Any human resources department acts as a sort of nexus for disparate elements within a business organization. The HR team bridges the gap between employees and executives/boards, handles hiring and firing processes, and generally ensures that employees are being treated fairly and that the company is protected from unnecessary internal disruptions like employee disputes, lawsuits, and so on.
In other words, HR has a lot of balls to juggle. In fact, HR plays a vital role in preparing a new company for success and helping to sustain operations in the long term. If the wrong employees are hired; if time sheets and payroll are frequently inaccurate or delayed; if unresolved employee disputes are a regular occurrence; productivity could be compromised as a result.
In many ways, HR is the hub of several departments, and their failures reverberate throughout the corporate structure. Without a strong and successful HR department, a company will suffer serious problems, and it might not survive.
How can you anticipate and avoid costly HR errors that could earn your business a bad reputation and negatively impact operations? Here are a few strategies to put in place.
1. Automate with Oversight
There is no shortage of tools available through human resources software, but one of the best options to date is programs that automate time-consuming HR tasks. For example, many small businesses rely on outdated systems for tracking employee hours, many of which require HR workers to manually manage payroll.
In this day and age, such standards of practice are antiquated and an absurd waste of time. Whether a company switches to digital card readers or goes all out with a biometric time and attendance system that also increases security, there are plenty of ways to automate tracking employee hours and routing information to payroll.
This can save harried HR workers a lot of time and effort, as well as reducing clerical errors. Of course, the HR department is still responsible for oversight. At the very least, they should review reporting for payroll cycles, and they may want to audit the process every so often to ensure mistakes aren’t being made.
2. Integrate Systems
Many of the departments within a company rely on each other, at least to play their role in keeping the company running. However, these departments may rarely have need for contact. HR is basically the middleman between these groups in many scenarios.
This gargantuan task can be simplified dramatically by utilizing software solutions that integrate and cross-reference data from various departments. This makes it possible to track progress and trends, spot areas of waste or overlap, and forecast potential problems before they become major setbacks.
3. Nail Down Hiring Practices
Companies interested in attracting top talent for various positions cannot afford to drag their feet in the hiring process. They need to weed out inappropriate applicants quickly, create a process for quantitative comparison of suitable candidates, and make offers of employment post haste.
This means setting up a speedy hiring process that streamlines interviews, facilitates apples-to-apples reviews, and results in well-informed and successful hiring practices.
4. Create an Employee Handbook
Every company has preferences about how operations should be managed. This goes well beyond basics like following health and safety laws and deciding which executives get private offices.
For example, you probably frown on employee drug or alcohol abuse. Most companies have a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment and discrimination. You probably also don’t want employees coming in late, leaving early, or missing too many days of work.
These are all policies that should be included in an employee handbook, which each employee receives and reviews upon hire as part of the training and onboarding process. When employees are given a handbook and made responsible for reading, understanding, and following the contents, HR’s job of upholding the rules is made much easier.
5. Pay Attention to Changing Laws
Laws regarding business operations change frequently, and HR needs to be aware of them in order to ensure compliance. Whether the federal minimum wage increases, new labor laws are added to the books, or safety and privacy laws are enhanced to encompass advancing technologies, HR workers need to stay abreast of legal changes so the company can avoid errors and continue successful operations.