Avoid these 4 small-business HR mistakes

Running your own business can be an exciting but challenging experience. You often have to take on many roles when you’re first starting out and whilst this is often necessary, if you’re not prepared it can lead to costly mistakes.

Sometimes HR is often overlooked as an unnecessary extra cost, but we can often save you from costly litigation cases and even when things seem ok and ticking along nicely, employee turnover is one to watch as this can affect your bottom line.

How can small business owners keep from dropping the ball when it comes to HR. Here are four common HR management pitfalls and how to avoid them.

1) A hasty recruitment process

If you get this wrong, it can be costly to fix. Recruitment starts with a well written job description, detailing what the job involves but also what kind of person you need. Business owners I have met tend to hire the person they think they need and create the job description after or at least they intend to. What actually happens is the job description never gets written and the employee doesn’t really know what they are expected to do, or at least what you expect and when it comes to measuring their output during an appraisal discussion this becomes very difficult if you don’t have one.

2) Employee handbook is outdated (or often non-existent)

Often small businesses use Google to find and download policies…….yes you know who you are! You are not alone this is seen as a quick fix.

However, policies and procedures should be written for your business, they need to relate to your set up and how you would like to do things. This is where a HR professional can help you produce policies that are tailored to your business but are still legally compliant.

Secondly, they need to be reviewed, as your business grows and legislation changes you will need to update them. Lastly but most importantly you need to communicate these to your employees, and let them know where they can access them.

3) Employee training takes a back seat

When employers invest in their employees, they in turn invest in the company. This investment is most clearly demonstrated by providing various training opportunities for employees. These opportunities should begin with a thorough onboarding process for new hires and continue with professional development programs and events for current staff.

By providing new hires with the tools they need to hit the ground running and current employees with opportunities to grow, employers can rest assured that employees at all stages are performing at peak performance.

4) Performance issues aren’t documented

Whilst no termination is positive if you are prepared it can be easier. This preparation starts with addressing and documenting performance related issues. When performance problems arise, nip them in the bud by discussing them with the employee. Always stick to the facts and have examples of work they’ve done to support the points you are making. This will give the employee the chance to correct or improve things.

So, I hear you ask what happens when performance doesn’t improve? Sometimes terminations are unavoidable, the key is ensuring things are thoroughly documented. This may seem time-consuming but it can serve as valuable evidence should a termination be necessary.

Please contact me to see how I could help your business.


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