Small business owners are far more likely to be sued by an employee than a large corporation is. This increased risk is due to a few unfair disadvantages experienced by small businesses, specifically the lack of a dedicated human resources department.
Labor laws can be complex. A business owner responsible for running an entire organization doesn’t have time to study them, or the money to outsource this important work. Ensuring these rules and regulations are followed to the letter only becomes more important as a company grows – they serve as a protection for your employees as well as for you and your business.
Having access to a human resources team can protect your business from some of these costly lawsuits, and Bambee wants to help. Here are some basics to help you lay the HR groundwork, and keep your business safe and secure
1. Create a comprehensive employee handbook
This might seem like a daunting task, but putting together an employee handbook is a lot simpler than you’d think with the right support system. A handbook is an indispensible time and money saver in the case of any performance issues down the line.
The employee handbook includes all company policies, and functions as a guide for your team as well as protection for your business in the case of a dispute. Your handbook can be as specific to your organization’s needs as you like. We recommend that it include at least these basic components:
- General standards of workplace conduct
- Anti-discrimination and harassment policies
- Leaves of absence, paid time off, and work schedules
- Compensation and benefits
- Employment at will
Make sure every new hire confirms with a written signature that they have read the handbook completely before their first day on the job.
2. Post required federal and state regulations
This is an easy one to check off the to-do list. Federal and state regulation requires information related to working conditions, hours, wages, and other industry specific laws to be posted and available to employees at all times during the workday. All you have to do is obtain the required signage for your state and business, and make sure it’s posted in a visible spot within your office (it’ll make a great addition to your breakroom!). It’s important for all employees to be aware of regulations, and for your business to have a record of making them public.
You can find more information for your specific state and industry, and order all posters required for your particular business, here.
3. Maintain a physical file of ALL employee documents
Keeping a record for every employee is an HR essential. There are three types of files that must be kept for each member of your team:
The I-9 file verifies employment authorization for anyone hired in the United States. Federal law requires a completed I-9 form to be on file for all employees, and available for inspection at anytime.
The employee medical file contains any information related to an employee’s health or medical history. This includes insurance paperwork, doctor’s notes, disability information, or workers’ compensation incident reports.
The general employee file includes all pertinent documentation exchanged from the initial application through the exit interview – resume, job application, offer letter, signed employee handbook, payroll information, performance evaluations, documentation of any disciplinary action or warnings, and termination documentation.
All employee information is confidential, and should be kept in a secure location only accessible by the business owner.
4. Have an airtight termination process
Terminating an employee is never easy, but it’s especially difficult without a dedicated HR team. As a small business owner you’re not only running every aspect of a business on your own, you’re also likely to be working closely with employees, which can make firings particularly challenging.
Having a dedicated team take up the burden of HR responsibilities can help you establish a process, and avoid mistakes that make your business vulnerable to legal retribution. Bambee helps give small business owners the HR tools to grow and protect their business, so they can get back to running it. Head over to www.bambee.com to see how we can help support your organization in all its human resource needs.