Top Five HR-Related Concerns for a Small Business
Finding the Right People
Data shows that there is a promising market out there for talented job candidates, both employed and unemployed. Remember, your best (and most cost-effective) recruiting source is always your current employees, so start by asking if they know anyone who would make a good job candidate. You may even want to financially incentivize current employees who bring you successful new employees. If starting internally does not work, consider using your professional organization’s job listing service, rather than a general one. Also, don’t blow off a candidate because of their level of experience, some inexperience candidates can be the bigger gamble but offer higher reward. Learn when to take that chance with our past article on hiring. Be prepared to invest substantial time reviewing and sorting job application and resume submissions when seeking prospective candidates. In your interviewing process, remember that the best predictor of future job performance is past performance. To that end, consider using a behavioral-based interviewing technique and don’t forget to run a background check as well as verify the candidate’s references.
Preventing Sexual Harassment
Last year, nearly 27,000 charges of sexual harassment were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This number doesn’t include charges filed with state and local agencies or situations where employees went directly to an attorney, and many employees who are victims of sexual harassment or are affected by it never report the incidents at all. Needless to say, the workplace should be a safe and secure place, and it’s the employer’s responsibility to make it that way. No one can prevent all harassment from happening, but you can and should do everything in your power to prevent harassment and appropriately respond when it occurs. Training employees on what constitutes harassment and how to respond to it is a good and necessary first step, but you also need to establish multiple options for reporting, investigate allegations promptly and thoroughly, and take appropriate steps to discipline violators. Use this list of the recommended preventive measures by the EEOC as a starting point to insulate your business from sexual harassment.
Losing Top Performers
Now that the job market is picking up some momentum, many employers have expressed concern about losing their most valued and productive employees. While different surveys report varying results, generally the top five factors impacting employee workplace satisfaction are:
- The employee’s relationship with his/her direct manager
- The employee’s salary
- The employee’s benefit plans
- The employee’s opportunity to use his/her skills and abilities
- The employee’s opportunity for advancement
We recommend completing an audit of your workplace and give yourself a grade on each of these factors as they relate to your top performers. You may need to consider making some adjustments to your organization’s pay structure, benefit offerings, management style, job duties and/or career planning based on the outcome of your workplace audit. To see the real cost of loosing your top performers take a look at our article on employee turnover.
Being Sued by a Disgruntled Employee
This fear is always in the back of a small business owner’s mind. It is imperative to ensure that your workplace is free from discrimination and harassment. Your best chance at successfully defending an employee lawsuit is to secure documentation that would prove to a reasonable person that the employee was treated fairly and consistently with company policy. Remember, juries are made up of primarily employees, not employers. Having the ability and documentation to demonstrate that the company treats its employees impartially and consistently goes a long way in terms of reducing an employer’s exposure to liability. PaySphere can help you with finding the best way to document poor performance and also help you coach, counsel and terminate under performing employees. Additionally, you may consider purchasing an Employment Practices Liability Insurance policy to assist you in covering your expenses should you have to defend a claim.
Department of Labor Audits
It is crucial to stay abreast of federal and state labor laws that impact your business. Incorporating a practice of performing internal HR audits is beneficial in preparing an organization for any claims or workplace incidents that may put an organization to the test. It is also essential to have a Human Resources Professional readily accessible to whom you may field your labor law compliance concerns. Complying with immigration laws, wage and hour laws as well as benefit laws is complex, but a knowledgeable HR Professional or Attorney will provide you guidance and ensure that your organization remains in compliance with the labor laws that apply to your business. This will, additionally, help ensure that your company passes a DOL audit with flying colors.
Nothing can completely eradicate employee-related concerns from a small business owner’s mind. Hopefully, though, these tips will allow you to sleep more soundly at night.