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Hiring, recruiting, managing people and benefits, along with so much more all fall under the category of human resources. While many small business owners feel HR can be a taxing task, Linda Kraus of Paychex says, "HR is a process, not a luxury or something nice to have... it's a necessity." A necessity that all business owners should be well-versed in to be able to handle and avoid any issue that may come up in the day-to-day business activities. In the recent SCORE LIVE webinar "Top 10 HR Issues: How to Avoid Common Pitfalls," Linda shared important topics that business owners should understand in order to avoid issues that may affect their business in the future.

Below are 5 of the 10 HR issues Linda recommends avoiding:

Copying Someone Else's Handbook

Although writing an employee handbook can be difficult and costly, it's important to take the necessary steps to make one specifically tailored to your business.  Using another company's handbook is a mistake because: all businesses are different (varying in size and type), each business has unique regulatory controls and required standards, and the handbook you copy may not be in compliance with laws that are specific to your business.

Poor Communication

Linda says the number one reason an employee will leave a business is because of the lack of communication between the direct supervisor. Setting clear standards and expectations, clearly explaining rules, and monitoring performance are key when avoiding poor communication with an employee.

Lack of Knowledge: The Law

Understanding federal, state, and local labor laws are critical when running a successful small business. Laws may change every year so it is important to stay up-to-date with current legislation. Updating your handbook with new legislation is important as well.

Failure to Treat Employees Right

Linda says employees are exposed to legal options on a daily basis. Whether it's passing billboards on the highway, television ads, or public websites, legal representation is in abundance for an unhappy employee. It's important to treat everyone fairly no matter who they are or what they do for your business.

Employee Terminations

Understanding the two different types of employee violations can help you with employee terminations.

  • Policy violations are much easier to prove because you can objectively determine any employee violations with the help of your employee handbook. An employee handbook is one of the most important pieces of documented evidence.
  • Performance violations require additional documentation (current job descriptions, employee "one-on-one's"). Performance violations are much harder to prove because the information is subjective and not objective.

While maintaining and staying current with relevant HR news in your business can be challenging, it's necessary. Taking time out to update your employee handbook, communicate with your employees, and understand key legislation can add long term value to your business. To learn Linda's other 5 HR issues to avoid, listen to the full webinar here.

About the Author(s)

Bridget Weston Pollack

Bridget Weston Pollack is the Vice President of Marketing & Communications at the SCORE Association.

Vice President of Marketing & Communications, SCORE
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