HR Advise for a Department of None

soon as your business hires its first employee, you have entered the world of
HR. Anything from recruiting to payroll to health benefits to termination.
Every step of your business involved some aspect of HR. HR professionals can
help your business by ensuring that you are in compliance with laws and
regulations of your industry, City and State. “Most
people think about federal laws, but states and cities often have measures in
place that are more generous to employees,” explained Heather Breen,
SHRM-CP, human resources manager for B&R Auto Wrecking in Albany, Ore. All
it takes is one lawsuit to shock business leaders into a better understanding of
HR’s role, she says. Due to the importance of compliance, this is why
many companies hire on HR help.

​In fact, if your company is in violation of
compliance, ignorance of regulations is never a proper defense according to
employment attorneys. Even though meeting regulations is such an important part
of business, so many small companies still do not prioritize the practice. According
to ADP—a global provider of cloud-based human capital management solutions—HR
responsibilities at more than two-thirds of U.S. small
 fall to the company’s owner
or a designated non-HR employee. These “ad-hoc” HR managers, as ADP
calls them, don’t particularly like dealing with employment issues, and few of
them have any HR training. 

If you’re joining a small business as its first
HR professional, or if you’re a business owner who is ready to recognize the
importance of HR, here are the key issues you need to address first…

Know That You Don’t Know it All

is nothing explicitly outlining where to start when beginning HR initiatives in
a company, a general theme is to begin with compliance and documentation.  Make sure that I-9 forms, which verify if an
employee is eligible to work in the U.S., and W-4 forms, which record information
needed to calculate an employee’s federal tax withholdings, are handled
properly and that onboarding and drug-testing steps are in line with

Mike Ciavolino, president of Shore Creative
Group, a recruitment marketing agency in Long Branch, N.J., believes creating a
well-organized file for each employee is the way to start. The file should
contain the individual’s resume and payroll information, and grow to include
basic employment data such as performance reviews and raises, he said.  

Also, you must have proper documentation of
policies and procedures and make sure your employees understand them. “If
you don’t write policies down, you’re setting yourself up for trouble,”
Breen said. Without documentation, any disputes boil down to your word against
the employee’s, “and you’ll almost always lose." 

Make sure to not focus only on your employee’s
salaries. Make sure to consult accountants and attorneys before making a job
offer so you have a good understanding of what the complete compensation packet
will look like.

Advice to small business owners about HR:
"You have to make sure you understand what you’re required to do, such as
including full medical and dental coverage, paid vacations, tuition
reimbursement and other key aspects of a competitive compensation plan.

Create a Thorough HR Function

handling HR function, you must make sure that your company includes the “must
have” components to HR practice. Your company must have the following:


Recruiting and hiring

Management of the company’s benefits, including 401K if there is

Time tracking for vacations and other day off and billing

Oversight of firings, layoff and resignations

of these practices can be outsourced, but your company still needs to make sure
they are completing every task. Very often, "it’s easier to hire
someone than to train someone,” Breen said, especially when the work
involved isn’t among your organization’s core competencies. Maintaining a
compliant workplace is different from managing compliance, and “there are
a lot of ways to hire the expert rather than be the expert or have one in-house.”

Understand Outsourcing

The research firm Gartner reports that about 80
percent of all companies outsource at least one HR activity. This fact is not
too surprising when you understand the complexities of laws and regulations
that surround HR. According to ADP, the average ad-hoc HR person spends about
20 percent of each workweek on employment issues, which equates to nearly 700
hours a year.  

For these reasons, many business owners who say
they’re too small to add a full-time HR professional agree that hiring an HR
consultant makes sense. If your company decides to stay small, at some point
you will need to hire on an HR outsourced team.

Candida Pangaldi, vice president of human resources and operations
for Digital Brand Expressions, a Princeton, N.J., digital marketing agency with
a full-time staff of six, relies on an HR consultant to ensure her company’s HR
is managed in the best way possible.  "The first thing to do is
get a resource who can provide advice and solutions,” she said. Although
you may not know all of the HR intricacies, HR consultants do, “so they
can manage a lot of the [mandated] paperwork and make sure, for example, you’re
hiring and firing properly."  

HR is an Ongoing Process

Because employment law is always changing,
one of your greatest challenges will be simply keeping up. Although
consultants and HR vendors can help here, too, business owners and
small-company HR professionals need to keep abreast of core information. Both
trade and local business groups can be good resources to help you execute HR in
the appropriate business or regional context. 

Converge HR Solutions, we provide premier HR solutions that are cost effective
and relevant to your company. We cater to your needs by bringing in an expert
team of HR consultants that work first-hand with your company to take care of
any HR needs. At Converge HR solutions we specialize in outsourcing,
consulting, and recruiting and will provide your company with services such as onboarding,
regulatory compliance, employee relations, and handbooks & policies, just
to name a few. If you would like to learn more
about what products and services Converge HR Solutions can offer you, please
visit our website at or contact us directly by email at or phone at 610-296-8550

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