Human Resources Solutions for Your Small Business
By: Angie Mansfield
Your small business may not have room for a full-time HR professional, which can leave both you and your employees frustrated.
On the other hand, your company may be growing past the point where it makes sense to handle HR duties on your own.
Here are a few ways you can handle HR tasks effectively, and keep everyone happy.
Ensuring Legal Requirements are Met
Before deciding on a plan for HR duties in your company, it's a good idea to consult with an HR consultant. This person should know the legal requirements for such things as benefits and anti-discrimination policies, and can help you put a plan in place to keep things running smoothly.
Going it Alone
If you only have an employee or two, you may not be able to justify hiring someone to handle HR tasks. In that case, you'll have to tackle the job on your own.
There are some basic tasks you'll have to perform as your own HR department. You'll need to keep employee files (and keep them secure), come up with an employee handbook with company policies, and post legally required notices (such as worker's comp posters).
You also have to keep payroll and benefits records, and make sure everyone gets paid on time. This can become a Catch-22, since you don't have the budget to hire a full-time HR professional...but you also don't have time to handle all the administrative tasks and run your business.
Read related content:
- What HR is Missing, Sales & Marketing Already Knows
- Three Reasons You Should Have a Leadership Program
- Is Talent Management Really HR's Job?
- Bring Back the 'Human' in Human Resources
Outsourcing your HR duties to an outside vendor can be a great solution to your problem.
Before taking this option, however, you need to come up with clear goals to define what you need from an HR professional. Will the HR firm be just your payroll, or will they take care of benefits administration and employee recruitment, too?
Whatever part of the HR duties you decide to outsource, be careful about selecting the HR person or firm you work with. Especially if they will be handling your money for payroll purposes, check their references and make sure you'll want to deal with them long-term.
Hiring an HR Manager
Has your company grown to the point where you're spending more on staff resources to cover HR duties than it would cost to hire a human resources manager? Here are a few tips on finding the right person for the job:
- Come up with a detailed job description -- especially if you've been sharing HR duties with your employees. This job description may include coming up with employee policies, administering benefits and incentive plans, and overseeing the hiring and firing process.
- As with outsourcing, it's important to check references on your HR management candidates. This step is often overlooked, but can save you major headaches.
- If you're overwhelmed by the task of finding a qualified HR professional, you can use employment services or hiring consultants to help you hire the right person for the job.
As your company grows and you hire more employees, properly managing human resources tasks will become even more important.
With some preparation and the right help, you can keep things running smoothly.
About the Author: Angie Mansfield writes on a range of business topics for a variety of websites, includingReputation.com.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.