It’s easy to assume that big business, with its big bucks, would have the jump on small business in terms of recruiting staff. But often, the attractions of working in a small business far outweigh those of a big business.
But to get the most out of your employees, it’s important to have a considered approach to how to find and retain, and manage and motivate your biggest asset: your people.
Setting the standard
This does not necessarily mean having strict human resources policies; rather it means taking a lateral approach to how you manage your staff and, most importantly, being willing to be flexible in the way you handle people.
To help develop effective HR procedures for your enterprise, here’s a step by step guide to approaching human resources for small business.
‘Your HR policy should centre on your vision for the business,’ says Treacy Sheehan, principal of Australia-wide recruitment and training firm Trace Personnel.
According to Sheehan, at its core the HR policy should ‘set the standard about the type of people you want working for you’.
What your HR policy should include
An HR policy sets out your approach to handling people and what the staff can expect from you. The types of documents that might be included in an HR policy include:
• A mission and vision statement for the company, as well as a goal statement for the HR policy itself
• A statement about how the company approaches equal opportunity
• An employment manual, that sets out hours of employment, conditions of employment, management’s expectations of staff, and also what staff can expect of management.
This might cover things like dress code, personal communication (use of emails and mobile telephones while at work), as well as gifts and gratuities.
Other things that might be covered in the HR policy are:
• Sexual harassment
• Health, safety and the environment
• Performance management
• Disciplinary procedures
A good idea, says Sheehan, is to have a formal induction program. ‘We also have a book called The Trace Way, which outlines steps to becoming a successful consultant.’
Sheehan advises other small businesses to also consider putting together a booklet that outlines their approach to doing business.
Sheehan’s advice is to incorporate the HR policy into the overall business plan for the company. ‘Part of the business plan should be about how you run the human element of the company,’ she says.
Your business is you
Above all, says Sheehan, the policy should, ‘Reflect the psyche of the business owner – who you employ says a lot about who you are’.
When putting together the policy, it’s an idea to think ahead five – or even 10 years – to ensure the policy reflects the company’s growing HR needs; it’s easy to think when starting a business that HR planning should come secondary to the operational aspects of the business.
But if you can plan ahead for your human resourcing needs you will have a better chance of managing rapid growth. This is because when it happens you’ll have trained people in place to help steer the company forward.