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Does Your Company Need An HR Specialist?

As an owner of a small business, operating costs are one of the things that can keep you up at night. As a result, you likely handle several different jobs and responsibilities that would normally be handled by a hired specialist within a larger company. Rather than hiring an accountant or bookkeeper, you might handle payroll yourself. To save money on IT services, you spend an hour troubleshooting a stubborn POS system when the need arises. And, wary of the costs of a professional recruiter, you end up reading when you can find the time.

This is all perfectly acceptable – so far as you’re still accomplishing all of your other duties. As soon as these responsibilities start to cut into your primary roles, you run the risk of failing in all of them. As businesses grow, it’s easy to justify spending on things like CPAs and IT support teams. However, one of the last areas to receive the necessary attention and expertise is HR, especially when there is the perception that HR will increase your operating costs, not reduce them.

Which brings us to a question all owners of growing businesses grapple with:
When is a dedicated HR professional (or department) necessary?

Many business owners are looking for a hard and fast answer, usually in the form of a number of employees. It’s true that if you have 30-50 employees, you’ve probably begun the process of hiring an HR specialist. Once you hit 50 employees and need to comply with applicable state and federal regulations, an HR professional becomes a no-brainer. However, the real number could be much lower for your business, in relation to the factors listed below.

How much of your time is taken up by HR-related duties?

If you find yourself struggling to make time for your core responsibilities due to a litany of HR-related tasks, it’s time to consider hiring help. These kinds of tasks include recruiting and hiring, updating your employee handbook, and handling compliance issues. Beyond these tasks, you might find your daily schedule eaten up by an inordinate amount of time dealing with internal disputes, lackluster employee conduct, and strategies to retain great employees. If these critically important duties aren’t getting the proper amount of attention, you should seek the experience of a trained human resources specialist.

Do you have an effective system for reporting or managing internal complaints and disputes?

The most frequently-cited reason for a small business owner to neglect hiring HR help is cost. However, not having the right HR guidance can be the exact opposite of cost-effective. Ask any company that’s battled a wrongful termination suit or lost quality talent due to poor company culture if skimping on HR was worth it, and you won’t be surprised by the answer. Regardless of the size of your company, the risk management benefits of a dedicated HR specialist will always be worth the investment.

Are you satisfied with the quality of talent that your business attracts, as well as your business’s ability to retain them?

As your business becomes established, it might make sense to handle talent acquisition by yourself. After all, who would know best the talents and skills required to succeed in your company, if not you? Unfortunately, while you may indeed know the necessary skills and attributes, you may not be finding the best talent available. It takes an experienced recruiter to know where to look – and to attract the perfect candidates for your positions. Until you’ve hired the expertise of a human resources specialist, you’ll need to be satisfied with knowing that you may be hiring “the best talent you could find,” not necessarily the best talent for the position.

In short, you should hire a human resources specialist as soon as possible.

Whether your business has 2 employees or 42, there is significant value in utilizing an HR consultant to grow your business. Your business may not need an entire HR department, or even a full-time dedicated HR professional, but you’ll have peace of mind with HR support to help you navigate troublesome human resources matters.

Contact us here if you need help with:

  • Recruiting and hiring talent
  • Employee handbook updates
  • State and federal compliance
  • Workplace culture and productivity
  • Payroll, benefits, and compensation research
  • Career transition and outplacement services

If you have any questions related to your company’s particular needs, don’t hesitate to ask! Contact us today and we’ll reach out to you ASAP to provide the solutions you need.

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5 Costly HR Mistakes Small Businesses Make

Owning and operating a small business is like filling twenty different positions at once. With a limited staff and a growing list of customers, you might be your company’s bookkeeper, marketing director, CEO, salesman, and hiring manager all at once. With all those responsibilities on your plate, it’s easy to lose focus of one of the most crucial elements of any successful business: human resources.

With a smaller workforce, you might not think you need to concern yourself with HR. This couldn’t be further from the truth. As a small business owner without an HR professional, you need to be especially mindful of the serious issues that can arise from negligence of proper HR rules and procedures. Take heed of these 5 costly HR mistakes that small businesses frequently make, and take measures to protect yourself from their potentially litigious consequences.

1. Incomplete or hurried vetting of candidates.

As a small business owner, few things can cause you more stress and anxiety than an unexpected departure of a crucial team member. It may be tempting to fill that position with the first “promising” candidate to sit down for an interview, but this is a huge mistake. Give yourself the time to properly vet a wider pool of candidates before you make your decision. Follow up with recommendations and any other background screening as appropriate. Make sure you really know the person you’re about to hire, not the person they’re projecting. And make sure you’re selecting the best person for the job, not just a person to fill the job.

2. Having an obsolete employee handbook, or not having one at all.

Regardless of the size of your workforce, you should always have an up-to-date employee handbook that clearly states your company’s policies and expectations. You need to provide new employees with everything they need to know about working for your business – from your requirements for employee conduct, to their pay schedule and benefits. If you don’t have any of this information in writing, it could become a source of conflict in the future.

3. Lacking an anonymous “whistleblowing” outlet.

No matter how friendly your employees think you are, without an anonymous channel of communication for reporting workplace issues like harassment and poor conduct, many of these potentially business-ruining problems will go unaddressed. You’ll also find it harder to track underperformance, since whistleblowers run the risk of being subjected to conflict with their coworkers. Remove this barrier and encourage reporting by opening up a method of anonymous communication.

4. Growing disconnected from what’s happening in the office.

In a small business where “everyone knows everyone,” it’s easy for an owner to lose touch with how employees really feel on a daily basis. You might be frequently out of the office meeting with clients or otherwise caught up in your mile-long list of responsibilities, so you might not have an accurate reading of your employees’ workplace satisfaction. Furthermore, if you’re not regularly communicating your goals and expectations, your staff’s objectives might not align with your own. Make communication with your team a routine activity, even if you have to block off your schedule to ensure it happens.

5. Failing to fully document performance issues.

Terminating an employee for poor performance is never easy, but it can be made exponentially worse when you’ve failed to document the issues. Without proper documentation, you’ll put yourself in a precarious situation if challenged with an unlawful termination lawsuit. Record occurrences of tardiness, missed deadlines or benchmarks, and poor behavior to prove that an employee was rightfully terminated. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you should also document instances of exceptional performance to guide you in making promotions or allocating responsibilities.

Never lose focus of the most important part of your company: the people. While your attention might be divided among several priorities of equal importance, you should always make time for things like open communication, a deliberate hiring process, and diligent documentation of employee performance.

 

If these duties overwhelm your already-filled plate, you should consider enlisting the help of a qualified HR consultant to put you on the right track. We can help! Whether you need to update (or create) a comprehensive employee handbook, or you need help implementing procedures that improve communication, Cisso Bean & Dutch has the expertise for the job. Contact us here to learn how we can help your business today! 

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Replacing the Irreplaceable: How To Recover From A Painful Departure

Of the many unpleasant experiences in life, being terminated from your job is definitely one of the worst. Feelings of fear, anxiety, inadequacy, and loss of security abound when we lose employment. Recent studies have shown that getting fired can take a heavier toll on your well-being than a break-up, and the recovery time can take even longer.

But it happens to just about everybody at least once in their lifetime, including some of the most famously successful minds in history.

  • A Baltimore TV station let go of Oprah Winfrey after she was determined to be a “bad fit”
  • Apple’s founder Steve Jobs was fired by the CEO he himself had hired to run the company.
  • Walt Disney was shown the door at the Kansas City Star because his work “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”

Your termination may make you feel like your career has hit its ceiling, but it’s important to realize that this is merely a speed bump in your journey onward. Take a moment to breathe, and use some of these tips to help you move on to the next stage of your career.

Keep it civil.

The first thing you should do is concentrate on all the things you shouldn’t do. This can be an extremely emotional time for you, and you’re likely overwhelmed by feelings of anger, sadness, and helplessness. None of these feelings are known for producing great ideas. Bad ideas that come to mind may include:

  • Giving your boss a piece of your mind
  • Turning your former coworkers against your former boss
  • Threatening to sue the company

The natural human response to being wronged is retaliation, but in this case you should choose to keep a level head. Burned bridges will come back to haunt you, and even a boss who might’ve been unhappy with your performance may still be happy to provide you with a recommendation down the line.

Focus on you.

It’s easy to sink into depression after a rough firing. You may not feel like socializing. Your diet might spiral down into exclusively-fried territory. Motivating yourself to hit the gym for daily exercise can be a workout in and of itself. It’s important to stay away from these habits because they can affect your drive to secure employment. Exercise is a proven way to stimulate motivation, energy, and a positive attitude – all crucial to a successful job search.

Further, in the age of social media, it’s easy to get the feeling that “everyone is having fun but me.” People only post about their lives when the sun is shining, so your social media feed is a never-ending barrage of smiling faces, beach vacations, and inspiring achievements. This can create feelings of isolation, jealousy, and despair, even when you haven’t just been terminated. Avoid the inclination to compare your life to the works of fiction you see on Facebook, and focus on bettering yourself in pursuit of your next job.

Hit the pavement.

With every great loss comes grief, and grief creates a fog that clears with time. But don’t spend too long dwelling on the past. As soon as you’re capable, it’s time to start sending resumes and making phone calls. The sooner you get started, the more momentum you’ll have going into the hunt.

On the other hand, it’s also possible to spend too much time chasing down the perfect new job. If you weren’t actively seeking your dream job while you were employed, now isn’t the time either. It’s perfectly fine to look for jobs that will make you happy, but it’s much easier to do that with the stability that comes from having a job at all (any job). Taking a job that is less than ideal doesn’t mean you’re denying yourself your dreams. If anything, you’re giving yourself a more secure launching pad to reach those dreams.

Final Thoughts

The most important thing to remember is that this isn’t the end of the line. This is a natural career event that happens to even the most exceptional performers, and there are likely many people among your friends and family that can share their experiences with you and support you in this difficult time. The mental obstacles you’ll face will be challenging, but by focusing on improving yourself and addressing the task at hand, you’ll receive an offer in no time.