In a small business, there are often not enough resources to have staff dedicated to each function of your operation. You might have one or two jack-of-all-trades employees who are filling the role of reception, administration, customer service, payroll, marketing…you get the picture. Or, maybe you are the company’s go-to person.
Whatever your situation, the one area that you want to be strong and steady is human resources. Having a solid base for employee management is essential to creating prosperity for your business, and affects your bottom line in ways you may never have considered.
Here are the five pillars of HR to help you build sound strategies for your small business:
1) HR Policies
Every organization should have policies or an HR Handbook describing the HR best practices in the organization. These policies help to ensure the organization is compliant with employment legislation. They serve as an effective way of clearly communicating your expectations to employees. It is a platform to work from for both management and the employees that provides consistency and certainty. Check out my blog for tips on how to write HR Policies.
2) Workplace Culture
Your company’s core values are the practices that drive everything you and your employees do to achieve your business goals – your mission. Clearly articulating these values creates concrete guidance for employees, and a common understanding of “how we do things around here”. Creating a culture that invites input from employees produces positive outcomes, such as on openness to discuss conflicts or concerns in a constructive and proactive way. An unambiguous and affirmative working environment allows employees to carry out their jobs effectively and always with an eye towards supporting the business as a whole.
3) Performance Management
A customized performance management system is based on your workplace culture and core values. These days, the performance review is moving away from the annual, to an ongoing feedback system which is communicated in a more timely fashion – like now! A structured performance management system is important in order to communicate expectations, debrief about experiences, and discuss opportunities for professional growth. Mentorship and coaching skills are essential for leaders guiding the performance management process with employees.
4) Employment Brand
What stories are employees telling about your workplace? This is your employment brand which serves as a marketing tool when seeking new clients, attracting applicants to work with your organization, and create a presence in your industry and business community. If you are hearing stories about your competitors – how do you differ? Stand apart? Creating an appealing identity as a company that people want to work for gives you a big head start on the competition.
Offering an attractive and flexible benefits package is one way draw and retains employees and builds a healthy workforce.
It’s important to keep pace with what competitors are offering. Employment standards may only require two weeks annual vacation, but if the industry standard is to provide three weeks you may find yourself at a disadvantage by high turnover or retaining employees who are unsatisfied with the status quo.
You can be creative by providing indirect compensation such as flexible (start early - end early), or remote (work from home) arrangements for employees. Other enhancements could include access to an Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP), or setting up Taxable and Health Spending Accounts which reimburse employees for benefits not covered under the group benefits policy.
The strategic use of human resources impacts your business by ensuring that you are getting the absolute best out of your employees. These HR Pillars for small business are the stepping stones to do just that. It requires small businesses to look at their human resources as the foundation that their whole operation rests on. Don’t build your HR house of straw – use bricks and be confident that you have built something to last.
Here’s How I Can Help
If you need to strengthen the HR Pillars in your small business, I ‘m your girl! Contact me as my first 30 minute consult is free.