Most business owners know that a large part of their success or failure comes from how well they understand their own product or service and its’ market and customer base. However, an often overlooked and potentially more challenging aspect of successful business operations is the employees behind the business.
Even if you feel that you have the best employees possible, employee relations is often challenging simply because of complex labor and employment legislation.
As a small business, it can be invaluable to have a list of HR resources on hand. Of course, there will be times when legal advice or council will be necessary, but you can save yourself a lot of time and expense by simply using the following resources to help you better understand common labor and employment issues for when questions or concerns arise.
The Dept. of Labor
The most obvious place to look for information about labor issues is the U.S. Dept. of Labor. The website is easy to navigate and covers a broad range of topics that frequently concern employers, such as employee wages and workplace rights. Employers can even find information on topics that may not come up very often for most small businesses, such as common issues concerning off-site and mobile workers.
Chamber of Commerce
Check with your local Chamber of Commerce to see if there are any employer workshops, classes, or seminars dealing with HR issues.
Take Advantage of FAQ’s and Blogs Written By The HR Pros
A simple Google search will yield hundreds of professional and reliable HR blogs that offer free advice concerning common HR problems and provide context and easy comprehension to multifarious legal issues. Evil HR Lady and Ask a Manager are two popular HR pro blogs, and they even take reader questions. Something as seemingly simple as a misunderstanding with an employee may seem rather benign if your business has never been affected by it, but even simple misunderstandings can turn into toxic grudges that can impact everything from employee moral to overall productivity, consume a lot of valuable time, and even escalate into an expensive legal matter. Arming yourself with info from the HR pros can help you head off such problems or deal with them in the most efficient, effective way possible.
There are several HR supply companies that provide HR products, supplies, and services. One of the most highly recommended is G. Neil. Here, you will find HR materials, such as their 5-in-1 labor law poster; up-to-date guides on state and federal labor laws concerning hiring, firing, and managing employees; a one-source attendance tracking system; employee skill and personality testing; and an array of training materials.
Monster and Career Builder are two of the most popular job search sites on the internet. Many employers view these job boards as a mere place to fill positions. However, you may be surprised that employers can use these sites to monitor for talent, keep up with wage and industry trends, and connect with industry/job specific community forums.
The Society for Human Resource Management
Here you will find regular updates on pending and implemented employment legislation, a variety of HR legal topics and strategy, HR standards and competency, and conference opportunities. There’s an HR article, tool, and/or video for almost any HR issue you could possibly think up. There’s also an answer center with express answers, a glossary, and “ask an adviser” tool. Do keep in mind that much of the content is free, but members have complete access for a nominal fee.
Their electronic newsletter is free and it filters a multitude of sources to bring business owners industry-relevant news. It’s a wealth of information at your fingertips and takes the work out of digging through source after source to get the information you want or need. So, for example, if you’re looking for information on payroll systems, SmartBrief means that you don’t have to scour through site after site and waste hours on information that may not be relevant to you
Authored By: Rebecca Whiteside. Find more information on human resource information systems at HR Blog.
HR Resources All Small Business Owners Should Have On Hand,