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  • Writer's pictureAmber Vanderburg

HR Guidelines Every Business Owner Should Know

Welcome to the wonderful world of Human Resources! Y'all have made it to the home of Toby from The Office! You have made it to the place of paperwork and processes and paperwork and processes and a little bit of paperwork and few more processes. You have made it to the world of grievances and firing and counselings! Who is excited to complete their HR functions for their company today?!

It’s true, HR sometimes gets a bad wrap. With our technicalities and complexities it can be pretty overwhelming. Let's simplify HR so that it is more easily understood, valued, and dare I say fun?

I’ve worked in HR in a variety of different capacities and I’ve found that no matter the industry, HR can be broken down into four basic functions.

HR can be broken down into 4 simple functions.

1. Build your team (Recruitment)

2. Value your team (Compensation and Benefits)

3. Develop your team (People Development)

4. Retain your team (Employee Relations)

Build Our Team

“Great vision without great people is irrelevant.” – Jim Collins, Good to Great

What are the values of your organization? Imagine your ideal work place. What does your email inbox look like? What does the water cooler conversations look like? How are meetings run? Who is in this team? Have your standard? Good.

Hire hard, lead easy. Be protective of who you allow inside of your family.

In building a team, you are building a culture. Culture is a widely overused term so I simply define culture as the personality of the team. Culture happens no matter what. A company with a toxic manipulative backstabbing culture has a culture the same way a supportive, progressive, family-like culture has a culture. The difference is the intentionally with which a team, organization, and values are built. You have the ability to be intentional and impact the culture of your team and organization.

The team you build will shape the culture of your workplace. Author and thinker, Pat Lencioni, outlines three key factors to look for in any potential hire. These factors are the qualities that I sought in my players as a coach and are used in the hiring methods of stellar organizations such as the Ramsey Solutions and The Table Group. Are they humble? Are they hungry? Are they smart?

In other words: Are they trainable? Do they want to be trained? Are they capable of being trained? With this criteria, you can build a championship winning team in your HR role.

Value Your Team

Team value is often broken down into compensation and benefits.

Determining the most fair and equitable pay can be challenging. I would recommend taking a look at three main factors: the industry, the organization, and the position. By assessing the market value you can place an accurate anchor on your wages which will help prevent undershooting wages to stiff your team or overshooting wages to stiff your budget for growth.

There are encyclopedias worth of benefit options that you can provide to your team. Laundry service, full service cook, daycare, gym membership, on site masseuse, tuition reimbursement, casual Fridays, casual everyday, 401K, life insurance, health, dental, vision…the list goes on and on.

With this daunting task of choosing what benefits to have it is important to first assess the need and use. Should you offer a stellar 401K? In high school and college I was the head lifeguard for a group of community pools, 98% of this organization's work force was under the age of 18. Did they really value a 401K? Not really. Did they want free passes for their friends to come to the pool. Oh yeah! Find what benefits works and then let your employees know!

I was at a large organization that had a full time on site counselor to help their teams cope with high anxiety and stress. This was a wonderful service except few knew where the onsite counselor's office was located and many didn't know that a counseling service was offered.

Ask what benefits are wanted and needed and then communicate the benefits offered.

People Development

When you are not growing you are dying -William Burroughs

An NFL coach can recruit the best players, pay them well, and then let them show up every fall Sunday and play games. Their previous experience and education will allow them to perform adequately. But will they win the Superbowl? Probably not.

It is senseless to recruit the best players and pay them well but cease investment and development. The coaching continues. The practice continues. The growth continues. Improvement and progress towards a championship. If you don't develop your team, they will not be ready come game time.

This can come with a slew of options such a mentor programs, continuing education, cross training opportunities, and professional development participation.

Richard Branson famously instructs us to "train people well enough that they can leave, treat them well enough that they don't want to." Train your team to exceed expectations and give them opportunities to grow.

Keep Your Team

Retention begins with culture. Retention ends with culture. HR has the opportunity to create a culture that is fun and engaging and awesome and feels like a healthy family. But families fight.

Keeping your team can involve tough conversations. You have the responsibility to represent and speak up for your team. Those that have the ability to speak have the responsibility to speak.

Sometimes this means helping team members be successful inside of the organization, sometimes this means inviting team members to be successful elsewhere. Document everything. If it is not written down then it didn't happen in many HR matters. Write every thing down to hold yourself and your organization accountable to the high standards agreed upon by the company. Accountability, fairness, guidance...these are all good things to protect the organizational family and culture. These crucial conversations are tough but necessary for the good of the employees, the team, and the organization.

Why HR?

Why Human Resources? Because if you can achieve your dreams all by yourself, then you are not dreaming big enough. Build a team to accomplish a big, hairy, audacious goals. Value the people in your team and then build them up to be better and exceed expectations. Train them well enough to leave and treat them well enough that they don't want to.

HR is an exciting opportunity to have a profound impact on peoples life. The success of organizations begin here. HR might be a land of paperwork and crucial conversations but it also the place where you can be the superhero and the ninja. This is where you build your team, you value them, you develop them, and you keep a rock solid family. 

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