Top HR Pain Points Faced By Startup Businesses

Eric Mochnacz
August 26, 2022

When your startup is poised to grow, there are a lot of things you can do right.  There are also a number of things that can go wrong.  As someone with direct experience in providing HR support to startups I’m also attuned to some of the growing pains startup founders experience, specifically as it relates to human resources, In this blog, we will review the top HR pain points startups experience and how a dedicated HR resource can help address them.

Finding the Right Leadership Team

When a founder first launches a startup, I imagine they never plan for it to be a one person show for long.  Your ability to scale is directly connected to your ability to identify other leaders who are ready to dig deep and take the growth journey with you.  How do you identify the right people who will play such a critical role in the forward motion of your startup business?  You find people who share the same core values as you.  

Core values are the driving force behind your business and guide all the decisions you make.  Having clearly defined core values establishes criteria by which you evaluate potential members of your leadership team.  As a values driven HR consulting firm in NJ, we have direct experience working with founders in articulating their core values and integrating them into all business processes, including who you select to be your leadership team.  You don’t want to lead this critical part of growing your business to chance.  You need honest counsel from a firm that has got your back to help guide you in making intentional decisions about who is going to elevate your business to the next level.

Recruiting Talented Team Members

Whenever we talk to startup founders and leaders, I am always impressed by their unmatched passion for their business and industry.  When we start discussing their approach to building a team, they want to find individuals who can be as committed to the vision as they are.  Without HR support, you, as the startup founder, may not be able to develop and implement a recruitment strategy and interview process that lets you find the right people.  Although interviewing can be highly subjective, a well-developed recruitment process helps you make your decision on objective criteria.  When being objective in your hiring decisions, and training hiring managers in appropriate interview techniques, you significantly reduce the risk of doing something illegal throughout the process.  The best HR partner for you has a thorough understanding of interviewing philosophies, like the concept and practice of Behavioral Interviewing, and can execute on recruitment process outsourcing that allows you to find people who have the right knowledge, skills, experience, and core value alignment you need to scale your startup successfully.

Creating and Communicating Company Policies

Sometimes, it can feel like your startup is making things up as you go.  Although sometimes that’s when you get your greatest ideas, you can’t count on brainstorming sessions to develop clear and compliant company policies.  Your startup leadership may be experts at scaling a business, but may not have direct experience in writing and developing policies that comply with local and federal employment laws.  As your business grows, and you’re on the precipice of making your first official hire, you want an employee handbook that outlines your operational policies, approach to business, and employee rights and responsibilities.  Rather than try to do it yourself, or download an unvetted handbook from the Internet (I wouldn’t trust legal employment documents from, to be honest), you want to work with an HR expert.  A skilled, experienced consultant from Red Clover works directly with you and other business leaders in an interactive process, focusing on creating company policies that support growth, align with your business approach and attract top talent to your business while also remaining compliant with complex employment laws.  Being intentional with policy development at the start of your business creates a foundation for your business, allowing you to grow strategically and you won’t need to throw out your handbook and start again whenever something changes with your business.  And since your HR partner has been with you from the beginning, and understands the spirit and rationale behind your company policies, they are able to answer employee questions, freeing up your time to focus on running and growing the business.

Developing Training and Development Programs

Now that you’ve established a strong foundation for growth, you need to start thinking about the future. The key is maintaining momentum by establishing an organization that supports the ongoing development, growth, and retention of your leadership team and new hires.  As a startup, you’ve worked with HR to figure out the secret sauce of finding the right people for the beginning of your organization, now it benefits you to establish programs that keep them invested and engaged long-term.  

Your trusted HR consulting partner can leverage their HR expertise in developing training and development programs that contribute to the ongoing growth of your workforce.  They also can develop a comprehensive career development program by connecting training programs with the performance management process and compensation decisions.  There is an immense benefit to having an HR resource who can put their full energy behind creating an effective HR function and its practices, programs, and processes. 

Not Having a Dedicated HR Person

A startup can usually be successful in its initial growth stages without assistance from a dedicated HR person.  However, as you grow, there comes a time when having HR support is absolutely critical to scale.  Red Clover is able to provide outsourced HR starting at one day a week or we can grow with your startup and serve as your interim HR manager; rolling up our sleeves and building your business alongside you.  We also serve as a key member of your leadership team, helping you drive your startup forward through innovative business solutions and complete HR process overhaul.  We’re confident after you see what we can do in addressing common HR pain points in your startup, you’ll want to continue working with us, rather than going to market for an HR hire.  If you’re ready to work with our team of skilled HR consultants in building your business, reach out to us here.

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