There is a misconception that only large corporations need a HR department. It is a misconception based on the assumption that small and medium size business owners wear all the hats and manage all the aspects of their business including the staff. The assumption is also made based on the fact that these businesses do not have so many employees as to necessitate the formation of a HR department.
From the Beginning
The fact is that even a small business with just a few employees need solid and sound HR policies. An ideal time to set one up is when the business is starting up. If the business is small enough that you can handle the HR duties yourself, it is always best to take Human Resources management classes to learn as much as possible so you are can be well prepared for any situation. Once the business grows and the need for hiring HR professionals to help you arises, ensure that you choose candidates who have a strong background in this area.
Decide Your Ideal Environment
By forming this part of the business early on you can decide the kind of environment and culture that you wish your employees to work in. You may decide to have an open culture where employees interact and engage directly with you as the owner. You may also opt for a chain of command with supervisors and managers that employees report to. The manager then reports to you. At the start-up stage, you can also decide on whether employees will have fixed or flexible working hours.
Other Factors to Consider
HR is a broad field and there are several other factors that you will need to consider. You will need to come up with comprehensive job descriptions that outline the duties and responsibilities of each position. You also need to decide how applicants will be vetted for job suitability, how employees will be rewarded in terms of pay packages and how they will be retained, such as with perks. You also have to look at the other side of the coin and create dismissal policies.
Keep in mind that hiring staff and letting them go has to be done in compliance with provincial employment standards acts. If you will manage the HR department yourself, it is advisable to engage a Human Resources consultant to create a comprehensive employee handbook that does not breach any labor laws. You may also want to consider hiring an accountant for the sake of keeping the financial records confidential.
Building Your Team
Depending on the size and nature of the business; you will need to build the team that will work towards achieving the objectives you have set. The HR department is the one responsible for building the best team possible for the business. There are some functions that are common to all businesses and you will need to remember to employ someone who will be in charge of these functions if you aren’t able to take care of them yourself.
- Marketing (if not handled by sales)
- Customer service
- Management staff
Encourage Team Building
When the team is in place, they need to cooperate and collaborate with each other. You therefore need to think about team building. One way is with periodic staff meetings and functions where staff socializes and interacts informally, such as parties where good performance is recognized and rewarded. Monthly “themed” days are great for team building and won’t cost the company a penny.
Dee enjoys freelance ghost writing and also does some guest blogging/writing as well. She writes mostly about current events or trends in various industries.