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Early recruitment is the key to fostering a good corporate culture and helping startups succeed.

Start-ups and SMEs are so busy in the early stages that talent is not always a priority.

But Megan Duncan, founder and CEO of Austin-based Cambara Duncan Consulting Firm LLC, says it should be.

“As soon as a company has 15 employees, they need HR,” she said. But ideally, she said that five employees would need to set up a framework for talent within the organization.

According to Duncan, talent helps companies grow and succeed. She said that those who do well early on will make a big profit in the market. Originally from Austin, Duncan has many years of human resources development experience and a master’s degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology, and she has a DBA in Human Resources Management.

There are all kinds of software programs and apps that help small businesses and start-ups handle talent issues, but the best way is to hire professionals to work with them to lay the foundation for talent. That way, she said, the solution could be tailored to the problems and needs of the business. HR is not a versatile solution, she said.

“HR is important because companies need to have guidelines and policies that help employees know how to do it right,” Duncan said. “In addition, managers need to have guidelines on what employees’ performance looks like. It needs to be spelled out for them.”

According to Duncan, talent is getting all employees on track to reach the company’s goals.

“When you have 5 to 10 employees, you don’t have much control, but when you have 10 to 20 to 50 employees, you really need to lay the groundwork,” Duncan says. “It’s a lot of mess and a lot of makeshift. Inconsistency causes mess. And you have bad employee experience and bad culture.”

Duncan says HR maintains its business in legal compliance with local, state and national laws regarding employee health and safety. It also helps hire, onboard, train and retain employees, helping to build a positive corporate culture and a productive workplace.

“Often in the growth stage, without people to handle the talent, you can be too thin to get the best employees your organization needs,” Duncan said.

And the founders of startups don’t necessarily have the bandwidth to do it all, which is fine, Duncan said.

“That’s why you hire someone,” she said.

Duncan works with any company that has employees in a variety of industries, from tech start-ups to restaurants and retailers.

HR helps establish a corporate culture with the founders and the people who run the organization, Duncan said. With today’s telecommuting arrangements and remote work brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, she said, talent can effectively help foster a culture.

“HR is a partnership,” she said.

According to Duncan, in today’s highly competitive market, it’s also important to hire people to retain valued employees. According to Duncan, retaining employees requires not only paying people a fair amount of money, but also developing an employee development plan that allows them to grow within the organization through training and other valuable experiences and perks. She said some employees value flexible work schedules and paid leave over higher salary increases. She said it was important for the employer to align with the needs of the employee in order to succeed.

Cambara Duncan Consulting provides monthly consulting services as an HR division. Duncan can help employees describe their job descriptions, hire, retain, and develop their employees, and create an employee handbook for the company.

Companies shouldn’t wait until they reach the 50-employee milestone and establish talent within the organization, Duncan said. She said these start-ups are most likely to struggle to hire and retain the best employees.

“HR is also a strategic business partner,” said Duncan. “HR can identify the threats and new business opportunities that are there. They tell us what’s coming into the pipeline from a different perspective of looking at the business or industry.”

HR can identify the turmoil that will bring to the industry, Duncan said.