No matter what the size of the organisation they are working within, human resources departments have to be adaptable and open to changing demands at all times. Most industries will have dramatic shifts from time to time and businesses much adapt with them, so HR needs to be flexible in order to accommodate new objectives and focus on the highest priority matters at any given time. However, for small businesses the process that HR staff go through to get the job done may be very different to what you would expect to find in a huge corporation.
Most resources available to small and large business are quite different, and human resources are too. In the same way that budgets, timescales, physical resources and more will vary between companies of different scales, so will the requirements of the HR department and staff development objectives. The key is really to ensure a stable structure is in place, whatever these changing requirements may be.
For example, in small businesses, it is likely that financial and time constraints will be a major factor in determining what a human resources department is able to achieve. There may only be very few staff dedicated to HR in the company, so these individuals need to use their time as efficiently as possible on things like recruitment. Methods of sourcing new staff and establishing how suitable for a role they are may be more inconsistent and flexible than with a large corporation, which might have the funds to undergo complex recruitment procedures and use sophisticated testing processes to find the ideal candidate. The size of the company will also affect how often the recruitment process needs to be repeated, as very small teams may rarely need to hire new members while large companies are likely looking to fill many roles at any given time.
Another important example of these differences might be training and development, for similar reasons. Small companies often lack the time and money to organise formal training for all staff regularly; instead this is more likely to be arranged as and when it is essential. Options for personal development within work may be limited for employees in small businesses, while those in larger firms are more likely to have access to a greater range of opportunities.
Although there is a common theme here, and the limitations imposed on smaller businesses probably do limit the effectiveness of HR departments in many cases, that is not to say human resources are easier to manage in large corporations. In fact, the sheer scale of any operation can often prove to be the most difficult factor, and coordination is very difficult to maintain at this level without highly effective staff. Ultimately there are benefits to both types, and of course medium sized companies may be able to find a balance, but generally smaller HR departments will be more focused on reactive problem solving while larger ones are likely to have more control in the long term and the ability to actively improve the structure of a company.