Welcome to this week’s installment of “What the Heck is Human Resources?”. If you missed the first two you can find them here. This week we will use what we have learned in the first two installments to talk about how we can create balance and a strong Human Resources foundation for you small business. I want to start by acknowledging just how difficult it can be to start and manage a business. Most decide to start a business because of a passion for the product or service they offer, not entirely realizing that a large chunk of their time will actually be spent on managing all the moving parts of the business itself. With a bit of forethought, planning and the right support systems in place, you can develop a human resources presence that won’t consume your entire day.

It is important to make sure you are weaving your core values into every aspect of the Human Resources functions you are developing. It is really easy to get caught up in the emotions of the human part of Human Resources administration, especially when it comes discipline and termination. Concentrating on behaviors and how they relate to core values and employee policies will help to focus your attention on what makes the most business sense, rather than how you feel about the person. Taking this approach will also allow you to quickly identity misaligned behaviors that can be addressed and corrected or removed from your organization rather than allowing them to continue. When this method is consistently applied, it shows your workforce how important core values are and serves to reinforce the culture of your organization. Once the ground rules are established and embodied by the workforce, your staff will help course correct when co-workers get off track.

Now, let’s talk about the places where, with a bit of up front dedicated time, you can create workflows and templates that are ready to use when the need arises. Remember, you should be considering your core values as you develop each of these sections.

  • Recruitment: First, make sure you know which questions are OK to ask and which to avoid. There are state and federal laws that protect applicants and certain questions violate those laws. Once you know what to avoid asking, create a running list of acceptable interview questions and be sure to include some behavioral interview questions that will help you determine if your applicant’s values align with your company’s core values.
  • On-Boarding Process: The on-boarding meeting is the time in the employee life cycle where the applicant becomes an official employee. In this meeting you want to make sure you collect all legally required documentation as well as any other internal documentation you need for each employee. It is also in this meeting that you would review employment policies (employee handbook) and officially introduce the company’s mission and core values. Creating an onboarding packet and new hire checklist will help you stay organized and consistent.
  • Payroll and Benefits: Information collected on payroll and benefit forms is highly sensitive and collection of that information should be handled accordingly. Creating a standard set of documents and designating the staff responsible for collecting this information will protect sensitive information and create efficiency.
  • Documents: Gather the documents you will need to administer the employee life cycle. You are going to want to consistently document interactions  with employees and it’s a lot easier to do that if you already have a library of templates to pull from when needed, such as:
    • New Hire Paperwork
    • Status change form
    • Disciplinary action
    • Performance Review form
    • First report of injury
  • Federal & State Employment Law: Make sure you research what state and federal employment laws apply to your business. Understanding which employment laws are applicable (many are based on number of employees) will help you avoid time consuming and costly violations.

If you are overwhelmed and uneasy about how to move forward in your Human Resources journey as a business owner, do not fret. There are loads of resources on state and federal websites designed specifically to help business owners. Feeling uneasy? Reach out to a professional! As a Professional of Human Resources, I have the training and experience to help you do the heavy lifting, not mention the ability to offer guidance when tough situations arise.

Do you have specific questions about Human Resources and your business? Consult today with one of our Attorneys and let us help guide you through your employee related concerns.

Law 4 Small Business, P.C. (L4SB). A little law now can save a lot later. A Slingshot company.

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