What to do if you have no HR department

As an employer, you’ll know that having employees comes with a host of responsibilities, including benefits, pay, onboarding, training and attracting and retaining top talent – you have your hands full.

But not every business can employ its own HR department, and it’s vital to have experienced and knowledgeable people advising on how to handle your staff. Without strong HR support, your business can be left vulnerable to legal challenges if HR procedures are not followed.

If you’re business does not have an HR department – no problem. Consider outsourcing to an experienced HR company or hiring an in-house HR professional.

The problems with not having an HR department

Without a full functioning HR department, you open the door to issues such as:

  • Poor onboarding and training
  • Lack of support for your employees’ health and wellbeing
  • Internal issues with management
  • Risk of employees making claims if issues are handled poorly
  • No time or experience to manage recruitment, grievances or holiday allowances

That’s why it’s better left to experienced specialists who can take on the responsibilities of an HR department, such as handling difficult situations and remaining up to date on employment law and legislation.

If your business is growing, the absence of HR Consulting resource can be even more detrimental. Without a recruitment strategy or policy, how can you expect to hire the right people? Likewise, how can you support and engage staff without experience handling employee requests?

These are just some issues that you may notice in a business without HR support, so here’s what you can do to relieve the pressure.

How to succeed without an HR department

Having a full-time team make up your HR department is not essential, however you should look into employing an in-house professional or outsourcing your HR function to a consultancy to give you time to focus on what you do best.


Recruiting an HR professional means you’ll gain another member of you team, who your employees will build a relationship with, trust and feel comfortable talking to about any issues.

They’ll also be up to date on any changes happening in the business and understand your values, which puts them in a good position to advise on people issues that may arise because of this.

As you grow and hire additional employees, employer laws and regulations change. And with each employee that leaves or joins your team, you’ll have to adjust HR policies to handle onboarding, benefits and resignations.

So, if you’re concentrating on growth, you might consider outsourcing your HR to a consultancy.

Outsourced HR

Outsourcing your HR department gives you access to a team of experts, without the need to recruit your own. Not only will you receive sound advice, but also support in all areas of HR. The consultants will take the time to get to know your business, your people and priorities.

Many small businesses can’t afford an in-house HR department, so it is far more cost-effective to consider HR outsourcing. Using an HR Consultant, often means costs are variable – so you can adjust depending on the service you require.

A balance of in-house and outsourced HR can benefit your business, too. Combining these means the consultancy can provide as much or as little support as you need. That might be day-to-day HR duties, admin or emergency HR services.

The results of having an HR department or external consultant

For businesses of any size, investing in HR will give you time to focus on growth, motivate and maintain morale among employees and help managers to get the best out of their teams.

Effective recruitment

With well written, comprehensive job specifications and adverts, you’ll likely notice more relevant and experienced candidates applying to work within your team.

A good recruitment policy run by specialists helps ensure that successful candidates are a good cultural fit for your organisation too. This can make the difference between a successful recruitment process and one that stores up problems for the future.

Improved employee performance

Employee wellbeing should always be a priority for employers, and it is necessary to offer the right support and wellness services to keep employees happy. Your HR department or consultant can work with your line managers and senior leaders to conduct an employee engagement survey to measure how staff feel about working with your business and to identify the key drivers that motivate your people.

Management training led by professionals equips managers with the tools they need to support their teams, which plays a huge part in productivity and performance by boosting employee morale.

To help understand where your business can most benefit from HR support, you could have an HR audit or health check to identify any issues and put in place the best solution for your business.

Infographic created by UST, Experts in Managing Human Resources for Nonprofits