a different role instead of getting back to them. Then your admin quit because she couldn’t keep up with her “other duties as assigned” HR tasks while also assisting customers and supporting your sales team.

If that wasn’t bad enough, your legal fees are starting to add up. An employee filed a sexual harassment claim against your company. Then, because you misclassified a team member as exempt to avoid paying overtime, you’ve got a wage dispute on your hands.

But bad news isn’t the only reason to add HR to your team. Perhaps you landed a big contract and you need to add 20 people to your service team – yesterday. An important client wants you to add a second team to support another of their facilities. An online marketing campaign is bringing in three times the orders your staff can handle, and you’re starting to get backed up. HR issues can arise as your company grows because your existing team is just too busy to do it all. Other times, it’s because you “don’t know what you don’t know” when it comes to HR.

HR Duties

Low unemployment, new technology, and increasing employee expectations have caused basic HR processes to become much more involved. Putting thought into what your organization really needs in terms of HR support can help determine your long-term HR strategy. There are tactical and strategic aspects of modern HR teams. You can hire someone to prioritize tactical or strategic HR tasks: however, it’s difficult and impractical to hire someone to handle both these types of HR tasks.

Tactical HR

A tactical HR team member focuses on the manual administrative and technical tasks of HR.

Tactical duties:

  • Post job openings
  • Track and screen candidates
  • New employee orientation
  • Prepare and update employee records
  • Organizing and storing employee data
  • Ensuring state and federal compliance regulations are met
  • Processing payroll
  • Benefits administration
  • Time-off requests
  • Track mandatory compliance training

Strategic HR

Strategic HR focuses on your organization’s growth and long-term HR planning. A strategic HR staff person is more likely to be part of your leadership team than tactical HR staff. In today’s competition to recruit and retain the best talent, adding an HR strategist to your team often makes good business sense.

Strategic duties:

  • Company culture development
  • Employee engagement planning and implementation
  • Professional development and training
  • Job description creation and updates
  • Hiring to develop future leaders
  • Employee retention plan

Types of HR Employees

You can learn more about various HR positions through the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) or other sites such as Human Resources Education. We’ll give you examples of a tactical HR position and a strategic HR position typical in small to medium-sized businesses.

Human Resources Specialist (Tactical)

A Human Resources Specialist typically has a bachelor’s degree and is early in their HR career. They are a generalist more focused on tactical HR tasks rather than strategic HR tasks.


  • Recruiting: Coordinate job postings, process resumes, and applications, screen job candidates, perform background checks and conduct initial interviews
  • Records: Prepare and update employment records related to hiring, compliance, promotions, and terminations
  • Onboarding: Conduct new employee orientation by explaining employment policies, procedures, job duties, schedules, and benefits
  • Discipline and complaints: Address work complaints and harassment allegations, tracks employee discipline

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that the median pay for an HR Specialist in 2018 was $60,880 or $29.27/hour.

Head of People (Strategic)

You can count on a strategic HR hire to handle the overall administration, coordination, and evaluation of your HR plans, programs, and goals. This person typically has five or more years’ experience in HR and a bachelor’s degree. The strategic HR hire is your organization’s link between employees and your leadership team.


  • Management: Develop and administer your HR records, plans, procedures, programs, and budget and manage other HR staff or personnel tasked with HR duties
  • Programs: Develop and manage compensation program, personnel policies and procedures, employee handbook, employee evaluation process and benefits, and wellness programs
  • Recruiting: Develop staffing plan; create and revise job descriptions and employment ads; oversee all recruitment; develop interview process; and conduct new employee orientation
  • Retention: Develop employee recognition program and professional development plans; manage employee relations counseling, and conduct exit interviews
  • Planning: Develop corporate culture with the leadership team and recommend new policies, programs, and procedures based on long-term goals and current HR best practices

Although the paygrade for this position will vary greatly commensurate of the candidate’s experience level, the salary for an HR Manager can be used as a point of comparison. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that the median pay for an HR Manager in 2018 was $113,300 or $54.47/hour.

You may save on salary costs initially by hiring a less experienced HR team member, but someone who has been keeping up on HR trends and technology may save you money in the long run. Rather than focus on hiring when employee count reaches a specific number, think about who’s handing HR now and whether that time could be put to better use generating revenue or innovating new products.

HR Outsourcing & Technology

Now that you have a better idea of what an HR team member can do for you and what they’ll cost, you may be thinking hiring another full-time person just doesn’t make sense at this time. Utilizing HR technology and outsourcing HR tasks may be a more cost-effective solution for your business.

Outsourcing can help you to adapt to your changing HR needs as your business grows. Working with an HR partners also ensures your HR technology will meet the expectations of today’s tech-savvy millennial workforce. Your outsourced HR partner will track and provide data to help you better manage all aspects of HR as you grow your business and your team.

HR Technology

Launchways offers the top HR technology and can advise and customize based on your business needs. Launchways HR technology solutions ensure your business can effectively handle tactical HR duties such as:

  • Payroll
  • Compliance
  • Recruiting and application portal
  • Time scheduling and tracking
  • Online benefits portal
  • Online performance reviews

Launchways offers fully-outsourced solutions for payroll, benefits administration, and compliance. Working with the Launchways team ensures all these important aspects of your business are handled correctly, while freeing up the time of your leadership team for more important duties.

Key takeaways

When your organization is experiencing growing pains – and ideally before you run into compliance and other legal issues – it’s time to add to your HR capabilities. HR duties are many and varied, from time-consuming tactical administrative tasks to strategic HR planning to help your organization be more attractive to top talent.

In many cases, outsourced HR help can be the most cost-effective option for growing businesses. Learn more about Launchways’ custom HR solutions.

Share This