So you’ve finally decided to build your own startup company.
You’ve got an idea, you’ve got a team, and you’re ready to introduce your product to the world.
You want to focus everything you have on that last bit, so you decide to relegate administrative gruntwork—employee processes, policies, and the like—to the back burner.
You think to yourself, “I’ll just get to it once the company is firing on all cylinders. It’s not that important anyway. Plus, my team are my friends! I don’t want them to feel like employees or that I don’t trust them enough!”
Those thoughts right there? Those are the ones that could actually end up crippling your business.
As Performance HR founder and all-around HR expert Gillian Statham explains, it’s always best to actually put all those “boring” employee policies and process in place right when from the start.
“Probably the most common work we do with small business involves resolving issues that arise because the terms and conditions of employment weren’t set properly from the beginning,” she says.
“These policies help create a good amount of boundaries and a good sense of what’s expected and what is offered in return.
“They go a long way in resolving some of the issues that come up later, especially when the company starts to grow and it becomes harder to do business just based on personal relationships within the company.
“It’s boring paperwork, sure, but it provides everyone with security. Skipping it is actually doing a disservice to everybody involved.”
An HR Journey
As a 15-year HR veteran, Gillian knows what she’s talking about. She’s done HR work for everything from small businesses to global brands—and that was even before she set out to build her own company from the ground up.
Interestingly enough for someone so clearly passionate about HR, however, she admits that it took her a while to recognize it as what she really wanted to do.
“I was always really interested in business,” she says, “and I thought the way business become successful was through their people.
“Having the right people, doing the right roles, led in the right way is one of the most critical factors to business success.
“For me, that was always a point of interest, but it wasn’t until I finished university that I absolutely knew I was going to build a career in HR.”
Gillian dove into HR work once she got out of university. A few years into her burgeoning HR career she realized she wanted a more and bigger challenges, something that she wouldn’t get as the head of HR for a single company.
That was when the idea of becoming an HR consultant first crossed her mind. That led to a job with an HR consulting company, which she figured would be a great opportunity to get to know and learn about a whole suite of new businesses to whose success she could contribute to.
It ultimately didn’t turn out to be the right fit for Gillian, but it did lead to one of her business advisors recommending she start her own business.
And that’s exactly what she did.
Hitting the Ground Running
When Gillian says she hit the ground running with her new consulting business, she means it.
“I left one business and literally the very next day I was at home, with my laptop, working with a whole bunch of new and different clients,” she recalls.
“I was really fortunate that I had some really great clients straight away,” she adds, “and I also had some success in establishing some new client bases very quickly.”
With a decent client base already under her belt, that first month was a busy one for Gillian, and it didn’t take long for Performance HR to start growing.
“It was just me in the beginning, but we now have a team of five and we’re actively looking for a sixth member,” says Gillian.
“We’ve even been able to start up another brand called Performance Recruit, which we use to handle all of our recruitment projects.”
Performance HR’s suite of services has also grown, now providing support and advice to businesses regardless of the stage they are at in their life cycle.
“We work with businesses that are starting up, those who have just gone through a period of growth, and basically any business that needs to undergo any type of change,” GIllian explains.
Despite the growth of the company’s clients and services, Gillian wants to keep Performance HR lean and mean.
“I mentioned earlier that we’re looking for a sixth member right now, and six people is exactly where we want to be,” she says.
“We’re not after massive growth. We’re always thinking more strategically. It’s one of our core services, actually: strategic HR.
“We get a great sense of satisfaction from working with a business and seeing the impact and the results of the changes that we’ve introduced, and we just want to make sure our clients feel their business has our full focus and we have to make sure we deliver the best service we can.
“For us to be able to do that, this is just the right size.”
One Small Change
When you have a small team, it becomes doubly important to make sure that everyone is doing their work as efficiently and productively as possible.
And in Performance HR’s early days, efficiency sometimes took a bit of a dip because of the tools they used to manage projects.
“Back then we did a lot of manual tracking,” Gillian recalls.
“A lot of paper, whiteboards, calendars—everything was organized but the actual project and invoice management part took us a bit of time.
“We’re very particular and we have to make sure we have everything exactly right,” she adds.
“For every month, we’d have two people working around two and a half days total to do all that.”
All that changed when Gillian discovered WORKetc.
Instead of two people working for two and a half days—that’s 20 regular work hours—managing projects and invoicing now involves just one person working a total of three or four hours per month.
“It’s actually a really big change for us,” Gillian says.
“Before it was just spreadsheets with different version numbers saved in different folders.
“Now we can quickly see what projects we’re doing for which clients, how many hours we’ve used, and how many hours remain on the project.”
Complete Visibility and Transparency
WORKetc’s projects and timesheets modules are what Gillian and her team almost exclusively use currently.
“Just those two modules already save us so much time,” she says, “and when you’re a consultant, time is money.”
Quite literally, too, as Performance HR invoices by the hour for everything they do.
“WORKetc is great for us because we setup each project separately and then we make sure the hours we spend on each one is allocated correctly,” Gillian explains.
“When we have a growth service project, for example, we’d create a big project and use that to house all the other, smaller projects inside it.
“Often, our projects are based on a fixed fee, so we can, at any point, log our hours as we work and easily check in to see how many hours we’ve spent or if we’re on schedule.”
Performance HR’s WORKetc setup also lets them be more transparent with their customers.
“We can generate a breakdown of the hour, so if a client wants to know exactly where our time is being spent, we can quickly provide that.
“It also means that when they get their invoice they’ve got each line item really clearly, stating exactly what we did for them.
“It gives us complete visibility, plus it makes it easier to track billable hours.
“For each of our consultants, I can quickly see how many billable hours they’ve logged in a day, in a week, in a month.
“It’s very easy to see how productive my team is.”
A Big Difference
Since massive growth isn’t a part of Gillian’s current roadmap for Performance HR, having WORKetc do the heavy lifting when it comes to project, timesheet, and invoice management has been a big boon.
For a company that’s made it their mission to make sure that their clients always have the right people, for the right jobs, having the one business management software that does exactly what they need—and more—is the perfect complement.
“WORKetc just works really well for us, and to be honest, we’re really just scratching the surface of what it can do.
“But even just the small part that we do use already makes such a big difference.”