Recently I was asked by Linda of New York City: What is the most valuable HR best practice every new business owner should be aware of?
Below are answers from the Young Entrepreneur Council, a nonprofit organization that provides young entrepreneurs with access to tools, mentorship, community and educational resources that support each stage of their business’s development and growth.
1. HR is a potential employee's first impression
Human Resources departments should strive to not just be super efficient and organized with new hires, but should really think of themselves as the first ones to welcome a new employee and make a positive impression. Taking care of a new employee/intern's unique needs is an important responsibility that should be done carefully.
2. Put it in writing and set expectations upfront
Don't assume new hires know what your organization expects. What may appear simple to you is foreign to the next person. Develop a straight forward employee handbook or manual to address the basics including job descriptions, attendance expectations, e-mail communication etiquette, payment methods and more. Review standard operating procedures and set people up for success.
3. Screen for culture fit
Every organization has a culture of its own. It is up to the entrepreneur to choose to define and build it or let it develop on its own. Screening a candidate for a cultural fit is critical. We have passed over numerous talented candidates because they were not appropriate for the culture that we have worked so hard to build.
4. Understand motivation
You must know what motivates your employees—financial rewards and money is not always the best way to give your employees drive. Every HR department must set-up non-financial rewards programs like mentorship lunches, featuring special employees or better parking. Money is not the only driver of strong employees.
5. Go hi-tech or go home
Streamline the HR workflow by using technology to improve communication and accessibility. Some specific examples include HR management system software, Internet based payroll, and electronic applicant tracking. These electronic systems will save time, money and reduce the errors caused by archaic paperwork.
6. Be transparent
Generation Y-ers heavily emphasize workplace culture, benefits and transparency. Sometimes these issues even trump salary considerations. Therefore, the most crucial HR best practice that every business should implement is stressing the transparent culture of the business during interviews.
7. Create a talent community
Turn your careers page into an interactive social community by utilizing talent community plugins or setting up a separate Facebook page aimed at prospective employees. Provide valuable content through these means and regularly interact with interested individuals.
8. Be consistent
After setting up appropriate policies and procedures, be sure that you're enforcing these rules fairly and consistently across all employees. Nothing undermines your respect like the perception of playing favorites (and be sensitive to how things may be perceived). Even if employees do not like certain policies, if they're enforced consistently it makes it much more difficult to be questioned.
9. Keep your eye out for who you want to hire
Relying on applications means that you're relying on people who self-select (and are driven by the need for a job more than anything else). For some positions, that's fine, but you need to keep an eye out for people who are fantastic and already have jobs. Hiring employees away from other companies tends to mean you're selecting the pool of potentials.
10. Be personally involved
As an organization grows, the owner must choose their battles wisely and hiring is one of the most critical because its the lifeblood of your company. Eventually you will need to hire an HR director, but by being involved in each and every hire you set the tone for how your company runs and who is in charge. Employees work harder for owners they can tell are 100 percent dedicated to quality control.