How to Hit a ‘HR’ with HR

If you’re a baseball fan, this is a special time of year. Spring training retreats to Florida or Arizona can bring back crisp air, a crack of the bat, and the smell of grilled ballpark food. There’s a renewed spirit for your home team, and as you peruse the local box score, nothing is better than seeing a ‘HR’ from your favorite player.

There’s nothing easy about it. Hitting a home run takes precision, strength and timing. The other HR we are talking about, of course, is human resources. To reach the pinnacle of success in your industry, it’s absolutely important to have a formidable strategy and a keen eye.

If you own a small business, this is something keeping you up at night. There is no temporary fix. The last thing an entrepreneur or owner needs is a personnel crisis derailing an otherwise successful operation.

The first priority is finding an employee to lead the company’s HR department. Or, as some Entrepreneurs' Organization members do, outsource your needs to a firm capable of managing a business of your size. There are a multitude of HR firms in the Philadelphia area that can handle payroll, benefits, risk and compliance, as well as cloud services. Working with a firm can help to contain rising costs and minimize employer risks in the short-term. As you scale, these issues can appear suddenly and without warning.

If you choose the first option – hiring a team to handle human resources – here are some NTK’s:

  • Create best practices and a code of conduct for behavior. Be sure to outline repercussions for disobeying these polices. But, be sure to be in compliance with the U.S. Small Business Association. Here are some tips.

  • Incentivizing employees can build loyalty. Be aware of what competitive businesses are doing locally and nationally. Each workplace environment is different, so be conscious of the culture. Is unlimited PTO a necessary perk, or an unwanted productivity sap? How important is having a matching 401K program? If the business is slower in the summer, perhaps it’s worth having “Summer Fridays”. Draw a line between what employees want and what they need.

  • Prepare for the worst case scenario. Train your HR managers in sensitivity and empathy. They need to understand the psychological complexities of employees and anticipate how they will react to good news (bonuses, promotions) and bad news (termination). Nobody wants to get fired, but occasionally it is necessary. Know how to make a smooth transition and be mindful of how decisions affect those around the office.

These are just some of the basics. At Entrepreneurs' Organization, we encourage you to get formal help – whether from a contracted firm or a trained group of employees. Growing a business can be stressful, but there are ways to make it easier. Having a strong foundation in human resources will prepare you for the inevitable crisis, and prevent a potentially catastrophic event. Sometimes the difference between a swing-and-a-miss and a towering home run is just a matter of inches.