As a small business owner, you’re used to filling a lot of different roles. One role you should prioritize is your role as your company’s human resources professional. Having a solid foundation in human resources serves your business in a variety of ways: It ensures your compliance with labor, workplace and tax regulations; it helps to establish employee standards; and it can help you avoid turnover or, worse, lawsuits from former employees.
When you’re evaluating your company’s performance in the human relations department, there are several areas you should be conscious of.
There are a lot of legal requirements that fall under the jurisdiction of human resources. There are laws governing child labor, unions, foreign labor, veteran hiring and hiring employees with disabilities that all fall to the human resource department. There are legal requirements to reporting new hires and proper procedures for terminating employees. Your human resource department also is required to display certain posters within the workplace detailing federal and state labor laws.
Does your company have an employee handbook? Employee handbooks are essential for making sure your employees understand what it is expected of them and what is appropriate for the workplace, as well as company procedures and guidelines. Employee handbooks also can help down the line if an employee or former employee raises a legal issue about how something was handled at work. When you have something in writing that was issued to all employees, it can help you be prepared for a legal situation. Handbooks should be updated on a regular basis, and all employees should sign a statement that they have received, read and understood the employee handbook.
Hiring is one of the most difficult things for businesses. It can be tempting to quickly hire someone to fill a position. Or you put off hiring for an empty post because it can be so time consuming and stressful to find the right person. Make sure you’re not neglecting the crucial human resources task of finding and hiring the right people for your company, people who have the necessary training, education and experience for the role, who are eager to learn and adapt to your company, and who would fit well with your company’s culture.
Performance reviews are nearly as hated as hiring. But performance reviews help your employees understand how they are doing and what they can do to improve their performance or advance within your company. Performance reviews always should be in writing, so your employees can refer back to them. Written performance reviews also can help to protect you legally if a former employee questions their termination. All performance reviews should be signed by the employee performing the review and the person performing the review. One copy should be given to the employee and another should be placed in the employee’s company file.
When you’re running a business, it’s easy to get caught in the day-to-day operations: Ordering, scheduling, budgeting, paying bills, and meeting with customers. While it is easy to let it slide, the human resources operations are among your most important daily functions.