Contributed by Sophia Conti
Many small businesses run on the bare essentials. Often, those essentials do not include streamlined and well-planned human resources functions. Even larger businesses fail to establish HR protocols and standard operating procedures. Many believe that HR is too expensive to implement for the minimal purpose it will serve. This may be true for some of the more expensive HR solutions but many HR resources are inexpensive. It helps to understand what human resources can accomplish and how it can benefit the company.
All businesses can benefit from consistently incorporating human resources practices, regardless of business size. While all businesses have some mechanisms in place for the typical processes like hiring and payroll, there is usually room for improvement for the convenience of employer and employee alike. This article outlines the primary human resources functions for all businesses. Next I’ll offer some HR resources to help implement or improve these functions in small businesses. Not all companies have the luxury of hiring a dedicated human resources manager or department and that’s ok. There are human resources tools out there to help get the job done well and cheaply.
What is Human Resources?
Human resources can be very simply defined as all the functions that relate to the people of an organization. While large companies and corporations now view human resources as a strategic partner in developing the teams that work for the organization, the essential functions of daily operations for employees remain the same. These include recruitment, interviewing and hiring, compensation and benefits, and job safety and labor law compliance.
Below are some websites and resource centers that cover all elements of human resources and have tons of valuable articles and tools:
Human resources is a complex and multi-faceted role. Small business owners tend to take on these roles in addition to their many hats of CEO, director, manager, and more. In adding human resources jobs to an already busy position, many pieces may fall through the cracks or be poorly tracked. Utilizing some online HR resources and automating these functions relieves a lot of burden on the small business owner. Furthermore, many are setup to ensure necessary compliance.
Paperwork that runs through HR is also notorious for being inefficient and slow-moving. Converting all HR processes to digital formats will increase speed and efficiency and decrease frustrations for employees. Digital platforms also make it easier for businesses that require or desire remote employees.
Human resources typically plays a significant role in attracting talent to a company. Recruiting is about finding someone who not only fulfills the specific job duties, but who will be a good fit for the overall culture and direction of the company. Before even thinking about the interview and hiring stage, which will be discussed in the next section, employers need to get the right job description in front of the right people.
Since most people search for jobs online nowadays, posting a job on at least one (but more likely two or three) job sites is an absolute must. Do a little research into which posting sites are more common for your industry and location. And then focus on the ones that will get the job description in front of the most eyes. Finally, take the time to craft a detailed and compelling job description which will attract the desired candidates.
Here are some resources to aid in this process:
- Monster.com Resource Center
- ZipRecruiter Blog
- Best Free Job Posting Sites from MightyRecruiter
- How to Write a Job Description from RecruitLoop
These sources are job posting and recruiting platforms, but also host resource centers and blogs with excellent information and insights for employers on all aspects of the recruiting and hiring process.
Interviewing & Hiring
Hiring managers are typically responsible for interviewing candidates and making the hiring decisions, but human resources often does background work to sort out which candidates to interview. Small business owners need to take on both these roles. Not every applicant should be granted an in-person interview, so employers need to sort out the top candidates quickly and efficiently.
Most job posting platforms will have some mechanism to sort out applicants based on resumé criteria or answers to application questions. This helps eliminate candidates that are lacking a major requirement, such as a certain degree, certification, or number of years of experience. Phone screens and skills assessments can also be used to pare down an applicant pool.
Here are some resources on pre-interview screening processes:
- How to Conduct a Phone Screen from TINYpulse
- Best Pre-Employment Testing Software from Capterra
- Pre-Employment Testing from Forbes
Although interviewing is not a function that is exclusive to human resources, most employers can use a little help in conducting an effective interview. Here are some tips on doing so:
Human resources is also generally responsible for factors in the hiring process that are not specifically related to the job duties, such as outlining the salary and benefits package, conducting reference and background checks, and sending the written job offer.
Benefits and compensation will be discussed in the next section. Below are resources on other factors in the hiring process:
- The Right Way to Check Someone’s References from Harvard Business Review
- How to Do a Background Check for Pre-Employment Screening from TransUnion ShareAble for Hires
- Job Offer Letter Samples and Templates from BetterTeam
Compensation & Benefits
Throughout the recruiting, interviewing, and hiring process, candidates will undoubtedly ask for information on what their salary and benefits will look like. For this reason, it’s important to have that planned out ahead of time. As more employees are hired, tracking time for payroll, tracking vacation and sick time, and health insurance packages and deductions become even more complex and important. Set up mechanisms for monitoring all of these things from the get-go, so there isn’t a backlog as the organization grows.
Below are tools and software that enable these tracking functions, as well as other information on determining appropriate benefits and compensation:
- Zenefits Resource Center
- Calculate Benefits’ Worth to Evaluate an Offer from Monster
- Compensation research from PayScale
- Timesheet software from Timesheets.com
- Best Payroll Software for Small Business from Finances Online
Job Safety & Labor Law Compliance
A crucial function of human resources is to ensure that the company is compliant with all necessary regulations, such as safety compliance measures and workplace accommodation notices. They also have to be aware of federal anti-discrimination laws and other legal requirements.
Below are some government websites which outline requirements for businesses. Note that some of these requirements vary depending on business size.
- Staying Legally Compliant from the Small Business Administration (SBA)
- Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC)
- Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA)
Human resources exists to protect and improve the company as a whole and each employee on an individual level. That’s why small businesses can benefit from implementing human resources protocols. This long list of HR tools may seem overwhelming. However, take it in piece by piece. A slow and steady familiarity with human resources functions and practices can help elevate any small business.
The HR resources listed here are a great start to understanding and implementing human resources in your small business. Even without a designated human resources manager or department your business will improve.
Author Bio: Sophia Conti is a contributing editor at 365 Business Tips, a new blog that curates the best ideas and information for small business owners. She specializes in helping businesses streamline their processes and procedures.