By Mark Sinatra, CEO of Staff One
When companies ring in the New Year, most are focused on assessing the previous year and planning ahead to strategize for a better season. However, as business leaders focus on their core strengths and concepts, most are willing to let human resources slide, even though putting human resources on the backburner could seriously damage their business.
Instead of hoping human resources issues will resolve themselves, take a serious look at whether your systems are in good working order. It could mean the difference between a smooth, successful year and one you’d rather not look back on.
Assess your risk.
Here’s a quick questionnaire: When was the last time your business updated the employee handbook? Are employee disciplinary issues thoroughly documented? Can your company respond to government inquiries about employee status and tax information quickly? If any of these questions were hard to answer, you’re overdue for a human resources audit. One of the most daunting aspects of business ownership and management is spotting and avoiding common pitfalls that could lead to anything from an unhappy employee to an expensive lawsuit. A truly helpful audit will include employee surveys, an assessment of task allocation, taking a hard look at benefits packages and what the competition offers job candidates, and risk assessment that points out vulnerabilities. No one wants to see the flaws in their company, but assessing risk is the best way to protect and ensure the business’s long term health.
Take a closer look at the way your manage human resources.
Most small businesses can’t afford a dedicated human resources professional, which means those responsibilities are taken on by the business owner, an administrative assistant, or the financial controller. However, human resources has become much more complex in the last five years. It’s not as easy for people without experience and formal training to approach and understand compliance; even those who have been handling a business’s human resources for years feel lost. Many business owners don’t want to deal with exploring outsourced options, but taking an honest look at current processes might reveal surprising information. If someone is splitting their time between human resources and the job they were hired for, both tasks might be suffering.
As you plan growth initiatives, don’t forget to account for potential manpower additions.
If you’re planning to grow your business this year, you’re probably thinking about new products, marketing, rollouts, and other vital expansion initiatives. However, if your growth initiatives might require an extra set of hands and it’s possible you’ll have to hire more people to carry it out, figuring out any human resources adjustments should be part of your growth model. The Affordable Care Act and other new laws have drastically changed the way businesses are categorized and what level of burden employers are expected to take on when it comes to wages and healthcare.
Evaluate partnering with an HR outsourcing company.
The Affordable Care Act and other evolving regulations are putting additional administrative and financial pressure on businesses, but most business owners say the greatest burden of all is sorting out the regulations in the first place. The modern human resources landscape is so complex that businesses of every size, from fewer than 10 employees to thousands, are entrusting their human resources to dedicated experts who specialize in that field alone. Payroll, time cards, and benefits are no longer simple, and human resources is a continually growing field where experience and specific proficiencies have more value than ever. Choosing to work with a human resources partner may require an investment, but it’s one that will pay major dividends in saved time, less confusion, and insulation from non-compliance problems.
Every New Year presents the chance for a fresh start. Having a human resources system that’s thorough, compliant, and time sensitive is a huge part of running a successful business. It prevents stress, saves time, and makes your company more attractive to current and incoming talent. As you plan for a great 2016, keeping human resources at the top of your mind will make every other initiative run more smoothly as well.
Mark Sinatra is the CEO of Staff One, a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) that was founded more than 27 years ago. Staff One’s services include: HR outsourcing, premium employee benefits, workers’ compensation and risk management, compliance management and payroll and tax administration. Mark also is actively involved in the PEO industry as a Board Director of both the Employer Services Assurance Corporation (ESAC) and National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO).