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  • Lauren Linzenberg

An early investment you shouldn’t overlook

Human Resources (HR), People Management – whatever you know them by, they shouldn’t be overlooked or underestimated, especially when scaling a business.


Over the years, HR has evolved significantly from more or less a secretary or “personnel” to the strategic game player we’re positioning to be today. Unfortunately, some businesses – large sized businesses no less – still treat the HR function as that of a secretary. They are not involved in strategic decision making, they are paper pushers, meeting minute distributors, they rely on other members of management or executives to steer processes. But let’s be clear here, if you want an HR person to perform this way then you are confused on the purpose of HR – you are looking for a secretary or executive assistant.


By definition of Merriam Webster, a secretary is, “one employed to handle correspondence and manage routine and detail work for a superior.” The key phrase here is for a superior. The Balance Careers quotes William R. Tracey in defining Human Resources as, “the people that staff and operate an organization." The key phrase here is operate an organization.

Although, I have hope that the Human Resources function is gaining more credibility – and conversely a lot of bad press insert eye roll– I feel that it is more of a trend that businesses are following without truly understanding the function and it’s impact. Let me be clear here by repeating a phrase you have undoubtedly heard before:


your people are your biggest asset


Let me throw another one at you:


without your people, you have no business


Courtney Seiter, Director of People at Buffer, states in a Fast Company article that an HR representative should be one of your first 25 hires – I personally came into my previous employer when they were 8 employees and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. At a scaling company at this small size, the role of an HR person is fluid and is likely comprised of office management, operations (invoicing, billing, vendor management, etc), and HR functions. The beauty of starting so early is that you help to shape the culture and direction of the company. Do you test out various processes and policies before one sticks? Most likely. But there is nothing wrong with that. The company will be better off in the long run involving HR at such an early stage to assess, implement, evaluate and shift with the business, that the people of the business – remember, your biggest asset – will feel taken care of and involved in the processes that directly affect them.


Again, this is why I believe HR is becoming more of a strategic partner, for the business and for the people, but it is such a complex beast that the time needs to be taken to understand what is needed for each stage of growth. Steiter said it best that, “no matter what industry you’re in and at what stage of growth, all companies face some similar, important challenges that someone should be focusing on: keeping your company on track, creating a diverse and engaged team, and cultivating a culture your team is proud to identify with.” That my friends, is why HR should be seriously considered early on when building your team and scaling your business.


I’ll leave you with this…


your people are your biggest asset

without your people, you have no business

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