What's it like to be the only human resource management professional for 150 employees across 13 states? That's what Scott Smith, Director of Human Resources for Tax Management Associates, Inc., based in Charlotte, North Carolina, tells us about in this installment of Humans of HR.

What Are Some of the Pros of Being an HR Department of One?

You don't have to get other people's buy-in or approval before you make a decision or take some action. You can set things up the way you want. It has given me the opportunity to gain experience with some aspects of HR that I haven't previously had a lot of experience with.

That's definitely a good thing.

What Are Some of the Cons?

Scheduling. Being an HR department of one means that I have to do it all. If I'm not here, it doesn't get done. That makes taking time off a little more challenging.

What Was It Like to Come on Board When Your Organization Consisted of 115 People?

It was challenging, to be sure, and we're kind of at a tipping point right now with 150 people. I'm going to have to seriously think about adding somebody. The reason I have been able to manage with one person is because we take advantage of technology to automate our processes whenever possible. That's been a big time-saver.

When I came here, it was very old school with paper. They were mailing papers back and forth. It was mind-boggling. And we needed to streamline the benefit enrollment process because geographically we're not in the same spot. I now use benefits self-service enrollment, so we don't have any paper when it comes to benefits enrollment.

So, having the right HCM technology has helped me streamline. And the fact that all of my employees are computer-savvy means I don't have to be concerned with people not knowing how to access services.

Have You Had Any Challenges in Recruiting and Onboarding HR Employees?

Obviously, the employment market has changed. We're still finding high-quality candidates. The big difference is now employees are more comfortable with the possibilities of changing jobs. During the Great Recession, people were staying put.

What Advice Do You Have for an HR Leader Who Is at the Point of Moving From a Single-Source HR Department to a Multi-Source HR Department?

The most important thing is to get someone who shares your vision and can support the culture. There are some people in HR who don't like people a lot. I've worked with a few of them, and it blows me away. I truly do treat my employees like my internal customers. They're the reason I'm here. Customer service is important. I treat my employees as customers, and they appreciate it.

When we have benefits enrollment, I want to make sure I'm doing everything I can to make their lives as easy as possible. So, as I think about expanding the HR department, I want to make sure I get someone who shares that vision.

Want more Humans of HR? Check out Part 2 on Experience in HR and Part 3 on Customer Service in HR.

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Tags: Professional Services