I occasionally publish the work of freelance writers who write about human resources. Today’s guest writer writes about HR and small business.
It’s that time of year: suddenly everyone is swearing off sugar and joining a gym. But when you work in a small business, you have resolutions of your own to focus on! And the new year is the perfect time to develop a strategic plan to grow your human resources efforts.
Every organization has its HR hurdles to cross. But if you’re managing HR for a small business, you have the added challenge of doing it all with limited bandwidth and resources. That means that small business HR management goals need to be both financially lean and efficient in terms of manpower and process. However, thanks to the proliferation of low-cost human resources software, SMBs can adopt a professional, organized and—perhaps most importantly—data-backed approach to their HR endeavors. Here are five of the best HR resolutions for your small business—and how applications can help you get there.
Reduce Turnover—and Accompanying Expenses—by Hiring the Right Candidates
One competitive advantage your small business has over larger, well-established corporations is the ability to move fast. Organized SMBs can recruit, interview and hire in a span of a few weeks—compared to the months-long turnaround from larger, heavily bureaucratic organizations. Of course, you’ll hamper yourself if you can’t get your ad to the best talent. And you may find yourself burdened by the administrative aspects of the process: reviewing resumes, responding to candidate emails, and scheduling interviews can become time-consuming at best for already-stretched small business schedules.
This is where the right human resource software can have a huge impact. New cloud-based tool developers are dabbling with machine learning and AI techniques that can take some of the back-and-forth out of recruiting, answering emails automatically and leading candidates through the recruitment process. These applications often use programmed bots (sort of like “Clippy,” but useful!) that can answer questions and direct candidates to next steps. However, if you prefer a more conventional approach, you can still take advantage of enterprise-level talent management tools, resume databases and programs that integrate with LinkedIn and other social media to discover and engage with candidates. Either way, applications stand to take a lot of the work out of recruitment.
Develop and Streamline Employee Training and Development
A lot of times the challenge for a burgeoning small business is to move from old, ad hoc methods to established processes. That usually means developing a fully-articulated onboarding and training program and allocating resources for continued education opportunities.
But how do you define the best plan for long-term employee development and ultimately, better retention? The answer lies in the employees themselves. Surveying your existing team provides crucial insights into where employees need to go—especially for specialized team members without a conventional career trajectory.
But gathering data and analyzing results is burdensome without some sort of digital aide. This may be the greatest benefit of adopting HR software—SaaS tools offer frequent, informal surveys and up-to-the-minute insights on any number of topics. You can feel confident that your data is correct, whether you’re using the results to create new programs or initiatives or presenting the findings to your boss.
Define Measurable Benchmarks for HR Success
Metrics are undoubtedly where HR software shines. The ability to measure the performance of softer initiatives is a key benefit of Hr management tools. Any number of objectives can be measured this way: employee and customer satisfaction, retention levels, the percentage of employees who meet their development targets or individual performance objectives and so forth.
HR dashboards can not only automate the collection of this data but also help HR teams analyze and present data and easy-to-digest formats. Now the board will finally understand what you mean when you tell them employees are motivated by intrinsic rewards.
Automate Paperwork and Onboarding
Paperwork: a necessary evil for any HR team. New employees come with boatloads of forms—and in a fast-moving new business, you may have to juggle onboarding for several employees at once.
Time-strapped teams often struggle to define clear-cut processes for employee onboarding. But thorough and intensive orientation is undoubtedly a predictor of employee retention and productivity. Luckily, there are many free or low-cost tools employers can use to guide new hires through the onboarding process. Some even feature time tracking and payroll tools—and will alert you when paperwork is outstanding, which can definitely save you time tracking down missing information and incomplete forms.
Boost Communication and Collaboration
Before your company establishes its first offices, you may have employees working in different remote locations. And of course, that means employees may struggle with communication—important information gets buried in email chains or lost in translation over text.
Because face-to-face interaction is so important, teams can benefit from sophisticated virtual tools that bring remote players closer together. Video conferencing applications and chat programs are go-to for most businesses, but you may also find yourself drawn to more immersive project management tools that include time tracking, productivity reports and file sharing, or engagement apps that can help you ensure everyone is on the same page. After all, when everyone is on the same page, you can start putting a dent in your real 2018 goal: crushing it!
Erin Vaughan currently resides in Austin, TX. When she’s not outside enjoying a hike through the Texas hill country, she writes about the latest technology and tools for TrustRadius.