7 Common HR Mistakes Small Businesses Make and How to Fix Them

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Axcet HR Solutions knows that the owners and managers of small, growing businesses are busy people. While you’re overseeing one of the many other aspects of running a business, a time might come when your attention is diverted from HR matters. For many small businesses, this can lead to disaster. Fortunately, we have compiled a list of issues you can look out for.

1.  Recruitment

One of the most important parts of growing a small business is recruitment. Talented, capable new hires are the foundation that the future of your company will rest on. Many small businesses miss out on these new hires, however, because their HR personnel fails to craft well-written, precise job description. Your company’s first impression with job seekers will sometimes be just a job description, so it’s important to take the time to get job descriptions right.

Make sure that you and any HR employees know how to write a good job description. A description that will put your company’s best foot forward and give your candidates an accurate idea of what to expect will include: the job title, a list of responsibilities, required expectation or experience, necessary skills, and a description of job conditions.

How to Write the Perfect Job Description

2.  Training and Safety

After hiring new employees in order to grow your business, now comes the matter of training them. New employee training is a crucial part of integrating new employees into your business, helping them transition to a new period of their lives as well as fulfilling their new responsibilities as soon as possible. It’s also important for keeping the workplace safe and genial. If training is rushed or mishandled, as it is in many small businesses, your business might experience poor employee performance, high turnover over frustrations, or even safety-related lawsuits.

Familiarize yourself with your business’s training policies. Make sure whoever trains new employees is up to date on safety standards and the expectations for the various roles within your company.

Related Reading: Positive Safety Cultures, Why Every Business Should Build One

3.  Keeping an Up to Date Employee Handbook

Your business needs to complement its onboarding process with an employee handbook that is regularly updated to reflect the current expectations of your company. Too often small, growing businesses will procrastinate updating their employee handbooks in the rush to maintain other aspects of daily business. If your handbook is outdated, however, you run the risk of misunderstood policies and employee infractions that could lead to lengthy terminations. In the long run, updating your employee handbook will save you stress, employee performance and money.

4.  Discrimination and Rights

Any HR department—no matter how small—needs to know and enforce state and federal laws governing workers’ rights. Some of the most important laws concern discrimination in the workplace. In a misguided effort to focus on routine business matters, many small businesses ignore matters of discrimination far too late—some all the way up until they’re staring at a lawsuit. Take the time to make sure that you are fully knowledgeable about workers’ rights and that you know which immediate steps to take should an issue arise.      

5.  Conflict Resolution

Growing businesses often have internal conflicts over different ideas and personalities between employees. HR personnel for these businesses sometimes are unexperienced with handling these types of conflict and can quickly find themselves overwhelmed. If this is the case with your company, consider running practice conflict resolution scenarios or reaching out to Axcet HR Solutions for training or additional resources. Conflicts may be inevitable, but at least you can prepare for them.

6.  Benefits

One of the primary reasons individuals in the U.S. seek employment is to obtain employment benefits such as healthcare and retirement planning. This means that your company’s offered benefits are crucial for recruitment and attracting qualified candidates. Even once these candidates are hired, though, you and any employee handling HR matters needs to know the ins and outs of your company’s benefits plan if you hope to keep these new employees around. Many small businesses are complacent about their benefits, working hard to acquire a benefits plan, but overlooking the details of implementing the plan later. Regularly educate and work with your employees to make sure they are properly taking advantage of their benefits.

employee benefits are key when looking to increase employee engagement in the workplace

7.  Tracking Employee Behavior

Lastly, another consequence of the hectic nature of running a small business is that sometimes owners and managers feel too busy to track employee behavior. This, unfortunately, can lead to myriad issues that will haunt you later. Poor employee performance becomes more difficult to remedy the longer it occurs, and if certain employees are regularly committing safety violations, lawsuits might be in your company’s future. If employees are skipping breaks or working overtime more than they are supposed to, your profit margins might be impacted, and other employees might feel pressured to work more, leading to unnecessary stress.

Related Reading: 6 Keys to Effective Employee Discipline

Have a talk with managers and supervisors, telling them that these issues are important and affect the future of your company. Make sure that there is always open communication with over these issues, and that everyone knows the steps for handling employee behavior issues.

If you heed the advice above, you’ll be well on your way to having a business well equipped to handle the HR problems that derail many other small businesses. Should questions arise, however, feel free to consult with Axcet HR Solutions to come up with the best strategies going forward for you and your business. We’re here to help when the going gets tough.

Jeanette Coleman

Written by Jeanette Coleman