A lot of the following points come up in discussions about process. While they’re all valid arguments, they don’t always capture the whole picture.
Here are the most common reasons, and some questions to ask when you hear them:
“Our people seem happy enough.”
I get that no one’s complaining, but how can you be sure? People usually don’t speak up until they’re ready to give notice. The average early-stage startup sees 13.5% turnover, and it costs $100k just to replace those people. Shouldn’t we take the risk seriously?
“There’s too much going on right now.”
We’ll always have other priorities, but won’t we need to focus on this sooner or later? The longer we wait, the worse it gets, and we’ll move a lot faster long-term if we get our act together now. What if we end up losing a bunch of people at once when we least expect it?
“We’re looking for an HR lead, so let’s wait until they start.”
I agree that we need them here soon, but aren’t we hiring them to help with recruiting and compliance? They’re not experts on process and they don’t understand our people’s day-to-day, so how can we expect them to build a process that will make our business more effective?
“This feels like a luxury to me.”
Why does this feel like a luxury instead of an insurance policy? I recognize it would be a nice-to-have if was just about people being happier, but it’s about building a foundation for a solid business. Is it a luxury to avoid spending money we don’t have replacing people who leave?
“How are we going to pay for it?”
Would we rather spend $15–30k now, or spend more later to replace people who leave? These issues can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Anything we spend now will be next to nothing compared to what we’ll spend if a bunch of people leave.
“We don’t have room in the budget for this right now.”
If we don’t start soon, ultimately the product will suffer and our sales reps won’t ramp to quota in time. So in a lot of ways, this feels more like a product and marketing expense than an HR expense. Is there any way to get the teams that would benefit most to help with the cost?