When it comes to human resource management, many kitchen and bath firm professionals would rather be designing projects, working with clients to help bring dreams to life or putting together new and creative marketing programs.
But if you want to operate a really successful business, you need to be very good in all three major areas of running a business: marketing management, financial management and human resource management. If you’re weak in one area, your business will be out of balance and will never be as successful as it might be.
As businesses have become more complex, so has the HR function. It encompasses everything from addressing staffing needs to launching effective training initiatives to interpreting federal, state and local codes, and implementing policies and practices that safeguard workers while protecting your company interests. The stakes are high: The legal and economic consequences of a major human resource misstep can be enormous.
Every facet of your business has seen dramatic changes in the past 30 years, but none more so than in the area of HR management. That’s why it’s critical to look at how upcoming changes/trends might affect you and your business.
• The Economy – Over the past several years, we’ve all had to tighten our belts. Since total people costs are probably in the neighborhood of 60 percent of your total expenses, this was likely one of the first areas to experience cuts.
If you were smart, you let your weakest people go. This should make you stronger. But the economic downturn has also affected those still employed. They’ve watched their 401(k)s and savings sink to new lows; raises have become few and far between, and salaries/hours may have been cut. There’s cautious optimism that the economy is on the uptick, but almost everyone agrees that it’s going to be a slow and tedious climb back to “the good old days”…if, in fact, we ever see them again.
• Recruiting/Networking Online: The Internet has transformed employee recruiting. Social media interaction and networking on large boards like Monster to smaller niche job sites such as LinkedIn and Ecademy have changed how employers recruit and how employees job hunt. Social media networking is the new way to find employees, get jobs, find answers and build a widespread, mutually supportive network of contacts, colleagues and friends. This new phenomena brings new challenges for owners and managers. You will have to develop social media and blogging policies. You’ll have to decide whether to monitor employee time online and if checking prospective new employee backgrounds online is the way to go.
• Overlapping of Work and Home: Technology has blurred the lines between work and home. Employees work at home in the evenings on reports and email. They shop at work and take brief breaks to play games online. They do their banking at work and their work accounting at home. Almost no one goes anywhere without their smart phone, laptop or tablet.
No generation has ever been this connected – which is good and bad! Some employees never stop working, which interferes with relaxation time and endangers healthy work/life balance. Others may become less productive due to increased distractions.
Additionally, you need to pay attention to wage and hour laws when dealing with hourly employees. This work-home can cause problems for employers who must pay overtime. A policy that says hourly employees cannot work from home will keep you out of trouble with wage and hour laws.
• Employee Training & Development: I’m currently presenting three different training seminars online. The rise of technology-enabled opportunities for training and employee development has changed how training is being done and will be done. Podcasts, teleseminars, online learning and webinars now offer wonderful, cost-effective ways to train your employees.