HR for the Small Business- Doing It Right

The often unsung hero and major driver of the economy, the entrepreneur is a person possessing intelligence, perseverance and a tolerance for risk.  And one who can juggle multiple management demands.

Human Resources, the “people” side of the business, is not normally the first priority.  HR is often managed by the ‘seat of the pants’ with the belief that it is just “common sense”, attitudes that can be detrimental to success. But with a little planning and knowledge you can have the best workforce possible while anticipating problems before they happen.

Small Business HR Tips:

  • A good place to start is with an HR Handbook with resources on the major HR functions and issues including Recruitment/ Selection, Training, Sexual Harassment Policy, Compensation, Substance Screening, Performance Feedback, and Employee Termination.
  • Island employers must deal with a restricted labour force. Consider multiple recruitment sources and remember that geographical restriction can be an advantage (e.g., potentially excellent employees who could work off island but don’t want to travel).
  • When using job interviews for selection devise a systematic procedure based on objective job behaviors and requirements. Consider selection tools beside the traditional job interview, e.g., work sample or job knowledge tests, biographical tests (leadership, teamwork skills) integrity/honesty tests and substance abuse screening. These can be cost effective and greatly improve the chances of choosing the best and screening out potential problems.
  • Employers across North America are facing a sea change in attitudes towards workplace sexual harassment. Entrepreneurs must be ahead of the curve on this issue with a Sexual Harassment Policy to avoid a poisoned work environment and costly legal or human rights claims.
  • Employee training should be planned and systematic, and performance feedback should be constructive while documenting deficiencies. The entrepreneur should be aware of the range of pay systems that can maximize productivity, such as merit based pay and incentives.  Finally, succession planning deserves attention and, if it is necessary to terminate an employee, there are procedures as to the best way to proceed.