As small businesses and startups grow and add more employees, the need for someone to manage human resource (HR) functions becomes important.
Whether that task becomes the purview of the CEO, an outsourced HR provider or in-house staff member (either part-time or full-time), the person will need to perform a range of duties, recruiting being one of them but not the only one by far.
Sabrina Baker, a human resources consultant and owner of Acacia HR Solutions in Los Angeles, spoke with Small Business Trends by phone and shared these functions HR managers should adopt apart from recruiting.
Human Resources Tasks:
1) Legal Compliance
According to Baker, the biggest single function an HR person must perform is to ensure the company stays compliant with state and federal regulations.
“There are always updates and new regulations proposed, and HR needs to think about the impact they will have on business,” she said. “Take the new overtime law, for example. A company can get in big trouble if it does not comply.”
2) Employee Training
After developing the handbook, the HR person should train employees on what it includes, Baker said. This should also be part of new employee orientation.
3) Vision and Core Values
“Typically, the CEO or founder establishes the vision for the company,” Baker said, “but HR can help figure out what those should be, and then hold the staff accountable to adhere to them.”
She used the rule of collaboration as an example.
“HR has a significant role in making sure we encourage a collaborative climate within the company, and then reward such behavior when we see it being lived out,” she said.
4) Policies and Procedures
Another important HR responsibility, said Baker, is to work with the business owner and executive staff to develop a series of policies and procedures, and then publish them in an employee handbook.
“Every small business needs a handbook from the minute they have even one employee,” she said. “It should include policies that cover topics like vacation and sick time, leave of absence, performance management, behavioral issues and more. The policies and procedures provide consistency, so the employer does not have to make it up as he goes.”
5) Employer Branding
“The CEO or business owner will build the company brand from the consumer standpoint but it’s HR’s job to build the employer’s brand in the minds of the workers,” Baker said. “That includes activities such as checking in with employees, to ensure morale is high, and developing a productive employee culture.”
Another aspect of branding that falls on the HR department is promoting the company as an employer of choice.
“That does go to recruiting, however, regarding why candidates want to work for you over a competitor,” Baker said.
6) Employee Advocacy
A final area that she indicated was vital to the role of HR regards employee advocacy.
“The HR person should be a neutral party where employees can come, raise concerns, complain and ask questions,” she said. “HR is the go-between that can take employee concerns to management and act on their behalf.”
7) Employee Retention
Encouraging employees to stay with the company is another area where the HR manager plays a role. (That’s one reason to brand the company as an employer of choice.)
Activities would include keeping employees engaged at work, providing advancement opportunities, cross-training to do jobs outside the routine and using employee recognition and reward programs.
8) Compensation and Benefits
Developing a plan for employee compensation and benefits programs is part of the HR’s realm of responsibilities and should be one of the first projects the department tackles when getting set up.
9) Performance Reviews
G&A Partners, a human resources solutions provider, says on its blog that employee performance has a direct impact on a business’s success. Therefore, implementing a strategic employee performance strategy is vital, and represents another task HR must carry along with the employee’s supervisor.
10) Workplace Conflict
It’s unfortunate that, sometimes, employees come into conflict with each other or with management. In either case, it’s the HR department’s duty to try and resolve workplace issues when they occur. That includes coaching employees on conflict resolution methods and developing policies and procedures for conflict management and resolution.
Human Resources Industry Trends :-
With the rapid changes taking place in the workplace, it’s important for HR professionals to stay updated and current on industry trends.
One way is to join the Society for Human Resources Management, the leading association for human resources professionals. Another is to read blogs, white papers and articles from HR product and service providers, practitioners and consultants.
Lastly, participate in social network groups and forums for HR pros.
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