Human resources is probably not your specialty area – and yet, it’s one of the most complicated and critical aspects of running your business. Your employees are your most important asset, and salaries and benefits likely represent the lion’s share of your operating expenses.
A good way to ensure solid HR management is to avoid some typical mistakes. Here are two of the most common:
You should be maintaining three specific files for each one of your employees. They include:
- I-9 files: I-9 forms are used by the federal government to identify and verify a person’s eligibility to work in the United States. Keep all I-9 files together in a single location, instead of under individual employee names.
- General files: Create and maintain these files for your own benefit. They should contain all documentation associated with an employee that you collect during their time at your company. This includes resumes, reviews, records of disciplinary actions, training verification, evaluations, W-4 forms and payroll details. This is your handy “go to” file.
- Medical files: These files contain notes from employees’ healthcare providers, as well as disability and any other pertinent medical information. Due to the specific confidential nature of these files, they must be well protected and secured. (All files should be, of course. But due to HIPAA and other requirements, medical files merit extra attention.)
Not Having an Employee Handbook
An employee handbook is an essential HR tool. It serves two key purposes: letting your employees know what you expect of them, and protecting your business in the event of a dispute. Your handbook can be as simple or as complex as you like, but there are some content general guidelines you should follow, as suggested by the Small Business Administration. Be sure your handbook includes:
- Your anti-discrimination policies. Discuss how your company complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as other employment discrimination laws.
- The steps you take to ensure employees’ safety and security: Discuss OSHA compliance, along with your own related policies. Also include related employee expectations, such as computer passwords, locking doors, use of mobile devices, and reporting threatening behavior.
- Vacations, leaves and work schedules. Even if you offer flexible scheduling (which, if feasible, you should!), detail any expectations regarding when employees are or are not working.
- Standards of conduct. This might include dress code; online, computer or mobile use during work hours; ethics; legal issues, and similar topics. Include the repercussions of violating conduct standards.
Every employee should receive a copy of your handbook and sign a statement acknowledging that they read it and understand its content. Put this statement in their file. Make digital and paper copies of your handbook available to all team members for quick reference when needed.
Whether it’s compiling files, developing an employee handbook, ensuring legal compliance or myriad other HR tasks, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by it all. Partnering with a professional employer organization (PEO) is a smart strategic solution for many companies, to relieve you of stress-inducing, time-consuming HR duties. And the results have been proven: Businesses that work with PEOs grow seven to nine times faster and have 10 to 14 percent lower turnover. To learn more, contact Lyons HR today.