Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tips to Maximizing your Employees’ Potential - Avoid Common HR Pitfalls

Guest Post by Jodi Pasavad

Hire Slowly – Fire Quickly
The number one way to avoid employee headaches is to hire great people right off the bat.  Unfortunately, most companies don't spend enough time and resources on hiring future employees.  Take the time to screen applicants, conduct first and second interviews, add a practical component to validate their highlighted skills/experience and follow up with references. 

Once you have made the decision that the employment relationship is no longer viable, act fast.  The majority of the time the employee senses that the relationship is off.  Ensure that you adhere to legislative standards but a quick and clean exit is the best practice.

Employment Contracts
A well drafted employment contract is an essential tool to start the employer and employee relationship off on the right foot.  It clearly spells out the rights and obligations of each party, protects the job security of the employee and protects the employer from certain risks such as the release of confidential employer information after the term of employment ends.  No matter what the employment relationship, permanent, contractual etc., a contract is needed and takes the guess work out of terms and conditions.

Employee or Independent Contractor?
On the surface, the question seems rather simple, but it represents one of the “stickiest issues” for business owners.  For taxation and legal purposes, employees must be properly classified.  Employers who improperly classify workers can run into serious penalties with regards to taxes, withholdings and overtime wages.  Key factors to consider are whether the employer has control over the individual's work and provides him or her with the materials or tools needed to complete that work.  If so, the worker will likely be deemed an employee, rather than a contractor.

Don’t Assume – Set Expectations
A few hours spent crafting a solid job description or position outline can prevent countless hours of future hassle.  A candidate may be a wonderful human being and offer impressive skills, however, their skill set must address your needs.  A job description should form the basis of your hiring process, performance management and succession planning process.   

Employees don't come to work wanting to perform badly or not meet expectations.  Putting forth clear accountabilities and deliverables ensures everyone is on the same page.  Job descriptions are an essential managerial tool, they allow your managers to gauge employee performance and provide leverage during counseling or training sessions.  Without them, not only do your employees not know what they're responsible for, your managers don't either.  At the very least this can often lead to imbalanced workloads, employee conflict, and bad attitudes.

Successful On-boarding
Good on-boarding goes far beyond simple orientation programs.  It's a comprehensive training and culture acclimatization system that even small businesses can use to build better employees.  Unfortunately, most businesses don't bother, and as a result employee potential is often wasted.

Document, Document and Document
Make sure your employee's work history is being accurately recorded, this includes everything from performance evaluations and raises, to disciplinary action and requests for time off.  Having the work history documented at the forefront alleviates confusion and provides important evidence to support the company's position if litigation is required, reducing time and money.

Meet Legislative Requirements
Labour and health and safety legislative regulations are consistently changing which falls to the employer to keep up with and implement. Set aside time annually to make sure your HR policies are current and complete.  Keep connected with the Ministry of Labour website or sign up for their electronic publications.  It's your duty to keep on top of new legislation to make sure your business is operating as it should. 

Grassroots HR Services

Grassroots works with companies to increase their productivity and decrease their risk and liability by implementing effective human resources management so companies can focus on their business needs.

Grassroots provides both consultative and on-site human resources services that deliver innovative solutions, practical advice and real results to clients in all areas of human resources management.  

Don’t hesitate to call me, Jodi Posavad, Founder and Senior Consultant, at 905-220-2171.  I would be happy to discuss your HR needs.  

Please visit Grassroots HR website http://www.grassrootshrconsulting.ca

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