In my role as diversity manager for Rives E. Worrell Co., a JE Dunn Construction Company, I work with small minority-owned businesses to help position their companies for future success and growth.
Oftentimes, I hear small business owners ask me if they really need human resources, more commonly known as HR. The answer is a resounding yes. The success of your business is dependent on people, so HR must be a part of your business strategy.
Unfortunately, HR is often overlooked or implemented incorrectly. The following five mistakes will not only cost your company the right employee fit, but also time and money.
1. A rushed hiring process.
Some small business owners opt for convenience, hiring people they already know for open positions rather than interviewing qualified external candidates.
Others post poor job descriptions or rush the interview process, glossing over background checks or failing to check references. Keep in mind: Hiring the wrong person is costly.
Create a consistent interview process and stick with it, starting with an accurate, clear job description that attracts quality talent. Also remember to look for employees who will be a cultural fit for your company and get more people involved in the interview process.
2. Not understanding basic employment laws.
Never assume employment laws don’t apply to your company. Ignoring them can cost your small business millions of dollars. Business owners should familiarize themselves with legal issues such as overtime and minimum wage requirements, family leave, age and gender discrimination, disability, military leave and safety in the workplace, among others. Consult legal counsel when necessary.
3. An outdated (or nonexistent) employee handbook.
Businesses of all sizes need to have some form of employee handbook outlining work-related policies. However, the employee handbook should be a living document, updated often and communicated regularly to employees. In fact, employees should sign a form acknowledging they have read and understand everything in the manual. Businesses without an employee handbook are asking for trouble.
4. Not investing in employee training.
When employers invest in their employees, they know they are valued. In turn, those employees will invest in your company. This is a key element in retaining quality talent.
Various training opportunities should be provided, including orientation for new hires and professional development programs and events for current staff. This way, employers can be sure their team members have the correct tools and resources to complete their jobs and operate at peak performance.
5. Not addressing performance issues.
Small business owners must have a documented plan in place for addressing performance issues. Make sure you address any performance issues right away rather than wait. Regular performance reviews with a correction plan will help employees know how to improve. If an employee’s termination is unavoidable, having a plan in writing will help your company avoid messy lawsuits.
Although small businesses are always strapped for resources, it is critical to include HR in your planning. If you cannot afford to hire someone devoted to HR, consider outsourcing this area.
If you create your HR foundation now and develop structured processes, policies and procedures that will benefit you as you grow, your small business will be poised for success.
Cherelle Cortez is the diversity manager at the Rives E. Worrell Co., a JE Dunn Construction Company. She can be reached at Cherelle.Cortez@jedunn.com or 912-354-1386.