11/02/13 By Jennifer Brown

3D Check BoxAs a business owner, you have LOTS to do, and it can be overwhelming at times. However, it is critical to avoid HR mistakes that can take you away from focusing on growing your business. Here are 8 key mistakes to avoid in your business:

1. Inadequate business insurance.
The minute you add an employee, you need to have workers compensation and employment practices liability insurance. Accidents and injuries will happen on the job (even if you are in an office environment) and employees may try to sue you for something such as wrongful termination. It is important to have the proper business insurance in place to protect you and your business.

2. Not knowing the employment-related laws that apply to your business.
There are federal, state-specific, and even local (e.g., county) laws that will apply to your business. Also, your industry may have certain rules and regulations. For example, Federal Contractors must comply with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). It is important to know the employment-related laws that apply to your business.

3. Paying employees too much or too little.
You need to know what your competition is paying for positions similar to the ones you are offering. Otherwise, you may not be able to attract and keep your employees or you may be spending money that you don’t need too.

4. Not offering benefits that are meaningful to your employees. 
Similar to knowing what your competition is paying employees, it is important to know what benefits they are offering. Benefits are an important part of an employee’s decision to join or leave your team and they can be expensive. You want to ensure you implement benefits that are important to your employees while managing your budget.

5. Leaving new employees to fend for themselves.
Nothing is worse for a new employee than arriving to work on their first day and finding out that no one is there to greet them or get them oriented. Be sure to have an agenda for at least the employee’s first week and spend the time to properly train and orient them to your company. Otherwise, you may end up with an unproductive employee or a new employee who immediately leaves.

6. Not addressing employee concerns immediately.
Employee concerns that go unattended have a high chance of turning into something bigger (a.k.a lawsuits). Take the time to listen to an employee’s concerns, conduct any needed investigations, work with the employee to improve the situation, and document the actions you have taken. Often these steps will prevent a bigger problem from occurring.

7. Not having HR systems and processes in place.
HR can be very manually intensive, it is important to create efficient, repeatable, and compliant processes using standard templates for things such as job descriptions, offer letters, progressive discipline, checklists, and spreadsheets to keep you on track and save you time.

8. Treating employees poorly.
Many HR problems are avoided by always treating applicants and employees with fairness, respect, and kindness – no matter the situation. Strong relationships are one of the best ways to prevent costly and harmful problems within your business.

By avoiding these mistakes your business will save considerable money, time, and energy!

YOUR TURN: What steps have you taken to avoid HR problems? How have they helped you?


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Jennifer Brown is the founder of PeopleTactics LLC, she is devoted to helping small business owners implement solutions to prevent Human Resources problems that drain them of their time, money, and energy. Jennifer works with small businesses in order to help them build stronger employee relationships, understand and comply with employment laws, establish policies, and set up easy-to-use HR systems to consistently avoid problems.

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