3 Key HR Tasks That Are Critical to Your Small Business


Human resources are viewed as a key factor in a company’s ability to build and sustain competitive advantage and therefore play a critical role in business enterprises. Over the past few decades, human resource management has changed and become more complex – mostly due to external factors such as technology, a growing litigious environment, customer demands, foreign competition or the globalization of business. But it has never been more important for the business owner to have a strong understanding of core human resource issues — and not only is it important — it’s becoming mandatory for continued success.

Whether an entrepreneur outsources human resource functions or not; there are some human resource issues better dealt with and understood by the business owner. The importance of training your employees is a human resource function entrepreneurs must spend time on – especially when looking at a future vision for your company. It’s critical to insure that your employees are ready to handle the technological and environmental changes that are likely to impact your business. Employee training shouldn’t stop with your new hire orientation procedures. Organizational training needs are ongoing, particularly in today’s economy.

Not only can a strong human resource understanding be a unique source of sustained competitive advantage, but smart recruitment, policy implementation, performance management and training can add significant value to any firm. Here is a look at three human resource tasks that you need to know about:

1. Positioning Employees for Success with an Ongoing Needs Assessment Process

The smartest ways to ensure employees have the necessary training to best position your business for long term success is with an ongoing needs assessment process. This doesn’t have to be complicated, but the process involves understanding where your organization is now, in terms of employee skills, and where it needs to be in the future. Identifying gaps between employee’s current abilities and what they need to do now and in the future is vital to keep your company competitive. As you go through this analysis, consider the strengths and weaknesses in your company. Common areas for improvement in many companies is helping supervisors better manage for performance. Many people are promoted into managerial positions because they’re technically good at their jobs, but they aren’t trained as managers to help their subordinates achieve peak performance.

This is one of the critical needs that business owners notice in their staff – functional management training. This is consistent with the fact that one of the most critical issues facing entrepreneurs with growing businesses is the importance of developing high-potential employees that can perform multiple roles under various stages of growth.

2. Identify Training Issues With an Employee Development Plan

Once you have assessed your organization’s training needs, you can identify which gaps are actually training issues. An employee development plan will move your organization closer to its long term strategic goals. Strategically, it’s clever to identify the technological and environmental factors that will influence your business’s ability to remain competitive. For example, leadership training can be an important component of succession planning. Software training increases competitiveness as companies automate. This is a fruitful human resource exercise for business owners and hones their overall skills.

Companies committed to employee training can realize the benefits of improved employee satisfaction and retention. Keeping highly trained and motivated employees overwhelmingly contributes to your company’s success and gives you a competitive advantage.

3. Effectively Communicating Policies and Practices with Employees

The business owner is often the only one that can create a learning culture in business. Begin by clearly communicating your expectation that employees should take the steps necessary to hone their skills to stay on top of their professions or fields of work. Communicate to your employees the specific training needs and targeted results you’ve established as a result of your needs analysis.

It’s helpful to provide a solid orientation to your company’s culture, including your learning culture, to any new employees you hire. Every successful training anddevelopment program also includes a component that addresses your current and future leadership needs. Your employees are your principle business asset. Lead by example, if employees see you committed to continually honing your skills, they’re likely to follow. Due to their small size, small businesses can lack management capacity and they can’t afford costly support services like financial, human resource, legal etc. To be successful, they must develop strong management teams and adopt a culture of learning.

Building a great company has a lot to do with how people work together and this is another critical area of human resources that business owners must delve into. Policies and practices can improve the way your employees interact, while minimizing the personnel obstacles that can cause problems.

How can you make sure your employees have clear expectations and are treated fairly as they work to help build your company? The answer is the way you address key elements of your workplace policies. People like to have a clear understanding of their role in a company as well as the roles of others. Successful teams have well-defined roles or positions and clear reporting structures that spell out who’s in charge and how tasks are to be accomplished. Entrepreneurs also have to share a clear understanding of what is and what is not acceptable behavior within the company. Laying out rules helps employers with liability issues and compliance. It’s also important to state consequences for violations so that employees know what to expect and have fair warning of those expectations. This is extremely important because an employee who feels they’ve been treated unfairly can create a great deal of liability. Do your employees have an employee handbook or policy guide? What about training or forms for guidance? Tools like these are vital to avoid liability, but also decrease the time you spend dealing with people issues instead of business matters. As the leader of the company, it’s significant that you get involved in these important human resource functions and often essential to your success.

Small Business Human Resources Certificate Program

Devoting the time to human resources issues is a crucial investment and one that contributes immensely to a company’s success and to the respect of business leaders.

Due to the growing demand from business owners, Vubiz recently launched a Small Business Human Resources Certificate program designed specifically for today’s successful entrepreneur. Human resources are the most important assets in a small business, and this program recognizes that HR management is a critical skill for every small business owner. Business owners must know and obey the federal and state regulations that affect employers and employees.

This unique program offers 25 hours of online learning (PDF), addressing key topics such as recruitment, staff compensation and benefits, leadership, performance development and team building to name a few. This program is also good for university credit at Athabasca University.
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