Can the Owner of a Company be HR?

Can the Owner of a Company be HR? - Centric HR

With limited resources, the owner of a small business may be tempted to take on various administrative roles themselves to save money, but what about HR? Are owners allowed to be their own HR function? In this article, we discuss the legitimacy of business owners being HR, and who can actually be HR within a company.

So, can the owner of a company be HR? A business owner can choose to perform HR duties in absence of a HR department; it is neither illegal nor immoral. In fact, it is very common for small business owners to perform HR duties as a result of limited resources, and/or being unable to justify hiring a HR professional for a small team.

Read on to learn more about who can perform HR duties within a business.

Can an Owner be HR?

It is perfectly acceptable for business owners, MDs, CEOs, COOs, etc. to also perform HR duties in absence of a separate HR professional/department. This is neither illegal, nor immoral, and is a very common practice in small businesses. 

However, there is a debate around whether owners should do HR. Whilst small business owners often find it necessary to perform their own HR duties, some experts argue that this spreads owners too thin, and takes them away from growing the business. 

A 2014 by the SCORE Association found that:

  • HR takes up 25-35% of a business owner’s time
  • Owners spend 7-25% of their time just dealing with paperwork
  • Businesses with 20 employees or less have 60% higher compliance costs

There is also the argument surrounding the issue of when a small business owner should make the switch and hire a HR professional, or at least pass the duties on to someone else. There is little value in hiring HR professionals for a small team, but at what point does a small team become a team that requires a dedicated HR function, instead of an owner that cannot fully focus on any one task because they are spread too thin.  

Some industry experts recommend hiring a HR professional at around 50 employees, or if owners are struggling, they may consider hiring a HR professional part-time with fewer than 50 employees. 

Can a director of a company be HR?

Similar to a business owner, a company director can be HR, although this is only likely to happen in small businesses. However, there is, again, the potential for a director to spread themselves too thin when also performing HR duties. 

A director’s role is typically already fairly stressful with a heavy workload, so consider carefully before taking on HR duties, or asking a director to take on HR duties. 

Can anyone be HR?

Anyone can perform HR duties, but this is only likely to happen in small businesses. Larger businesses will typically choose to hire HR professionals over unqualified or inexperienced candidates.

More junior roles within a HR department of larger businesses may be suitable for unqualified or inexperienced candidates, however those wishing to be a HR officer or management should have suitable qualifications; either a Higher National Certificate, a Higher National Diploma (HNC/HND), or a university degree. Alternatively, many years of experience may suffice. 

In small businesses that don’t have a HR function, however, almost any competent person could work as HR, but those with an administrative background would likely perform the role better, likewise, those that have strong communication skills, and people management skills. In such businesses, you might find administrative workers, project managers, and operations managers taking on HR roles. 

What is the qualification to become HR?

Whilst qualifications aren’t always necessary to work in HR, widely accepted qualifications include:

  • Higher National Certificate (HNC)
  • Higher National Diploma (HND)
  • University Degree (BA/BSc/MA/MSc)
  • Professional CPD (such as via CIPD)

Can a company not have HR?

It is not a legal requirement for a company to hire someone with a HR background or qualifications, however, there should be an appointed person responsible for HR matters. It is entirely up to the business owner/management whether or not to hire a dedicated HR worker. 

HR Outsourcing UK

If you feel that your small business doesn’t yet need a dedicated HR professional, but you still need a little help, HR outsourcing might be the solution for you. Centric HR can help to take the stress of HR off your shoulders, giving you the time back to run your business effectively. 

Stop losing time and sleepover employment law, people management, discipline, and processes. If outsourcing isn’t quite right for you, however, we also offer HR consultancy, and HR software which could help you to keep on top of your HR matters. 

We’re here to help. Get in touch today to learn more by contacting us here, and to see what we can do for your business. 



READ RELATED ARTICLE:  Men's mental heath in the workplace

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Sandra Berns

Centric HR was founded by Sandra Berns, a confident and versatile Human Resources and Organisational Development Practitioner with 25 years demonstrable experience and a Fellow of the CIPD. Sandra has both Operational and Strategic HR expertise across Public and Private sectors and has assisted senior teams in meeting challenging workforce objectives in many corporate environments.