Recent news suggests employers are finally adding jobs. If you're among those small business owners either hiring for the first time or looking to increase staff, it's necessary to take extra steps to make sure you get new hires on board without complications.
1. Know the interview rules
Asking a prospective employee about an accent, or whether they prefer "Ms., Mrs. or Miss" might seem to some like simple small talk, but it's actually illegal in most cases. Make sure everyone involved in the hiring process knows the rules, not just the owner of the business.
"Businesses run into trouble when interviews are conducted by multiple members of a team who might not all be on same page," Moore says. "Have a process and policies that really get your whole staff trained about what's in and out of bounds. It's situational and should be specific to the job description."
2. Create an employment agreement
Make sure you get an employment agreement in writing. A recent Rocket Lawyer survey found that lack of written contracts ranked high on the list of small businesses mistakes.
3. Develop an employee handbook
Set your policies for employees. Hand them something in hard copy that defines expectations and consequences when it comes to responsibilities and performance. Outline payroll, promotion and day-to-day procedures.
4. Define clear anti-discrimination policies
Clearly define and prohibit discrimination in the workplace. Establish a no-tolerance policy for racist, sexist and classist actions and/or language.
5. Implement a no-tolerance sexual harassment policy
Prohibit any unwelcome conduct or advance that is intimidating, hostile or offensive.
6. Learn the employee-leave rules
Familiarize yourself with the legal requirements of the U.S. Department of Labor's Family and Medical Leave Act.
7. Provide a worker’s comp program
A worker's comp program can help you avoid costly lawsuits and expenses in the event of an employee having an accident on the job.
All of this, according to Moore, is about taking a step back, understanding the needs, scale, scope and ground rules of your small business, and then expressing those to new employees in a way that's clear and legal.
James O'Brien is a correspondent for The Boston Globe, The Consumer Chronicle and Boston University's Research magazine. James blogs via Contently.com.
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