Typically, companies with 50 or less employees don’t really need a full-scale Human Resources department rather the “HR task” can be handled by the owner with the assistance of the office manager or an outside service. Small businesses with 50-150 employees usually need an employee dedicated to Human Resources. That’s where you come in! The management team and employees alike look to you for advice on everything under the sun from recruiting and hiring, training and development, benefits, compensation, co-worker issues, safety, and the list goes on and on and on. So how do you manage it all? How do you perform to the best of your ability and help others do the same?
• Company: You must understand your company, their services or products, and who they serve.Know where the company is heading. Understand the mission, vision, and values and be sure you rally behind them. If you don’t believe in what your company does and why they do it then you are not the one to help them! If you do support these things then make sure all you do aligns to the goals of the company. Spend time in each department and understand what they do and how it affects other departments and ultimately the clients.
• Customers: In HR you have internal customers and external customers. Your role is to know and understand what each one needs in order to help the company succeed. Internal customers, such as the management team, need you to be current on laws and regulations affecting the business, they need timely and accurate reports so that they can make informed decisions. Employees need assistance with benefit enrollment, educational opportunities or how to handle a situation with a co-worker. All of them must trust that the information they get from you will help them and the company on the path towards continued success.
• Associations and Education: It is critical to build a support team around you. This could be other managers, outside services and consultants, or industry associations. HR is an ever changing field, and if you’re not connected nor have a willingness to keep learning, you’re going to get left behind quickly. You must have a way to stay out in front of changes. You will need something or someone you can rely on to help keep you informed in a timely fashion. I highly suggest joining a national association for your industry, and HR groups such as Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), BLR.com, or HR.com and if you’re not certified (PHR, SPHR or GPHR) plan on doing so!
Once you are connected, I suggest that you audit the HR department. Look at benefits, compensation, handbooks, personnel files, recruitment plan, training and development, moral, safety, etc…. You need to make sure that all these areas align to the business plan and will help propel the company towards their vision. . Mark areas of concern with red, yellow, and green.
• Red: these are your fires: things that have to be corrected or implemented right away. If not, it could mean safety hazards, decline of business or fines on the company. (Example: Maybe the company has outdated compliance posters or occupational Safety and Health Administration Posters) Maybe the employees are so unhappy that they are ready to leave without notice.
• Yellow: These are thing that need addressed, but could wait for a short while. They do not pose an immediate threat to anyone but need to be upgraded to ensure that all employees as well as the company can perform at its best. (Example: You may notice that payroll is a manual process. If you automate the process, it can save time and money. For now people are getting paid and the process is functioning)
• Green: These items are running smoothly and are in compliance. They work well and are not harming the business in any way. It’s safe to let these things ride but be sure to revisit them from time to time. As I mentioned before, HR is ever changing and what works today may not be in compliance tomorrow.
Get Things Accomplished
• Plan you projects: Some things are a quick fix such as ordering new “All in one” state and federal posters. Other projects will take more time. I suggest a Gantt chart on larger projects. It will help you and your team with timing and collaboration, and it will prevent procrastination. As you complete projects cross them off the list!
• Expect the Unexpected: It’s going to happen!! The world of HR is full of “got a minute” meetings. Don’t plan every minute of your day with your task and expect to have all that time to yourself. I suggest working in blocks of time in 2.5 hour increments with a 15 minute in between each block. This will allow for “pop up” meetings. If that time isn't filed with meeting, take a walk through the company to see how things are going for others. You will be surprised how many people will say, “Hey, I've been meaning to come see you.” You can talk to them right then and there and avoid a “got a minute” meeting in the future
• Limit the “Got a Minute”: If someone does come to the door asking if you “got a minute?”, I always try to say “Sure, I have a minute but is that minute needed now?” Certainly if that person is in the middle of a crisis, you don’t want to tell them to come back in an hour, but most of the time what the person needs can wait and they are willing to do so. You will also be surprised at how many people then start to solve their own problems because you weren't available the minute they wanted you. If not, then you can schedule a time to devote your entire attention to them.