Like nurses and teachers, HR professionals are often overlooked unless they are both excellent at what they do and have an opportunity to exemplify that excellence by helping leaders directly. This limits both the HR person and the benefit they can provide the company.

The key to getting more out of HR is to find the best way to support HR excellence and create more opportunities for the team to shine, even if it is a team of one. Here are three ways to do it.

People problems

The first step for leaders to get more out of HR is to define the importance of people within the organization. Are they cogs in the wheel cranking out product? Are they creative brains churning out ideas? Get clear on what value the people in the organization provide.

The general focus of the staff will help clarify what HR can do to help. For example, if the team is operationally focused physically managing product, then HR can work with them to support productivity, efficiency and connection using team performance tools. Conversely, if intellect is the focus, HR can provide professional development support and anti-burnout activities.

The R in HR

The second way to get more out of HR is to recognize the importance of the function within the organization and provide it sufficient resources. To understand what is enough, Namely, an HR software platform provider, uses an HR:employee ratio.

Simply divide the number of people on the HR team by the total number of employees and multiply by 100. According to SHRM, the national average is 2.57. While hitting that number may be impossible, it is OK. Namely walks through the signs indicating whether it is too high or low.

The key is to take a minute to think about it. Ensuring HR is supported in the organization is as cost-effective as investing in prevention instead of a cure. As an HR professional, I argue in favor of an HR presence even in organizations with less than 25 people.

In such cases, HR does not have to be an employee. An on-call consultant can provide valuable advice to the CEO, a third party for employees to speak with and general guidance on the nuts and bolts of processes and paperwork that every organization deals with, like hiring, handbooks and benefits.


The final and often easiest step to getting more out of HR is to ask HR. If there is a team in place, find out what they would do if they had more time, people, budget or other resources. Where would they invest their efforts if they were running the show?

Even without HR in place, check out respected sources for HR trends like SHRM and re:Work for an overview of what is possible. Then, consider the impact those ideas, or derivations of them, could have on organization success.

The bottom line is all organizations need HR in some shape or form. When the team is strong, even a team of one, the entire organization benefits. Taking these simple steps will ensure the organization gets the most out of HR.