People are the greatest asset to any business, however this is specifically true for small businesses where several roles can be occupied by one person and successful growth is contingent on securing and retaining talented employees. In light of this, developing a business strategy which encompasses the management of people within the organisation is crucial for dictating a successful business trajectory.
This is where HR becomes a key player. Business owners may have worked hard to attract the right candidates for the job, but understanding how to manage different personalities, whilst helping employees become their most productive self is where many small business can struggle. Seeking simple and effective HR support is a fundamental criterion for any business, regardless of their size, as it will provide a set of guidelines, which marry successful people management with a business’s organisational goals and objectives.
Managing the everyday processes
The employee-employer relationship is not as simple hiring someone to do a job, there are certain intricacies within the relationship which have to be managed. HR support is a valuable asset for employers and employees alike, specifically when dealing with areas including employment legislation, employee entitlements and specific company policies.
Implementing clear cut policies and procedures will not only safeguard business owners from potential legal pitfalls, but will also serve as a guide to employees for what is expected from them. Whilst it is common practice to have specific procedures in place, many small business owners are often concerned that their lack of time and knowledge of HR will impede this, which is why seeking some form of HR support becomes critical.
Training and development
In order to understand the needs of a business, HR personnel conduct assessments of the existing workforce to determine what, if any, training and development opportunities should be pursued to enhance employees’ skills and qualifications.
Small businesses who are in their primary stages of development or entering into a growth phase will benefit from an employee skills assessment to help ensure that all employees are up-to-date on industry knowledge and the skills required to meet consumer and/or clients. Moreover, it can prove extremely cost-effective for small businesses, in that it cuts the expense of hiring additional employees, whilst also helping reduce staff turnover.
In line with the above, HR support can also be utilised to develop a company-wide performance management system. Performance and productivity are two of the key elements that drive a business forward. Without an effective method to monitor performance, employees may end up working on projects that do not match their skill-sets, or worse, poor performing employees may fall by the wayside costing the business unnecessary expense.
For most employers including small business owners, employee satisfaction can seem a bit of an enigma and hard to decipher. Nonetheless, productivity and employee satisfaction correlates positively, which is why understanding how your employees feel within their roles is pivotal to ensuring efficient business processes. This is where HR professionals step in. Through carefully curated and designed employee surveys, in addition to clear exit interview strategies, HR will help discover any underlying factors which are affecting workplace morale, whilst developing methods to help address and respond to any issues.
Dissolving workplace conflict
Conflict and disagreements are an unfortunate by-product of any group situation, particularly within the workplace due to the clash of personalities and ways of thinking. If conflicts are allowed to escalate and get out of control then it can lead to severe legal ramifications, which for a small business could be detrimental to their future in terms of reputation and financial restraints. HR managers and personnel can act as mediators, specially trained to handle conflict resolution, helping to restore positive working relationships and prevent further instances from reoccurring.
By Peter Done, Managing Director of Peninsula Business Services