Our #MicrobizUS community recently discussed HR Challenges that small businesses face and shared tips on what to do about them. Our chat guest Sharon DeLay is the Founder and President of GO-HR, a full-service HR consulting business in Columbus. It works mainly with microbusinesses, doing everything from hiring to firing employees, and all Human Resource Management services that fall in between. You can’t “Go” without HR.
Sharon is also the co-host of The Successful Micropreneur Podcast with Mary McCarthy, and has done many podcast episodes including Are Chronically Late Entrepreneurs More Successful and How To Overcome Imposter Syndrome.
You can participate in our #MicrobizUS Twitter chats on Wednesdays at 2pm EST on our @microbizpodcast page or by searching the hashtag #MicrobizUS
Q1: A microbusiness is a small business with 20 or fewer employees, including the solopreneur. Does a microbusiness need HR? Why or why not?
Q2: What do you think the top “HR” issues are for a microbusiness owner?
Top HR issues mentioned: Employer/friend relationship, hiring (mistakes), inadequate policies and documentation, and firing without due process.
Q3: Microbusinesses invest in outsourced IT, outsourced bookkeeping, and even outsourced legal help. Why don’t they invest in HR?
Sharon DeLay points out that Human Resources tends to deal with issues reactively, not proactively. And, that it’s often not obvious to business owners how HR contributes to their company’s bottom line. Leyla says most microbusinesses, probably think they don’t need HR because they are small, and it’s just a unnecessary cost. Isobel believes human resources is seen as secondary to IT, which a business does see the importance of funding.
Q4: What are some of the danger zones when it comes to “do-it-yourself” HR for a business owner?
We discussed the dangers of “do it yourself” HR: hiring, knowing what to put into writing and what NOT to, and really outdated handbooks! It can be such a stress relief for business owners (small business, microbusiness, all sizes) to have experts in place who know how to do a job properly, and avoid fines and lawsuits later!
Q5: What is the most frustrating thing about HR (whether you do it yourself or outsource it)? Why?
Some of the HR frustrations we discussed were keeping up with ever-changing rules, firing when you need to let go of a relative or friend, and resentment if you are an owner and the person who hires, fires, and replaces employees. Also, businesses sometimes view human resources as a “money taker, not a money maker” as Sharon points out.
Q6: What can a microbusiness do to be more attractive (and competitive) to current and potential employees?
There were a lot of great examples of things microbusinesses can do to be more attractive to potential employees. Creative benefits such as flexible hours, working from home, bring your dog to work perks were mentioned. There are so many non-traditional benefits that smaller businesses can offer, without spending a lot of money. Sharon DeLay has shared this list in her podcast, Benefits Millennials Really Want (and you need to offer!) Brooke believes its easier to create a strong culture in a microbusiness, where it may seem phony or “forced” in a bigger company. She recommends a detailed description of your company’s mission in your job description when hiring employees.
Q7: How can microbusinesses demonstrate appreciation for their employees without going bankrupt?
So many great answers to this one! Money is not the only way to show your employees that you appreciate them. Communicate with them and learn what motivates them the most. Evelyn Van Til values respect, trust, and open communications. Tom Orr says small gestures like half-days on summer Fridays and buying lunch for your staff can mean a lot. HinterBrands recommends building a culture of appreciation. Leyla says Life/Work balance is big. And a simple THANK YOU can be wonderful to hear!
Q8: How can an HR resource help a business grow?
HR can help a microbusiness grow by helping employers identify incentives their employers actually want, prepare for changes ahead, and identify potential issues before they become bigger problems. There’s also the savings of avoiding lawsuits and fines, making smarter hiring decisions, developing better HR policies, and helping businesses focus on career development and employee training.
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