Startup founders and small business owners often put off developing simple human resources policies, thinking them inconsequential to business development. Of course, this couldn't be further from the truth. Such protocols are needed to facilitate growth and lay the groundwork for expanded operations with more employees, including C-level staff who value stability and structure.
As you navigate your industry and look for ways to develop your enterprise, try to implement meaningful HR policies and avoid some of these common pitfalls:
No ground rules
Even small organizations require basic policies that set expectations for employees and address administrative and legal topics, the Society for Human Resource Management reported. These protocols – usually compiled in an employee handbook – enable organizations to easily manage and address workplace behavior. If problems arise or employees become confused, employers can simply ask them to reference the established policies in the handbook.
Unfortunately, many developing businesses don't draft employee handbooks and instead address behavior on a case-by-case basis, an inefficient and ultimately ineffective methodology. So be sure to create a tailored employee handbook that conforms with your company culture and addresses some key topics, including benefits, conduct, compensation, leave, scheduling and termination. Additionally, add sections that confirm your adherence to federal anti-discrimination and harassment legislation, the Small Business Administration suggested. Also, provide links to federal and state employment sites.
Of course, once you've drafted your handbook, be sure to update it regularly so that it reflects any changes to federal and state employment law.
Many developing organizations fail to document or systematically address employee performance issues, instead firing underperformers in the heat of the moment. Though warranted, such firings often result in wrongful termination lawsuits. In fact, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission fields tens of thousands of these claims every year. And, in more than 50 percent of these cases, the plaintiff prevails, according to Lawyers and Settlements.
With this in mind, craft a detailed termination plan with robust performance documentation protocols. When problems start to develop, be sure you give struggling employees the opportunity to participate in a documented, multi-step performance improvement program, Entrepreneur advised. That way, if you are drawn into a lengthy legal battle with disgruntled former workers, you can show that you gave them multiple opportunities to address their performance.
No employee training
In recent years, workers have prioritized professional development, looking to their employers to provide them with cutting-edge training programs. Younger employees are especially interested in such initiatives, with many willing to leave or look past organizations that fail to support their individual ambitions, according to the research firm Deloitte.
"In recent years, workers have prioritized professional development."
Even in the face of this trend, many small businesses and startups still hold back when it comes to training, sacrificing the development of future leaders for short-term gains. To avoid this near-sightedness, develop a robust training plan that begins during on-boarding and continues onward. Additionally, ask employees for input so you can tailor the program to meet their needs.
Of course, don't forget to host more utilitarian training sessions that cover mundane, operational topics. These are crucial and, in some cases, required by law.
Now that you're familiar with these key pitfalls, it's time for you to find an HR business partner who can develop the important personnel policies that will buttress your burgeoning organization. Your best bet is a retained executive search firm like YES Partners. We can leverage our industry connections to pinpoint candidates with transformative executive experience.
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