The indispensability of HR consultants for Start-ups

By: Amar, 5/11/2015

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Finding the right people to fill key roles is a challenge for any organisation. For start-ups, which do not have the requisite HR infrastructure and processes in place – and need to bring on people super-fast - the problem is even bigger. Employers receive approximately a 100 CV’s per role and finding the right candidate is difficult, to say the least. The task and time taken to review hundreds of CVs, most of which do not even meet the job requirements, and then manage the interview process for a large number of candidates is simply daunting. For start-ups, who are only beginning to recruit the key functional and business leads and set up processes, the problem is even more so

Says Ashwin Ramaswamy of www.mubble.in, who recently brought on an HR professional for a 3 month project, ‘Our key need was bandwidth creation for the tasks of hiring and HR process building. For us, hiring included search, screening, filtering, closing, joining formalitiesetc, while processes covered appraisals, employee on boarding, leave tracking, process conceptualization and execution.’

Processes are critical at the early stage of the venture since they set the foundation for future recruitment. Embedding technical skills, behavioural profiles, formal assessments, brand values into the recruitment strategy and ensuring its execution is a critical part of the creation of well-functional talent acquisition and recruitment process.

Start-ups face multiple challenges in deciding the right avenues to find the right people. Chandrika Pasricha, founder and CEO, Flexing It elaborates on their experience, ‘We recently closed a funding round to scale up and needed 10-12 people at a short notice. We could not compromise on quality since we are a young team and everybody needs to contribute. We had used job boards in the past but they proved unwieldy and lacking in candidate quality. Even the search firms did not deliver the experience to qualify for their fees which are based on a percentage of CTC of the recruited candidates.’

This is a critical area where experienced HR professionals can pitch in and add tremendous value in a time-bound manner ie short projects or on a part-time basis. The founders do not have personal bandwidth at this stage to set up HR processes and overseeing the execution themselves and therefore, they seek external help. Mr. Ramaswamy echoes the sentiment, ‘We recently decided to get external help because founders have to remain focused on product development and more importantly, HR needs domain expertise which we don’t have internally.’

 

HR consultants can play a key role in the formative years for hiring and process building. They can start from defining the organisational structure and roles in line with the business strategy, help devise a medium-term recruitment strategy and execute parts of this. They can also be invaluable in establishing the right parameters when it comes to compensation based on where the market is, and also help in identifying ways to build early culture. Of course, at the end of the day the founding team needs to set the tone but small doses of HR support can help by freeing up capacity and more importantly establishing the right processes. 

Explains Ms. Pasricha, ‘We decided to bring on board an experienced HR professional for 2 months, to own the process. It has been very useful for us since the consultant helped us in putting up roles on job boards/social media, first screenings, managing recruitment pipeline and in closing final offers. We plan to do this again, whenever opportunity presents in future, since it allows the founders to focus on their core roles.’

HR is a domain specific exercise and start-ups founders, stretched for time, can use the services of consultants to solve the pressing problems they face. Most importantly, it allows the founders to focus on what they do best. Platforms like Flexing It serve as a useful resource in finding HR consultants on a flexible basis.

We will be glad to hear what you think of what you have read. Please feel free to share your experiences, agreements or disagreements in the comments section. 

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Amar is a freelance writer, author and stand-up comedian based in Delhi.

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