Top 3 HR Mistakes to Avoid

It may be true there’s no “I” in the word “team,” but if you’re a small business owner, you probably use the word “I” a lot -- as in, “I have to manage this project” or “I have to deal with this client.” Fortunately, if you have a great team of employees around you, you can feel confident delegating at least some of your work to others. But to have great employees, you should have great human resources practices to help you build your team and support it once it’s in place. And when it comes to HR, there are plenty of ways you can “trip up” and sabotage your own best efforts. Here are three of the biggest (and most common) HR mistakes to avoid in your own business.

Top 3 HR Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Hiring too quickly. You have to think of your employees as long-term relationship partners, because while you may not be dating, in reality, that’s what they are. You wouldn’t go into a long-term relationship with someone you just met; neither should you hire someone without taking some time to make sure they’ll be a good fit. The best way to do that is with an established set of hiring guidelines, including accurate job descriptions and a list of basic requirements for each position in your company. A good job description helps you attract top talent while eliminating the less-than-desirable prospects. One more tip: If you can, try to have more than one person interview candidates for a more collaborative hiring process that offers multiple perspectives on each candidate.
  2. Neglecting to train new employees (and retrain existing workers). Training is especially important when onboarding a new employee, but it can also help ensure existing employees are as productive as possible, especially when you add new equipment or implement a new system. Developing a standard training program ensures all your employees are on the same track, which means better communication, fewer errors and improved productivity. Adding professional development opportunities as your budget allows keeps employees interested and motivated while also “tweaking” their skills so they continue to meet your specific needs.
  3. Not keeping up with R&R. Sorry -- in this case, R&R stands for rules and regulations, not rest and relaxation. For small businesses, the regulatory landscape changes on a routine basis, and often, the changes that come down the road can be quite subtle or difficult to understand. Still, if you don’t take the time to stay abreast of these changes - and to implement them correctly in your own business - you can set yourself up for steep fines, not to mention some disgruntled employees. Overtime, break time, vacation, hiring practices -- just about any interaction involving employees is pretty heavily regulated, and you need to make sure you implement changes in a timely manner to avoid running into trouble.

Human resource practices can be complex, especially for small businesses with limited HR personnel. The good news: You can address lots of HR-related issues with a good employee handbook and hiring practices guidelines.

Creating robust documents and maintaining them regularly is the best way to avoid these and other HR mistakes that can wind up causing a lot of hassles, not to mention putting a damper on your bottom line.

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