In previous columns, I’ve stressed how important human resource management is to the success of a business. I’ve suggested that people are your most important asset and that managing people has become more challenging. This month I will build on this theme.
Technology also offers some solutions to this task. There are many HR software programs available, as well as a number of companies that specialize in small business human resources. You can outsource some or all of your HR activities easily.
Rules & Regulations
Every employee has a right to a workplace that is free of hazards, sexual harassment and discrimination, and federal, state/provincial and local government agencies are working to ensure this.
Many new rules and regulations have been introduced in the past 30 years, and this puts a lot of pressure on owners and managers to stay current. It could take only one miscue to put a small business out of business.
Most of you don’t have an HR background, so your challenge is to become familiar with all of the various government mandated regulations and programs with which your company must comply.
Becoming Family Friendly
Is your company “family friendly?” It better be if you want to attract and retain top performers. Being “family friendly” means that your company’s scheduling and general operating policies take into reasonable account the personal needs of the employees – in particular their desire to balance job responsibilities with family responsibilities.
It’s become increasingly apparent that family-oriented policies do more than simply enhance a company’s recruiting initiatives. They also produce a number of bottom-line benefits – such as reduced absenteeism, fewer disability claims and fewer workplace accidents.
Practices and policies typically found in companies pursuing work and family initiatives include flexible scheduling (flextime), telecommuting, individual arrangements, employee assistance programs (EPAs) and benefit programs that enable employees to select those benefits that are relevant to their particular needs.
The Hiring Process
Hiring is a multi-step process. The first step is to understand your needs. You must identify what position to fill, when to fill it and what the costs will be.
The past several years, many kitchen and bath firms were forced to scale back on staffing. This will provide you with a solid foundation with which to move forward.
All of the signs are pointing to an economic recovery, so you will need to hire people to meet the new demands. The big questions will be: what positions, what qualifications, what experience, what to pay them and how to structure that pay.
Too often owners/managers of kitchen and bath firms make “seat of the pants” decisions regarding who, what, when and how much. They haven’t thought out strategies, written job descriptions or documented compensation plans. You shouldn’t simply be “filling jobs.” Rather, you should constantly be seeking to bring your company the skills, experience and attributes it needs to meet its challenges.
Your company will only be as strong as your weakest employee. That means you must strive to improve your workforce. You must have a written, formal training program. You have to utilize job descriptions and performance evaluations and must be a great motivator. Combine this with a good compensation program and you will attract the very best people.
Once you’ve determined the need and affordability of adding an employee, you should establish the following:
- A written job description for the position that outlines, in detail, all aspects of the job.
- A minimum-maximum compensation range to be paid – including all benefits.
- The details of the type of compensation program that will be used (straight salary, straight commission or salary plus commission).
- Performance goals for sales, gross profit, number of jobs, etc. This should be broken out by month for a 12-month period.
- The qualifications and experience required to perform the job (i.e. CKD/CBD, computer skills, selling experience, etc.).
- Next, it’s time to develop your hiring plan. A few items to include:
- Identify how to find new people: online or newspaper ads, agencies, word of mouth, etc.
- Set a time line for advertising, interviewing, checking references and training.
- Determine if part-time help or a subcontractor could fill the need.
- Get help from other members of your team.