Your small business has unique people opportunities and challenges. Some are unique to small businesses. Others, you share with organizations of any size. The good news? Best practices exist. Proven solutions to the troublesome issues you face with your human resources programs, policies, and approaches are available.
I’ll highlight some of the most important time investments and solutions for the small business.
These also apply to start-ups and provide a basic human resources framework for any business.
Hiring Employees for Success in Your Small Business
Your successful people choices can help you fire up your growth engine and build a productive, cordial, thriving company environment. After the product or service idea that your organization was founded to provide, the people you entrust with building the dream are your most important resource.
Your challenge, as a small business, is to build a strong pool of candidates – likely people who are currently successfully employed elsewhere. Recruit the most capable people you can find, people who are able to wear many hats and hit the ground running upon joining your organization.
You don’t have a lot of time to train and develop people with potential, so hire the currently capable whenever possible for your foundational staff.
Use current staff to help you evaluate how well each potential candidate will “fit” in your existing organization culture. The right intermix of people is critical when you are small.
Hire people who can perform multiple tasks and who thrive in an environment of self-direction, personal motivation, and too much to do – always.
Compensation and Benefits for Your Small Business
Know and understand the compensation packages offered for similar positions in your industry. Consider unusual benefit options that might compensate for salaries if you must pay below market value. But, in staffing, know that you get the people whose talent you are willing to purchase.
Pay the best salaries you can to attract the best and smartest talent to your organization. If you are a for-profit organization, share the after-tax profits on a fixed schedule. Make your sales, accounting, and profit numbers visible to your staff and make sure they understand their individual job performance impact on what they are seeing.
In establishing your staffing, your growth needs and specific positions are often hard to identify. Use interns and part-time staff to supplement your full-time staff as you grow. You can also use temporary employees, depending on your needs, but recognize this is a short-term solution.
These employees are not as invested in your mutual success as your full-time regular staff. Make a commitment to them and see the change in their level of commitment to your small business.
Your compensation and benefits establish the foundation for your success with the people you employ. Within reason, of course, for your company’s success, this is not the line item you want to economize on.
Orientation and Training for Your Small Business
New employee orientation helps your new employee become quickly productive and contributing. It helps the new employee feel valued and lays the groundwork for retaining needed staff.
Ongoing training and development, especially in areas desired by staff members for their own growth, is highly desirable. Education aids in retention when the employees perceive the seminar, conference, or course as an opportunity to help them work more effectively and attain important goals. Education is appreciated when work commitments can be met simultaneously.
Workplace Policies, Procedures, and Legal Issues
I’m not a fan of creating unnecessary policies and procedures. As a small business, however, you must create an environment in which employees feel they are treated fairly and consistently.
Nothing upsets a work environment more quickly than employees who feel they are experiencing favoritism and inequity.
Consequently, you do need to establish some minimum policies and procedures for such areas as:
• working hours,
• vacation and personal time,
• business ethics,
• job openings application procedures,
• personnel records and access,
• EEOC statements,
• overtime scheduling,
• resignations and recommendations,
• salary administration,
• problem and dispute resolution,
• corrective action and progressive discipline,
• performance feedback,
• actions that warrant termination, and
• any other policies which may be legally required such as FMLA.
(This is not a comprehensive list, but this is certainly where I’d recommend you start.)
Impact of Law on Small Business Human Resources
Keep in mind that in the United States, certain state and federal laws and guidelines affect your policies and procedures as you grow.
As an example, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 impacts workplaces with 15 or more employees. COBRA affects workplaces with employee health plans and more than 20 employees. The Equal Pay Act, which bans pay discrimination based on sex, kicks in when you hire your second employee.
Performance Management and Feedback for Your Small Business
Every employee wants to know the goals of the organization, your expectations for their performance and contribution, and how they are doing at meeting these expectations, regularly.
This may sound simple, but trying to accomplish these three tasks has sprouted thousands of books, how-to manuals, whole companies devoted to products that help you appraise performance, and consultants who charge big bucks to design what should be a simple feedback system.
As you build your organization, start out with the understanding that your performance management system is everything you do with employees from the time you decide you need to create a position until your staff member moves on to another company.
The perennially popular appraisal or performance review process is only one part of this system. Focus on providing regular, day-to-day feedback to the employees in your organization. Provide an environment in which they are helping to develop the goals and objectives for the organization as well as for themselves. Give them the opportunity to control their jobs and impact the larger picture. And, tell them how they’re doing.
If you regularly read my articles, you also know that I tout a performance management system that is focused on employee development, clear expectations, accountability, responsibility, and negotiation to meet both the employee and the employer’s needs. Rewarding, recognizing and emphasizing positive, contributing performance is an important component in this process, too.
Workplace Environment for Human Resources
Smart employers want to create work environments in which people are happy and contributing. You also need environments in which people work hard, are productive, and do more than is required voluntarily.
Satisfied employees tend to develop relationships with satisfied customers. “What goes around, comes around” is an apt expression.
Okay, you’ve done your best. You’ve hired the best people you can find. You are more than fairly compensating them and your benefits package is right on target, according to employees. You’ve provided effective orientation and people feel free to attend beneficial training.
You get few complaints about workplace policies and procedures. You’re working on that daily feedback, recognize its advantages, but sometimes have difficulty fitting it into the daily schedule. Guess what? You’re normal on the very positive end of the scale.
Keep working to improve your relationships with the people you employ and reap the benefits for your small business. Remember the golden rule? Forget it. Apply the platinum rule. Treat employees as they’d like to be treated. You’ll be very happy you did.
Alissa Zucker works for the essay writer service. She is interested in reading classic and psychological books which give her inspiration to write her own articles and short stories.