January 24, 2024

Hanna Kontinen

When and how to hire first People-role?

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TalentBuzz Podcast Summary with Hanna Kontinen from Brella

Key Points from Hanna Kontinen:

Joining Brella in 2020: Hanna joined Brella when the company had around 30 employees. Her onboarding marked a proactive investment by Brella in HR to stay ahead of potential challenges and continue smooth operations. This foresight and proactive approach were key reasons for Hanna joining the company.

Ideal Timing for First People Person: In Hanna’s view, companies typically hire their first HR or people person when they reach 20 to 50 employees. The right timing varies but is crucial for managing growing HR tasks effectively.

HR Responsibilities Prior to Hiring a People Person: Before hiring a dedicated HR role, CEOs, COOs, or CFOs often manage HR tasks. The specific allocation depends on their skills and interests. External support can be helpful in some cases.

Knowing When to Hire a People Person: Signs to hire an HR professional include increased company size, complexity of HR tasks, upcoming high recruitment volume, and limited HR resources.

First Hire - HR or Recruiter? Hanna suggests hiring an HR professional before a recruiter. An HR professional can handle a broader range of tasks, including talent acquisition, and lay a strong foundation for future HR development.

Focus Areas for a People Person: Key areas to prioritize include scalable people processes, coaching and supporting managers, and covering the entire employee lifecycle, from onboarding to off-boarding.

Measuring Success of a People Person: Success can be linked to company objectives using models like OKRs. Key performance indicators include how well other teams meet their goals, the independence and strategic focus of the HR role, and maintaining employee well-being.

Scaling the People Team: Brella expanded its people team by adding a recruiter and a coordinator. This scaling isn’t just about company size but also about focusing on strategic HR activities.

Strategic Focus of HR: With additional team members, Hanna could concentrate on strategic aspects like coaching managers, planning team structures, and designing career paths.

Employee Lifecycle Management: Hanna emphasizes the importance of managing the entire employee lifecycle efficiently and ensuring scalable processes.

Advice for Other People Leaders in 2023: Given the challenging market conditions, Hanna advises focusing on employee well-being, psychological safety, and keeping up with changes in global recruitment practices, like EOR models.

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