Michelle Olk, founder of HR Universe, began consulting in human resources on the side as a hobby in 2006, while working full-time, but realized over time that the space held serious business potential because small to medium sized businesses need much of the same HR support that large companies do. Those smaller companies, however, may not want or need to dedicate the resources to maintaining a full time HR staffer. Olk launched her company in 2014 after leaving the corporate world.
"My resume reads like a biography of the recession," she said. "I worked in several large benchmark firms affected by recession, and plants closed, they laid of staff or moved to Mexico. I realized that today, large companies not always where the action is. Now I bring my corporate experience to the small business owner. HR Universe serves as the HR manager and department where there is none or where additional expertise is needed."
HR Universe is truly a full service HR department. It does everything from hiring to onboarding to counseling business owners, and providing supervisor coaching and training, handbooks, compensation plans in addition to benefits and payroll.
Olk's advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to spend some time thinking about the culture you want and to avoid settling on employees just to get the hiring activity over with. "Oftentimes job descriptions are not written well, resulting in many more applications being received than should have been submitted," she said. "Then the owner gets tired of reading so many applications and settles on hiring the first person who seems even minimally employable." Olk also recommends outsourcing administrative functions, "because every moment you spend on back office administrative work is time you're not spending on revenue and sales."