5 Ways to Handle Being Short-Staffed When You're the HR Department

Posted by Bennett/Porter & Associates on September 13, 2023 at 7:45 AM

For many small businesses, the HR department is a thinly stretched team of one. Sure, the team discussions can get a bit one sided, but that is far from the only challenge that the solo HR professional faces on a regular basis. Understaffing issues caused by anything from turnover issues to stacked employee vacations can make an overwhelming job feel like an impossible one.


Don’t submit your letter of resignation quite yet! Take a deep breath and remember these five tips when it all feels like too much to handle:

1. Prioritize Critical Tasks:

  •  Break it down: Identify tasks that are urgent and essential. This includes payroll processing, conflict resolution, and compliance tasks. Ask yourself “Does this just need to be done, or does this need to be done today?”
  •  Use tools to get organized: Employ task management software like Asana or Monday or even simple to-do lists to keep track.

2. Leverage Technology:

  •  Automate what you can: Consider implementing strategic HR software that can automate repetitive tasks like attendance tracking, scheduling, or benefits management.
  • Embrace digital recruitment: Don’t let turnover turn your company upside down. Use digital tools to post jobs, screen applications, and schedule interviews.

3. Delegate Non-HR Tasks:

  • Identify tasks that don't require HR expertise: Such tasks might include event planning or even certain administrative duties. And this is the important part – ASK FOR HELP! Everyone needs a hand sometimes, even HR.

4. Focus on Employee Retention:

  • Engage and motivate: Regularly check in with employees, offer recognition, and address any concerns promptly.
  • Invest in training: Continuous learning opportunities can boost morale and reduce turnover. Perhaps a LinkedIn Learning course?

5. Invest in Self-Care:

  • Set boundaries: There’s a reason they instruct you on airplanes to put your oxygen mask on before assisting others in an emergency. You can only help others if you also remember to help yourself. Overworking will not only impact your health but also the quality of your work.
  • Seek support: Join HR forums or local groups where you can share experiences, gain advice, or even just vent.

At the end of the day you are only one person. You can only do so much! So, don't forget, every challenge is an opportunity for growth and innovation if you let it be. Lean into it and add this experience to your resumé!

Topics: People. Ideas. Technology., Acumatica, Human Resources, HR Compliance, HR, PeopleSavvy, Mental Health

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