8 Human Resources Basics For Any Small Business

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When you’re a single person business, you don’t need to worry about human resources in any meaningful way, but as soon as you start hiring employees, that changes. HR can be a complicated department, and it’s easy to assume that you don’t need any kind of human resources specialist until your company is much bigger.

In fact, you can frequently outsource many of your HR tasks to other companies; others, however, need a personal touch.

These are the 8 basics that any business with employees needs to plan to handle.

1. Planning Employment Needs

Human Resources is generally the department that is given information about employment needs and determines how to meet those needs. A seasonal business, for example, might know that they need to up staffing from back to school season through the winter holidays.

HR takes that information and translates it into actionable steps to meet recruiting and hiring goals.

2. Recruiting and Hiring

Once companies know how many people they need to hire and by when, HR comes up with a plan to get the right people into the right positions. They determine the best places to advertise job openings, and then meet with and interview candidates until the appropriate person is found.

HR therefore also needs to understand the company’s overall mission, as well as the skills needed to meet the company’s business needs.

3. Training and Employee Development

Some big companies have a separate training department, but employee development and new hire training often fall to the human resources team. This requires HR to have a working knowledge of all functions within a company so that they can either train people, or delegate that training appropriately. HR may also develop the primary materials used to train new hires or retrain current employees.

4. Drafting an Employee Handbook

While drafting the employee handbook may sound like a painfully boring job, an employee handbook is actually a living document which is incredibly important to an organization. When the handbook is given to new hires, it sets the tone for the job and the overall company brand.

When employees reference that handbook later, they will notice whether it answers their questions or just leaves them more confused. Employee handbooks don’t have to be dry and boring, but they do have to be clear and understandable.

5. Payroll and Benefits

Payroll and benefits might be the human resources tasks that are outsourced the most often. Both of these tasks involve an incredible amount of intricate knowledge, and the consequences for a company making mistakes in either of these areas can be dire. If the human resources person at your company doesn’t have a strong background in accounting, it may be best to either hire someone specifically to manage payroll, or to outsource the payroll and benefits functions at your company.

Moreover, offering a comprehensive maternity leave option not only aligns with federal regulations but also serves as a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining top talent. Implementing a robust benefits package, especially one that includes comprehensive maternity leave, not only ensures compliance with federal regulations but also serves as a pivotal strategy to retain employees.

6. Employee Performance Management

Companies take different approaches to employee performance conversations, but if a manager is unable to resolve an issue with an employee, HR will often intervene. In some companies, HR representatives even take on some of the more cut-and-dried performance conversations, such as a chronically late employee.

This can be ideal because an HR rep can determine if the employee might be eligible for FMLA, for example, if their frequent absences are due to caring for a loved one.

7. Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution

For both manager/employee relationships and employee/employee relationships, HR becomes the go to when a situation becomes contentious, and the relevant parties aren’t able to sort the issue out on their own. HR often steps in at that point and mediates conversations, helps with communication goals, and ultimately may assist with managing people out if necessary.

When issues arise at work that can be touchy or concerning, HR may be a second person in the room to protect the company from accusations of discrimination or other legal charges.

8. Terminations

In an ideal world, every hire at every company would be a perfect fit. Unfortunately, this just isn’t the case. Sometimes managers are responsible for having termination conversations. Even when this happens, however, HR is often responsible for exit interviews and termination paperwork for each employee.

They might communicate with IT to let them know to deactivate accounts and revoke user access, as well as reporting the person terminated to various other team members.

As your company begins to grow, you will almost certainly begin to be overloaded with HR tasks. To maintain a compliant and respectable company, it’s important to bring on an HR representative as soon as possible. This avoids (expensive) issues where you need to course correct with consultants; instead, you run a clean ship from day one. Neglecting the importance of a dedicated HR representative is a bad way to start a company, as it can lead to costly legal disputes and a disorganized work environment that hampers growth


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