12 tips for successful HR management in small business

If you’re a small business, the chances are that you manage your HR requirements yourself. While that can seem daunting, it’s also incredibly important to get it right, given that your employees are one of your biggest assets. 

When managing HR in-house, you’ll be dealing with hiring and onboarding, career development, training and health and safety. There are also specific laws and regulations you must follow relating to annual leave and inclusivity. 

The following 12 tips are designed to help you successfully manage HR in your small business, from hiring through to creating a great business culture.

1. Streamline hiring processes

If you want to hire the best talent, speed is critical. A streamlined hiring process will ensure that your company attracts and secures the expertise you need on board as quickly as possible. One idea is to put yourself in the candidate’s shoes and work through the application process to see where it can be improved. Involve your existing employees for feedback when available.

2. Be effective when onboarding

Do you know what your new employees want from your onboarding procedure? The most effective way to introduce your culture and values is to understand what candidates are looking for. Research suggests that new employees are looking for four key features in onboarding:

3. Encourage effective feedback

A robust feedback process is one of the most effective tools at your disposal. Encourage constructive feedback, both positive and negative, as a way to keep the culture of your business healthy and consistent. Use both one to one sessions and surveys to capture feedback and identify areas in which employee experience and company culture may not be aligned. Your feedback process should underpin a continual process of learning and self-development.

4. Use rewards and recognition

Every successful business needs a great company culture. Your HR efforts should be focused and aligned on creating and maintaining that culture through initiatives such as rewards and recognition that promote your fundamental values. Embed performance reviews at the heart of your organisation by using a simplified and less formal procedure. Identify key performance indicators that align with your business values and reward them as a way of reinforcing company culture.

5. Define your core values

What are your core values? These are the foundation of your business and underpin every business decision and define every goal. 

They should be understood and embraced at every level of your organisation with input from senior management and employees alike. A thriving company culture depends on employee engagement and when it comes to hiring, look for employees who indicate values that align with your culture for the most effective results.

6. Using technology

There’s no doubt that technology is changing HR. Internet of things, AI and machine learning, are all predicted to disrupt HR over the coming decades. The following are areas in technology have already impacted the HR industry:

Leverage the latest technology to meet employee and business needs with productivity and organisational tools, pulse surveys and wellbeing apps. Successfully incorporating the right digital tools into your workflow creates a more engaging employee experience. 

7. Network with HR professionals

In an ever-changing business climate where regulatory factors and compliance are critical, it makes sense to network with HR professionals. Consider hiring an HR consultant to put together your handbooks and hiring procedures. 

8. Have as much clarity as possible

It pays to document everything, including logging the time, date and attendees for every conversation plus a summary of what was discussed. This delivers much-needed clarity, should an issue arise.

If you’re implementing your own conflict resolution strategies, hone your mediation and negotiation skills. Use your problem-solving skills to negotiate the best possible outcome while being aware that an outcome that pleases all parties may not ultimately be possible.

9. Automate your processes

HR management technologies can put human resources data at your fingertips. In turn, that simplifies tracking performance and making informed decisions in line with specific and strategic business goals.

10. Be a flexible employer

Flexitime self-scheduling is the way forward to solve issues around work-life balance and presenteeism. Employees choose the hours and work schedules that suit them, transferring the ownership from management to employees. Encourage employees to use self-service to update personal profiles and book annual leave. 

11. Promote diversity and inclusivity

Implementing diversity and inclusivity in the workplace doesn’t have to be a challenge for SMBs:

12. Communicate effectively

Communication is the single most critical skill that you can develop when juggling HR management with the demands of your business. From communicating your organisation’s vision and goals to improving internal communications, having everyone on the same page is vital to managing effective HR management.

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