small business human resources

03.17.2020

Business Management  |  7 min read

7 issues small business human resources face

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Laura Dolan

Regardless of company size, human resources departments deserve their due reverence for essentially being the backbone of every company and helping the organization run as smoothly as possible.

They get to deal with a myriad of issues on a daily basis involving everything from employee recruiting and payroll questions to even bigger issues such as sexual harassment and health and safety.

If you run a small business, it’s imperative to have a human resources department in place to address employee concerns. Running a small business doesn’t make any of these problems less significant. Here are seven common issues small business human resources face on a daily basis:

Recruiting new hires

One of the more important roles the human resources department fulfills is recruitment of talent. Once a job description has been submitted by a department head that specifies the requirements of a new hire, HR posts an announcement on a job board such as Indeed, Glassdoor or LinkedIn and waits for the onslaught of resumes to pour in.

The resume screening process takes much precision, as each one needs to be considered for a review as to whether someone is qualified. Once a suitable resume is identified by HR, it’s passed on to the department looking for the new hire that will confirm the qualifications, then HR reaches out for an interview.

Each time a company decides to recruit a new hire, it’s a big investment, adding extra pressure to HR employees who need to ensure they hire someone who is the best fit without the risk of losing a new person within a couple of months because the screening process was flawed.

Having an automated system on hand such as a reliable HR software platform, much like the CRM offered by Keap, creates more efficiency in tracking candidates, storing their applications, CVs and contact information. This helps HR reps accelerate the recruitment process by being able to classify each application and being able to delve further into the selection of suitable candidates for hire, reducing future recruitment costs and the time it takes to onboard the new person.

Retaining employees

A common misconception about HR is that it’s their job to employ new hires when really, most HR responsibilities involve efforts to retain existing staff.

Employee retention involves the quintessential satisfied employee trifecta: solid pay, company incentives and high morale. When even one of these feels a little off or violated, staff members go directly to HR expecting a resolution.

At that point, it’s up to HR to help bring certain issues to the attention of the respective department heads to meet the needs of each employee without compromising company policies in the process, as well as ensuring discontented employees don’t hand in their resignations.

They also need to keep accurate records of each complaint, issue and concern so that proper documentation is in place to help protect the company and the employee when necessary.

Training and compliance

Despite the fact that employees are hired based on certain qualifying skills, some companies require additional training or certifications to not only guarantee the highest level of productivity out of their personnel, but to create a tangible way for businesses to track compliance in taking certain exams, training courses and paying fees.

In-house training or intranet training attendance is recorded by HR once employees register for each course, ensuring they’re receiving full induction preparation. Some of these courses may involve learning company policies, becoming familiar with crisis procedures, knowing where emergency exits are located, etc.

Employee onboarding doesn’t always have to involve continuing education training with regards to one’s position, it’s also up to HR to inform all staff of company rules and guidelines to ensure everyone is on the same page and knows what to do during a dangerous situation or natural disaster.

Staff questions

It’s always wise for managers to instill an open door policy for their team members so they feel as if they always have advocates and a place to go when things get tough.

However, in some cases, it is appropriate to go to the HR department for certain issues, and thus, they become the liaison when it comes to dealing with employment issues, disputes or queries relating to work.

Depending on the severity of the issue or question, HR acts as a buffer between employees regardless of position. They provide protection and confidentiality until it’s absolutely necessary to address something publicly or get the entire company involved in a serious recurring issue.

Following health and safety regulations

This brings us to our next point. The world is currently in the midst of a pandemic due to the outbreak of the rapidly spreading coronavirus. In situations such as this, it’s up to HR to keep the company informed on what precautions to take and try to instill a level of calmness among staff members.

Here at Keap, our HR department does a great job of being proactive and informing the entire company of what’s going on day-to-day through Slack with updates on how COVID-19 is affecting our company and steps to take to stay healthy and safe.

From a more general perspective, companies are required to record details of health and safety to ensure that they’re satisfying legal obligations toward employees and the public.

Whenever a health and safety issue arises, as in this case with the novel coronavirus, companies rely on HR to demonstrate that the business is taking all precautions to protect team members and ensure the company is complying with all safety laws and regulations.

Maintaining a diverse atmosphere

If your company has a policy in place regarding diversity, the HR department is required to record demographics data when a new recruit is hired, demonstrating its commitment to reducing discrimination.

Should any workplace incidents occur that appear to involve any form of discrimination or intolerance for race, gender or sexual orientation, it’s up to HR to take disciplinary actions in accordance with the company’s policies, showing alignment with the organization’s core principles.

Keeping order

Among many of the other roles assumed by HR reps, referee can be added to the list, as it’s the department’s job to step in and help resolve issues among employers and employees.

Properly carrying out punishment for an unruly employee requires an abundance of evidence in the way of statements, records and other supporting data the HR department must collect in an effort to resolve issues legally and ethically.

When it comes to maintaining order in the workplace, HR staff basically have to turn into social workers by being present at all meetings and keeping records of all meeting minutes, all correspondence between employers, employees, union representatives and lawyers if necessary, and any follow-up hearings or litigation.

It’s HR’s job to protect the company and protect employees. They play both sides, they’re the devil’s advocates of the corporate world. Maintaining the peace, hiring the right people, keeping a record of every scrap of paperwork that’s ever been filed, among many other responsibilities, make HR reps the true super heroes of any organization. They deserve respect and much appreciation.


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