Four strategies provide structure for HR policies and procedures.
If you're a small business owner, you and your partners likely wear numerous hats, including that of human resources director. While your employee management polices and procedures needn't become mired in bureaucracy, you must still adhere to state and federal labor laws. Here are a few pointers for creating and implementing a compliant, transparent HR policy that establishes expectations for you, your managers and your employees:
Know the law: It's critical that you understand the laws surrounding hiring, maintaining and releasing employees, many of which vary from state to state. There are many resources available through the Small Business Administration (SBA) and your state's department of labor. Your personal network of peers, advisors and business groups such as the local chamber of commerce may also be helpful. Be especially mindful of the anti-discrimination law, posting requirements (such as minimum wage and accident reporting procedures) and employee rights.
Have a game plan: Before you hire, think about how you'll handle every possible interaction: job posting, interview, offer, periodic reviews, disciplinary action and on through promotion, resignation or termination. At each juncture, make sure you avoid gender or other biases, and that your focus remains on quantifiable qualities such as experience, performance and results. For each position, begin with a clear job description and refer back to it when writing job postings, asking interview questions and evaluating performance.
Create an employee handbook: Here, transparency is the name of the game. A good employee handbook clarifies what you expect from your employees and what they can expect from the company. It should enumerate your legal obligations as an employer and your employees' rights. It should also explain policies surrounding work schedules, standards of conduct, safety, benefits and intellectual property. The SBA website offers detailed guidelines for creating an employee handbook and even includes a template to get you started at: sba.gov/content/employee-handbooks.
Document everything: Whenever you or your managers interact with an employee on an official basis, it behooves you to create written documentation that you share with the employee and keep on file. This provides the dual benefit of avoiding miscommunication while creating a paper trail to document the process, whether it be dispute resolution, disciplinary action, termination or a commendation. Each document should include a written acknowledgement signed by the employee.
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