Three HR New Year’s Resolutions for Small Businesses

It’s almost 2015, which means it’s time to put the holidays behind us and make resolutions for the new year. Each year usually brings new employment laws, and it is important that small business owners and HR professionals stay on top of these changes. What else are you doing in 2015 to take care of the people part of your business? Let’s look back at some of my posts from the past year to come up with some HR New Year’s resolutions for your small business.

Update the Hiring & Onboarding Process

The hiring process is the first impression you make on a candidate. If you are unprepared for an interview or have a disorganized application process, you may end up driving candidates away. Because small businesses do less hiring, they do not always have the streamlined processes larger businesses have. Use the new year to evaluate your process.

Design a good job description and know what you want in a candidate. Then prepare for interviews by developing interview questions and reading through all the candidate’s application materials. Greet the candidate, conduct the interview on time, and avoid distractions. Remember that being friendly can often get a candidate to be more truthful about work experience.

Once you hire people to fill your openings, do not forget about the onboarding process. Onboarding includes orientation, new employee training and all the ways we make an employee feel welcome at their new job. Do not just think of onboarding as new hire paperwork. Take the time to set up an orientation, even if it is just a one-on-one meeting to review policies and tour the office. Create a training plan that covers the new hire’s first few months. Who will train them? What are the expectations? Check in on a regular basis to see that the employee is learning the job and to see if they have any questions.

Improve Time Off & Benefits Options

Small businesses do not always have the resources to provide the fancy benefits larger companies do. Even if you cannot provide things like on-site yoga classes and a full cafeteria with organic options, there are still ways to improve your benefits package in the new year.

Benefits are more than simply offering insurance. Consider adding a basic wellness program with incentives for employees who achieve personal fitness goals. You can also partner with other small businesses to offer discounts. You offer their employees a discount at your business, and they offer a discount to your employees. Develop an incentive program where employees can earn tokens for a job well done. Incentives can be as easy as gift cards and movie tickets.

Don’t underestimate the value of paid time off. Being able to take time off without worrying about losing pay can do a lot to improve morale. Paid time off allows us to take a break from work, so we can recharge. Investing in paid time off means investing in increased productivity. When thinking about paid time off, do not forget about providing adequate paid sick leave. Companies that do not offer any kind of paid time off for illness are much more likely to have offices full of coughing and sneezing employees, which increases the likelihood that cold and flu germs will spread throughout your business.

Review Bullying & Harassment Prevention Policies

Speaking of benefits and workplace wellness programs, do not neglect your policies on bullying and harassment. Most companies have policies that prohibit harassment and require employees to treat each other in a respectful manner. Use the new year to make sure you are educating employees on these policies and ensuring that you have a workplace free of harassment, bullying and abusive behavior.

Let employees know who they can talk to if these issues come up, and have an open door policy when it comes to complaints so employees do not fear speaking up. Have a process in place for investigating complaints and taking appropriate remedial action.

Happy New Year!

Start off the new year by ensuring your workplace is ready for 2015. As the unemployment rate continues to go down, workers will start having more choices for where they want to work. Make this the year you focus your energy on your employees and creating the kind of workplace people want to be a part of.

What are your HR resolutions for 2015?

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Stephanie Hammerwold

Stephanie Hammerwold, is the founder and director of Pacific Reentry Career Services, a Southern California nonprofit that helps formerly incarcerated women find and maintain employment. She also blogs on a variety of HR topics as the HR Hammer. When not volunteering for her nonprofit, Stephanie has a day job in HR at a tech startup in Irvine, CA.


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