Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.
HR experts get hundreds of questions every year from employees about the best ways to handle some of the trickier situations. Understandably, you may not have a resident HR expert who you can fall back on for help whenever you want to. There are few issues that are ao prevalent that you will want to make sure you have a plan to address if needed.
A lot of inexperienced business owners think that all they need to worry about when it comes to HR is sourcing and employing new talent. This is wrong. A large part of HR is centered around retaining the talent you already have at the business. Every company is dependent on its employees, even if there is only one part-time person. The skills and experience that they’re able to bring to the table are what’s going to keep productivity levels up at your business and dictate how easy it is for you to reach your overarching goals. You will have invested a lot of time and money in your workforce, so protecting this valuable asset should be a priority for your HR. Retaining the talent at your business is a delicate balancing act, involving hard incentives, your company culture, and remuneration. Whoever’s in charge of your HR needs to provide each and every employee with the right measures of these three things in order to keep the worker satisfied with their job, without compromising the company’s interests too much in the process. It’s also important to keep accurate, up-to-date records of these things to make sure employees are receiving what you promised them.
Whether it’s replacing your staff who were lost through natural attrition, or you’re just looking to complement and grow the existing workforce, recruitment is another major challenge which all employers will have to work through at times. Being able to find staff with the right blend of skills, motivation and personality can be extremely tough, even when the pool of talent you’re drawing from is huge. Whether you’re passing your recruitment needs onto an in-house HR department or outsourcing it to another company, you need to make sure that the whole process is managed effectively and centrally. If there are a lot of applications, the details of each one will need to be kept in detailed records for comparison and review. You may want to consider investing in some HR software which will allow you to store your applications, contact details and resumes and give you resources for straightforward comparison and analysis. Aside from the obvious benefits of these features, having these kinds of details right at your fingertips will reduce recruitment costs in the future, and minimize the time it will take you to plug any kind of skills gaps. Slow recruitment processes have been linked to reduced productivity and morale, so don’t let it get the best of your business!
Employee discipline, understandably, is usually one of the least popular issues which makes up HR. The disciplinary process in any modern business always hinges on a lot of hard evidence, and there are often times where the HR department of a company will be required to source statements, records, and similar supporting data in order to make sure they’re resolving disciplinary issues ethically and legally. This, as you can imagine, is often very time-consuming. Therefore, it’s important to keep hold of accurate records of any kind if disciplinary issue and deal with the issue promptly and properly. This should include archived emails between you and the employee, minutes of meetings, any correspondence between you and any representatives and evidence of follow-up activities. These records will not only cover you through the disciplinary action itself, but can be used to make sure all the involved parties are fulfilling their obligations during any disputes in the future. Of course, there are going to be certain grey areas which you’ll need to work through, like dismissing employees who are abusing their sick leave. Many business owners will hire the services of an employment attorney in these situations to be extra safe, but you may be able to come up with a solid plan simply by finding the right online resources. Here’s a good site to read more about how to dismiss someone on sick leave.
Training and Compliance
No matter how simple a given role happens to be, training is an integral part to HR. It’s important both for the employee’s personal education, and also to ensure that you’re getting the best results from your workforce as a whole. There are going to be some roles out there which require official training and certification, such as forklift operators or gas installers. The qualifications tied to these roles and many others have a legal lifespan for renewal. Of course, the employee is going to carry at least some of the responsibility that comes with their working registrations. However, seen as your business is going to be relying on these workers’ officially certified skills, you’re going to want to keep track of this information, and keep them in records you can fall back on should you need them. If you’ve agreed to pay for any exams, registrations and other costs tied to training, then using these kinds of records can make it easier to keep track of when there are payments coming up. It will also make it easier to organize cover for any absences, and payments to prevent any possible lapses. Even if you’re not outsourcing your employee training, and keeping it all in-house, keeping track of course attendance and participation through a single, central HR system will allow you to evaluate the skills of your workforce with a few clicks of a mouse.
The responsibility of dealing with payroll falls between HR and accounting and despite the massive importance of it in the grand scope of business, there are often problems with accurate and timely payments. Your standard HR department will keep records about salaries, bonuses, benefits and attachment of earnings, while the accounting departments are typically tasked with making the payments themselves. If you’re not careful, it can be easy for a disconnect to emerge between these two departments, resulting in the payroll running late or employees getting the wrong amount. To make sure you prevent any future problems, and keep staff morale as high as possible, you need to make sure you’re getting your payroll right. One easy way to do this is to start using a dedicated payroll system, which will interface directly with your accounts system and HR software. By bringing the two departments together through a reliable digital channel, you’ll be able to resolve countless manual headaches that usually come with payroll management. Giving your employees what they’ve earned, when they’re entitled to it, will do a lot to show them that you appreciate the work they’re doing. Furthermore, it will take some of the weight off of your HR department, as they’ll have to deal with less queries which spring up if and when there’s an issue with payroll. This, in turn, gives them a little more leeway to spread their department’s workload over the month.