Most small business owners function as the human resource manager. They also contribute over 50% of the design/sales function; do purchasing; handle marketing, and dozens of other daily chores. But as the HR, manager you are responsible for hiring/firing of employees, researching compensation and benefit packages, writing paychecks and keeping appropriate records, training and developing employees and communicating with them. There is so much to do – and so little time to get it done effectively!
So how do you accomplish this? First, become a student of the subject. Buy books and CDs and attend workshops. Get online, talk to others and learn everything you can about the subject.
Additionally, I have a number of consulting clients that have gone the route of “outsourcing” this function. This is a growing trend and it can be a huge help and benefit to small business owners. Engage an outsider to help administrate operational functions, such as payroll and the benefits package. They can also advise on almost any human resource issue that may arise. There are a number of outsourcing companies that specialize in small business HR needs.
Future HR Trends
There have been more changes in HR management in the past 20 years than in the 100 years before that – and the changes in the next 10 years will be just as dramatic.
Your number one challenge will likely be managing change. The biggest contribution you can make in the HR area is to become a true catalyst for change in your organization. You may be a one-person management team, but it will be up to you to envision the kind of changes that will take place and adapt to those changes in a timely manner. Here are a few of the changes taking place today:
- Telecommuting and the Virtual Office: More and more employees are performing some or all of their work from home.
- Flextime: Modifying the normal 8-5 work schedule to accommodate working moms and others will be increasingly important to attract and retain key employees.
- Longer Careers: More people are working past the normal retirement age of 65. This is a very good thing. They bring a lot of talent and experience to the job.
- Workforce Diversity: In my lifetime, I’ve seen the workforce change from 90% male dominated to 50/50 male/female split. Additionally, our employees come from all kinds of ethnic backgrounds. In the future, you’ll likely be managing a work force that encompasses different genders, cultural backgrounds, ages and lifestyles – at a time when companies are moving away from the old style of management and replacing it with a more open, empowered and team-oriented approach to decision making. The challenge to companies in general, and HR professionals in particular, is not to simply adapt to diversity, but to capitalize on it.
Many kitchen and bath firms are discovering that they are competing in a much different marketplace than they were 20 years ago. Customers and workforces are better educated and more diverse. Be smart and use this to your competitive advantage.