Yes, Your Startup Needs HR. Here’s Why
Hiring is the scariest thing you’ll do as an entrepreneur. In fact, as a founder, you’ll make up reasons why you shouldn’t hire people.
When I was getting started at The Penny Hoarder, I told myself these three things:
It’s going to create more work for me when I can just do the task faster on my own. (Not true.)
I don’t want to be responsible for making payroll because people will count on me to keep the business afloat so they can pay their bills, and that’s scary. (True, but you have to take a calculated risk and know that you’re in this together.)
It’s going to create drama for me because I’ll have to keep the peace in the office, worry about folks showing up, do performance reviews, etc. (Sometimes true, but you can avoid a lot of that by focusing heavily on culture and investing in HR early on.)
And investing in HR is exactly what we did, even though my media startup only had a handful of employees at the time.
Yes, you can look at it as an extra expense when you’re just starting out and trying to be lean. Especially if you bootstrapped, like us.
But in our case, it was too risky not to make that hiring decision. Here’s why.
My first hires, and why I picked them
Let me back up a bit.
The Penny Hoarder acqui-hired a content management firm owned by Alexis Grant, a well-respected writer and digital strategist, in July 2015.
The first person I hired was Sarah, my executive assistant, whose role expanded to include handling various projects and logistics for the company. Alexis, our executive editor, and Vishal, our vice president of business operations, were my second and third hires. My advice? Hire folks who know more than you.
Yes, hiring two executives out of the gate with executive-size salaries was a big risk. But as a first-time CEO, I needed people who could help me and the business grow.
It’s tempting to hire people with similar skills who can take things off your plate right away. And while more overworked generalists might help you check things off your to-do list, they won’t help you unlock growth.