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Why Startups Need HR

Making the case for the undervalued department

· strategy,People Operations,Startup Development

Dear People Ops:

A simple question for you, why do startups need HR? Shouldn’t they prioritize hiring engineers, marketers, product managers, etc - people who will build and market the product? I don’t get why HR should be a priority.

Human Resources matter because people are your company’s competitive edge. People build a great product, people develop an incredible marketing campaign. To lead the market a startup needs to hire, retain and develop talented people. You can't do that without kick-ass HR.

We’ve seen promising companies brought down because leadership didn’t hire HR until too late, or when they did focused on narrow areas like recruiting at the expense of other HR functions. Uber and Thinx are two recent examples.

A company's strength relies on talented people wanting to join and contribute. Without someone monitoring your company’s people strategy, ensuring your company is a place people want to work, your company will lose its competitive edge quickly. Sure, people will join for the salary in order to eat. But in our increasingly competitive global marketplace, do founders and CEO’s really want to engage their employees only via their most basic needs? That's not how a company becomes top of its industry.

But frequently, founders and leadership at growing technology companies forget that all the innovation, disruption, and progress comes from individual people. I don’t blame them. They’re focused on the big picture, and are pulled a hundred different directions at once.

That’s why they need to hire HR professionals and give them the resources to design workplaces where people can excel. A good People Operations or Human Resource hire knows HR is more than just transactional paper pushing. It is strategic design connecting the needs of the company with the needs of the workforce. A truly talented HR hire can design and then demonstrate the competitive edge a well developed people strategy brings to a company.

In a nutshell, without HR a startup will fail because talented people, the lifeblood of a competitive company, will seek opportunities elsewhere.

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Cover photo by Crew on Unsplash

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