Clients often ask me the best time to hire a Human Resources manager. If you’re a small company – generally 30 to 50 people – you probably don’t need a single, dedicated person for this role. Nonetheless, even if you only have one or two employees, you can’t overlook the importance of HR. In fact, as much as anything else in your growing organization, human resources play a vital role – if not the most vital role — in your growth.

What Is HR?

Basically, it’s everything that has to do with your people. It’s policies and procedures that help you manage their performance. It’s training. It’s the checklist you use when hiring and bringing on a new person – or when letting someone go. It’s the rules of conduct, the code of ethics, the law of the land – at least for your organization. It’s compliance with external laws and internal guidelines. It’s how staffing roles are created, job descriptions are written and organizational charts are designed. And, of course, HR drives all things compensation – from salaries and bonuses to health insurance and paid time off.

Successful organizations make HR a priority. The reason goes back to everything you learned about business: Your people are your greatest asset. Finding and recruiting great people makes your organization great. Paying them creatively and competitively ensures a loyal and productive workforce. Creating an atmosphere of fairness, safety and engagement is how good employees become great — and your best employees become leaders. This creates tremendous value and longevity for a company.

And all of it is driven by HR.

Costs of Neglecting HR

The costs of neglecting HR are potentially disastrous. As a consumer, you’ve experienced this firsthand. You’ve walked into stores where employees ignored you or treated you rudely. You’ve had negative exchanges on the phone with poorly trained customer service representatives. You’ve incurred additional costs from less-than-satisfactory work by a service provider. Often, you can tell if an organization is going to survive merely by your interaction with its employees. When there’s no focus on HR, companies lose customers. Even worst, they lose good people. Ultimately, they lose their business.

Smart companies, regardless of their size, understand this. They recognize the impact of HR and invest in it. The good news is that in today’s cloud-based and mobile world, technologies exist to make the investment easier and more affordable than in days past. These technologies, such as online apps, let smaller companies act like their bigger corporate counterparts without bringing on the manpower – or the heavy price tag. These apps handle recordkeeping, recruiting, time and attendance, training, safety, employee policies and more. The best ones are budget friendly, secure, seamless to adopt, always accessible and – most important – simple to use.

How to Get Started

So where do you start? I recommend recordkeeping – because that’s where it all begins. Here’s what to do:

  • Create folders and electronic filing cabinets in a central location for immediate retrieval
  • Begin a self-service process for employees to update their own records
  • Take advantage of a software’s cloud capabilities so you and your people can manage data from anywhere, any time
  • Get the right app to ensure information remains completely private, highly secure and compliant with federal recordkeeping laws
  • Switch to electronic forms for all areas of employee management, from hiring and attendance tracking to performance appraisals and even OSHA recordkeeping

It’s time to get serious about human resources, no matter how small your business. Taking this initial step will enable you to leverage the future benefits of HR technology, while putting you in a better position to bring on HR professionals as your company grows and profits. Good people are hard to find, and losing just one can be an enormous setback. A clear HR focus can minimize this risk over the long term.

How to Get More Information, Tools and Tips

I’ll be discussing this topic more in-depth with labor law attorney, Shanna Wall, in our upcoming webinar “Why HR Should Matter to Small Businesses Now More than Ever”. We’re going to cover a lot of ground in our discussion, including a closer look at the issues affecting you and your employees in 2018:

  • Following the rules around recordkeeping — what’s recommended and what’s required at the federal and state level
  • Creating written employee handbook policies to protect both you and your employees
  • Understanding what you can and can’t ask when interviewing candidates, as well as what to cover in job posts and job descriptions

Ready to learn what it takes to prioritize HR? Space is limited so be sure to reserve your seat as soon as possible.

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