Human resources tends to be associated with larger companies, but HR for small business is just as important as it is for the big end of town.
The tasks undertaken under the umbrella of human resources (HR) management are critical to all levels of businesses.
And that’s because happy, motivated staff are the foundation upon which a company builds its success.
A clear and orderly approach to HR management makes certain you have this foundation and sets your business up for the future.
Human resources is the branch of management relating to anything concerning the people who work for your company.
It encompasses processes like recruitment and dismissal procedures, employee training and compliance, payroll management, safe work practices and dispute mediation.
For an aspect of management with such a broad description, it’s common for small businesses to overlook this role when there are other positions that more clearly affect the bottom line.
While many small businesses may not have the resources to justify a dedicated HR team, failing to take HR seriously can lead to disruption for your business, and may lead to additional costs in the extreme case of litigious situations arising.
Whether you decide to incorporate HR responsibilities into your own role, or hire an HR professional, below are some of the most essential tasks for your HR requirements.
It’s important to develop an HR plan that clearly outlines how you expect your staff perform within the company structure, as well as their dealings with each other in day to day activities.
Once formulated, your HR plan needs to be built into your overall business plan and company operations guide. This may be a task you undertake yourself or, if this is outside of your skillset, you can look to hire someone to manage this for you.
Anyone who has had to hire staff knows how difficult this task can be.
On top of the obvious costs (both in time and resources), making the wrong hire can become a huge burden on your cash flow if you must rehire and start the process all over again.
In addition to hard costs, there’s the invisible cost of damage to team culture and the impacts high staff turnover can have on your business reputation.
Once hired, new staff should always be offered a comprehensive induction session, which not only welcomes and integrates them into your company and its culture, but also provides them with the necessary tools and information to be successful in their role.
With labour laws becoming increasingly complex, hiring staff can prove to be a legal minefield; an error or oversight that ends with a member of staff feeling badly treated or physically injured in the workplace could have costly consequences.
Outside of workers’ compensations and public liability insurance, companies should be looking into personal injury, property damage, discrimination, wage and award compliance, different leave entitlements, immigration laws, safety compliance and union and benefit laws.
Having someone with knowledge of these aspects of HR is essential to ensure compliance issues don’t cause you a headache down the road.
Staff retention rates are often linked to employees’ perception of the potential to learn and grow within a position, as well as their connection with overall performance.
By creating guidelines on staff performance, role responsibilities and career development, employees can understand their duties and where they fit within the company.
Managers should consciously invest time each day to interact with staff, and to ensure they feel valued by the company. On top of this, regular performance reviews should be provided, allowing employees to track their progress, and ensuring everyone is on the same page regarding any performance issues.
When guidelines and performance targets are not met, it is essential that staff are alerted to issues and constructively encouraged to improve. Where disciplinary matters arise, they must be handled sensitively, fairly and within the parameters of the law. This is especially essential if a case culminates with termination of employment.
When viewed as a whole, HR can seem like a lot of work as it has such wide-ranging significance.
A good understanding of and approach to HR for small business is crucial to establish the strongest foundations for a successful business.
Whether you’ve got a single employee or a whole team, ensuring everyone is on the same page and working together for the benefit of the company will yield positive results and ultimately, increase your company reputation and bottom line.