Size of a Company & HR Duties

by Sam Ashe-Edmunds; Updated September 26, 2017
Businesswoman working with computer

Depending on the number of employees a business has, the duties of its human resources manager vary widely. The smaller the company, the more likely specific functions, such as payroll, will be outsourced. Understanding how to gradually increase your in-house HR activities helps you manage growth effectively, maximizing your labor productivity within your budget.

Organizational Planning

One of the duties of any HR department is to manage the company’s organizational chart. At companies with only a few employees, the emphasis of organizational planning might be to create an organizational chart by projecting future hiring needs, setting benchmarks for when to hire more staff, writing detailed job descriptions and creating a chain of command. At large companies, HR duties regarding the organizational chart include reviews of job descriptions, determining if outsourced work should be brought in-house or deciding if the opposite is necessary. The older the company, the more important succession planning is to ensure staffing continuity.

Recruiting, Training and Management

Small businesses often have in-house HR staff hire, train and manage employees using affordable methods such as print want ads or online job boards, supervisor training of new hires and annual reviews. Large companies might hire executive search firms or headhunters to fill key executive positions. They send employees to training workshops or hire experts to conduct in-house group seminars. At small businesses, HR duties include creating the company’s first employee handbook to outline policies and procedures, while large businesses review and fine tune their policy guides as needs arise.

Compensation and Benefits

The smaller the company, the more straightforward employee pay is. As companies grow, they add signing bonuses, severance packages, perks, wellness programs, awards and benefits. The duties of an HR manager at a small business might include outsourcing payroll and working with an insurance provider to offer voluntary benefits that employees purchase themselves. HR managers at large companies work with their accounting departments to on-board new hires correctly, making sure their payroll information, such as personal tax information, pay rate and benefits, are correct. They organize total rewards programs that include morale programs, awards, contests, wellness initiatives and other ways to create a better work/life balance for employees.

Legal Compliance

As a business grows, its legal obligations toward its employees grow. As employers reach specific hiring levels, they fall under the rules of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Americans with Disabilities Act. Employers must follow Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines and meet state and federal labor laws, including the handling of such things as overtime pay, breaks, posting informational signs and the right to organize. Small companies usually work with a labor expert to understand and fulfill their legal obligations, while large firms might have in-house counsel or expert HR staff to monitor compliance.

About the Author

Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such Smart-Healthy-Living.net, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.

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