NAWBO Insider - Fall 2008
De-Mystifying Human Resources
By Ange Rakov Matthews
Ensuring that you have a good human resources (HR) infrastructure is simply a smart business decision.
According to Sharon Hadary, Executive Director for the Center for Women’s Business Research, the top obstacles for women business owners today include HR, cash flow & capital, marketing scope, customer relations, and access to key decision makers.
This article is intended to de-mystify the concept of HR while providing an overview of what every business should have from an HR perspective, whether it has 1 or 100 employees.
- Recruitment and selection refers to establishing processes for finding and hiring employees. Good recruitment and selection processes ensure you have access to a qualified pool of candidates, are tracking applications, are properly storing your recruitment files, have managers who are trained in good interviewing techniques, and know which questions are illegal. Furthermore, your company should have well- developed employment applications, offer letters and background/criminal check processes.
- New hire orientation and on-boarding refers to collecting and distributing new hire paperwork, including offer letters, job descriptions, signed employee handbook acknowledgements, and confidentiality agreements. Employees also must receive and acknowledge all state and federal information on workers’ compensation, paid family leave, COBRA, and harassment, and this is also the time to provide any required training, like harassment prevention and safety procedures.
- Ongoing human resources management includes the day-to-day responsibilities of managing personnel files, payroll, benefits, time off, employee leaves, training, employee relations issues, complaints, investigations, and coaching/counseling employees and managers.
- Performance management refers to both the informal and formal aspects of managing employee performance. Performance feedback should be ongoing and provided regularly. Formal written reviews can be annual, biannual, or every quarter, as well as when employees complete their 90-day introductory period.
- Termination includes processes to collect termination paperwork and conduct exit interviews, as appropriate. Using a checklist will help make sure you complete details, such as getting COBRA paperwork mailed. Exit interviews are recommended to understand why employees are leaving. In addition, a good termination process will include a policy on how to respond to post-employment inquiries, as well as designate who is authorized to provide this information.
- Lastly, is an employee handbook required? There’s no law that says your company must have an employee handbook. It is true, though, that even small companies are required to have policies and procedures for reporting safety, discrimination and harassment complaints as well as for defining what consequences occur when policies are violated. In addition, companies have their own rules that have to be communicated and consistently enforced or they risk being accused of favoritism or discrimination. An employee handbook is a good way to communicate these policies and procedures.
Ange Rakov Matthews is the co-founder of MetaForce, an HR consulting company that helps small business owners and entrepreneurs effectively manage their human resources. To contact Ange, call 858-412-4211.