by Jim Martin
Hiring, recruiting and managing people and benefits and more comprise the task of human resources. While many small business owners feel HR can be taxing, it’s a necessity in which all business owners should be well-versed, and be able to handle any issue that may come up in the day-to-day business. That understanding will help them avoid five key mistakes:
Copying Someone Else’s Handbook. Although writing an employee handbook can be difficult and costly, it’s important to make one specifically tailored to your business. Using another company’s handbook is a mistake. All businesses are different (varying in size and type), each business has unique regulatory controls and required standards, and the handbook you copy may not be in compliance with laws that are specific to your business.
Poor Communication. The most common reason an employee leaves is a lack of communication with their direct supervisor. Setting clear standards and expectations, clearly explaining rules, and monitoring performance promote good communication with an employee.
Lack of Knowledge of The Law. Understanding federal, state, and local labor laws is critical to a successful small business. Laws may change every year, so it is important to stay current with legislation. Updating your handbook with new legislation is also important.
Failure to Treat Employees Right. Employees are exposed to legal options on a daily basis. Billboards on the highway, television ads, and public websites all offer easily accessible legal representation for an unhappy employee. It’s important to treat everyone fairly no matter who they are or what they do for your business.
Mishandled Employee Terminations. Understanding the two different types of employee violations can help you with employee terminations. Policy violations are much easier to prove because you can objectively determine any employee violations with the help of your employee handbook. An employee handbook is one of the most important pieces of documentation. It helps to have employees sign certificates confirming they have read and understood that handbook. Performance violations require additional documentation (current job descriptions, employee conferences, prior warnings and the like). Performance violations are harder to prove because the information is subjective. These require documented warnings and documentation.
Maintaining and staying current with relevant HR news in your business, though challenging, is essential. Taking time to update your employee handbook, communicate with your employees, and understand key legislation can add long term value to your business. You can discuss your HR practices with your SCORE mentor if you’re not sure how compliant you are.