Company Growing Overnight? What You Need to do to Ensure Payroll and HR Keep up

“I wish I were big.”

With those five words Josh Baskin goes to bed a 12-year-old boy and wakes up a 30-year-old man (played by Tom Hanks) in the movie, “Big.” While he got what he wished for, his overnight growth came with many challenges— among the first, squeezing into a pair of his adolescent jeans.

When it comes to business, growth is an indicator of success. It proves that the lost sleep, long hours, and likely a lot of risks have paid off. (We’ll be devoting the next few weeks to growth in our upcoming posts.)

However, when growth is swift, it can leave you feeling both excited and overwhelmed, eager and unprepared. In fact, what a lot of companies experience at the beginning of rapid growth is the realization that what once worked doesn’t scale efficiently. There are few areas where this is more obvious than human resources.

“Overnight Success” and growing pains

Accelerated company growth means hiring and onboarding more staff, maintaining new compliance requirements, and formalizing policies and processes. Simply put, more of everything, and fast.

Let’s take a look at where you might see the impact of rapid growth on your payroll and HR functions:

  1. Compliance. Increasing staff will require compliance with additional federal labor laws including the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and EEO-1 reporting. (See more details on ACA compliance in our previous blog.) Failing to comply can result in legal woes and costly penalties from the IRS.
  2. Underdeveloped or nonexistent policies. In the fledgling days of your business, you may have put off drafting an HR policy, developing an onboarding program, or conducting performance reviews. As you grow, not having these processes in place can lead to big headaches and employee frustration.
  3. Staffing changes. As companies grow, employees tend to take on additional responsibilities to manage the increased workload. You’ll also need to recruit, hire, and train new people—potentially for roles that are entirely new to your company
  4. Communication. In a smaller organization it’s easier to share information or plan quick meetings. As your company grows, you’ll need to be more intentional with your communication and likely use multiple channels to get out information.
  5. Data entry. If you’re already keying in data multiple times to run your payroll and maintain employee records, this multiplies for every new employee you add. What may have been a minor annoyance is now a major timesuck. Not to mention, if your processes aren’t buttoned up, there’s an increased chance of data being entered incorrectly, leading to costly errors.

Growing Pains Can be Opportunities

Accelerated growth can leave you feeling like you’re holding on for dear life but it’s critical to take some time to slow down, step back, and take a fresh look at incomplete or broken processes. What worked for your business in its infancy or adolescence likely won’t cut it as your organization matures. This is a great opportunity to shake things up, adjust to your growth, and prepare for the future. Here are some questions to ask as your business grows:

  • Where are you wasting time on tedious tasks that could be automated?
  • Is your current payroll and HCM software still meeting your needs as you’ve grown?
  • Have you clearly defined your organization’s culture, and if so, how are you emphasizing your values? (For five ingredients in a great company culture check out this blog post.)
  • Are there tasks you can get outside help with, freeing you up to invest in your team? (Examples may include accounting, bookkeeping, and payroll.)

In Your Corner

A payroll and HCM partner can help you navigate the challenges and opportunities that come with rapid growth. At Patrick Payroll, we come alongside our clients to provide software solutions that can simplify timekeeping, onboarding, and recruitment, all while maintaining compliance. Contact us to schedule a free, 30-minute assessment. Because growing doesn’t have to be painful.