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5 Ways to Support an HR Department of One

Human Resources

When an HR department is comprised of one person, there's a tremendous amount of work on that person's shoulders. Companies have the same obligations for compliance with applicable laws and regulations, employee management, and communication–whether HR is being handled by one person or by a large team. Here are some tips and tools that can help an HR department of one be as efficient as possible.

Plan Your Way with Clear Documentation

Strategic planning is essential for a one-person HR team. Documentation can help a one-person HR department be more efficient and help managers and employees understand your company's policies. An employee handbook that outlines all the key processes related to HR can help provide necessary guidelines. In addition, a written strategic plan can help clarify how HR resources will implement and back up the policies outlined in the handbook. This strategic plan is able to simplify the process and give guidance and answers when needed. Included in the planning process should be orientation and training materials, performance appraisals, and compensation information that can be accessed at a moment's notice.

Know Your Business

One of the best ways to ease the stress of flying solo is to stay in communication with the senior management team. This means requesting regular meetings that will keep you abreast of business changes that are coming so you can plan for new hires, training and development, relocations, and any other of the many HR functions in advance. An open flow of communication can help a one-person HR department align their focus with the company's strategic priorities and anticipate changes and activities coming up.

Team Up

Many organizations have legal counsel on retainer or access to business processing outsource partners. Lawyers can be utilized as a resource, especially for difficult issues or situations requiring a lot of research—time you often just don't have. Paid consultants, advisors, and vendors are all great resources that you can call part of your team as well. Many small HR departments choose to strategically outsource key parts of their HR operations, from overseeing benefits administration to dealing with payroll and compensation.

Invest in the Right HR Software

Of all the investments a small HR department can make, the right HR software is among the most important. Technology can streamline the administration of key areas of the business, from time and attendance to compensation. By using the right technology, small HR departments can create self-service portals that allow employees to handle their most basic tasks directly. In addition, analytics and data dashboards make it easier to complete everything from executive reporting to compliance-related analysis.

Technology can streamline the administration of key areas of the business, so it's important to invest in the right software.

Network and Connect to Knowledgeable Resources

One-person HR departments need to stay up-to-date on the latest changes affecting HR, but often have very little time for research. Start with Paychex WORX for articles, tools, and tips to help you solve HR issues and plan for the future. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) can also be a useful resource with information, experts, and webinars that can keep you up-to-date on your most important questions.

As a one-person HR department, it's important that you're focused, efficient, and on top of the issues affecting your business. Investing in the right technology, strategically outsourcing key tasks, and aligning your activities with your business' most important goals can set you up for success.


This website contains articles posted for informational and educational value. Paychex is not responsible for information contained within any of these materials. Any opinions expressed within materials are not necessarily the opinion of, or supported by, Paychex. The information in these materials should not be considered legal or accounting advice, and it should not substitute for legal, accounting, and other professional advice where the facts and circumstances warrant.
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