Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Small Business: The Application of Human Resources

Being the owner of a small business includes the responsibility of recruiting and retaining good employees. In order to survive and be successful in your business you have to have the talent within the business to demonstrate value. When you recruit and retain talent within your business, you are securing your future as a successful business. While it may seem relatively easy to hire good individuals, retaining them is not so simple, and that is when the field of human resources becomes important. It may come surprising to some small business owners that despite the low number of employees, human resources is still an important aspect.

The Society for Human Resource Management is a knowledgeable and valuable resource for you as a small business owner. Their article “10 Tips to Help Small Businesses Avoid Costly HR Errors” is successful in touching on the core aspects that affect you in your small business. I will briefly summarize their key points but I greatly encourage that you take a look at the article and the site for the resources that are available to you.

1.       “Don’t Delay Hiring Good Talent”
It is important that you have the basic hiring skills that are needed. When it comes to a small business, hiring talented individuals is a have to. In order to bring these individuals into your company you have to interview consistently. If you are unable to interview multiple individuals in one day, be sure to make your decision upon hiring the individual quickly.
2.       “Evaluate Employees”
When you take the time to hire employees that demonstrate the needed talent to be effective employees in your business, you protect yourself from lawsuits. If you hire someone who is a good employee you will not find much reason to fire them. In the event that you hire employees that end up disappointing you because of lack of good evaluation, you may choose to fire them. Depending on the circumstances with firing them you may have a lawsuit on your hands if the former employee is from a protected class. The use of performance evaluations is important in order to have documentation of an employee’s performance.
3.       “Get an Employee Handbook”
An employee handbook allows to policies to be stated and understood. The best employees are those who know their expectations, options, and the mission of the company.
4.       “Onboard Employees Immediately”
It is important to incorporate an employee orientation so that their expectations are known and they can begin to be a successful employee for you.
5.       “Give Feedback and Rewards”
Even though a business is small, it is important that you acknowledge and appreciate the employees that work for you. The motivation that your employees will have to perform their tasks will increase and you have the possibility of obtaining organizational commitment.
6.       “Ditch the Paper”
Bringing about technology in your business will prove useful in making things run smoothly and effectively. Even though you may have a small amount of employees in your company, keeping track of their hours may be better recorded through an online program. A program geared toward keeping a schedule of events for the business and even the use of email will assist in organizing your business. Additionally, the applications of potential employees can be sent to you through a program.
7.       “Keep Abreast of Laws and Regulations”
Make sure you are aware of what can and cannot be done in a business regarding the treatment of your employees. There are numerous laws and protections for individuals, make sure that you are never in violation of any of them.
8.       “Get a Good Attorney”
A “seasonal” attorney may be needed to clear up any issues that you may come across.
9.       “Mind the Compensation”
Classify the employees that you have correctly in order to prevent paying additional money for not being paid, make sure you follow the laws regarding wages.  
10.   “Don’t Go It Alone”
Connecting with external resources and companies may prove useful in maintaining a good human resources portion of your business.
The world of human resources is ever changing and extremely important. The 10 key concepts that SHRM has mentioned in their article are just the basics, your knowledge can extend much farther if you so choose. It is important that your business has the skills and talent that it needs, and the only way to do that is to have a hiring process that supports that. The ability to have individuals that are organizationally committed to your company will come as a result of how you treat them and the culture that you present within your small business. Remember to take advantage of the resources that are out there for you to be successful.

Written By:
Marissa Fazekas
Kutztown University Small Business Development Center