As a home services professional, you’re dedicated to caring for your customers and growing your business. And like most small to medium-sized companies, human resources probably falls on a few select employees. In fact, 70% of small business owners trust their office staff to handle human resources tasks and their other work.
However, you might consider outsourcing HR functions to take the load off you and your team. This guide gives tips on managing HR at your company and how Scorpion can help you do it better.
What Is HR?
Human resources (HR) refers to the tasks and processes used to manage your employees. Large companies likely have a whole HR team whose jobs are to find the right people to fill new roles. They can also spend time helping current employees be more productive in their jobs.
But smaller companies, like those in home services, often don’t have the time or staff to manage every HR function. The office usually runs well until an emergency pops up. The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. You have access to human resources tools for small businesses that will help you manage these functions to help you make employees happier with their jobs.
HR outsourcing lets you shift some human resources tasks outside your company, including:
- Career development
- Employee engagement
- Employee retention
- Employee training
- Finding new employees
- Payroll and benefits management
Why Human Resources for Small Business Matters
A solid human resources plan gives you the tools you need to recruit and hire the best employees for your company, bettering your chances for success. Having the right professionals on your side who understand the best recruiting practices for home services can help you compete with larger companies.
Job seekers have more access to information than ever before. They can look into your business and read reviews before applying for a job. You can find better applicants each time a new position opens if the interview and hiring process is simplified.
Today’s employees are interested in good employee benefits and a rewarding job. Many want access to training and career development. You probably opened your home services business because you like helping people, but you might not have experience creating a workplace that your staff will love.
HR outsourcing gives you what you need to build a great business. It can help you offer career development and other opportunities that make staff members happy to work for you. Employees who aren't satisfied are more likely to leave your company for a new job. Instead of stressing about managing your employees, you can shift the heavy lifting to a professional service company.
Knowing What To Do
Ignoring less essential HR duties can open you up to mishaps later on. It's common for a small business owner to make mistakes like misclassifying their workers. Knowing the broad range of HR tasks helps you shine online. Business owners who understand what makes their company special can go after the best employees. This brief human resources manual gives you an overview of what you need to know about human resources for small businesses.
Clearly State Your Policies
Employees like to know what to expect at work, but many small business owners don’t have clear policies in place. Each new hire should get a employee handbook with clear rules about employee conduct. Let your employees know how they should treat each other and your customers.
Your HR manual should have policies for social media, drug and alcohol policies, attendance and paid time off, company holidays, rules around personal phone calls during the day, and anything else that impacts the workday. Some of these rules may seem like common sense, but writing them down protects you if you need to write an employee up for violating a company policy.
If you expect your technicians to spend time each month learning new skills, or if you want them to upsell products and services to customers, outline these rules in the employee manual.
Always Think About Hiring
If you’re like other small business owners, you might not be ready to hire as soon as someone leaves the company. Hiring on the fly can lead you to rush your decisions. You might need to fill a job as quickly as possible, so you hire the first person who seems qualified without considering how they fit into your culture.
When you're always thinking of the type of person you want to hire instead of waiting until you have a position to fill, you put yourself in a better place to find good employees. You can figure out how you stand out against other home services companies and look for experienced applicants who fit in with you and your other employees. You can also write better job descriptions to find people with the right experience.
The pressing need for a new hire can tempt you to skip some critical tasks like reference checks. Someone might be great at interviewing, only to fall flat when it comes to the actual job. Taking time and effort during hiring helps you weed out people who might not perform as well as others. You can take a little extra time to talk to references and do background checks.
You might use a generic description for more than one job post when you need to hire fast. But you’re more likely to hire the right person for each job when their role is outlined, and they know what you expect.
For example, you might expect your office manager to be responsible for payroll and bookkeeping along with managing other administrative staff. But if you don’t put this in the job posting, you might end up with a string of applicants who aren’t qualified for these duties.
Learn How To Do Onboarding
Onboarding and training are some of the most critical HR functions. You want to bring your new employees up to speed without impacting the quality of your work. But they also need to spend some time learning your rules and expectations and filling out paperwork.
Outsourcing HR technology lets you automate this process, so it’s quicker and more efficient. Having standards in place helps move new hires through the process, and you don’t have to worry about missing paperwork that could delay payroll and benefits.
Map out your current process for new hires, including all tasks and paperwork. Write down what you do for each new employee and how long the process takes. If you can, make a list of frequently asked questions and include it in your employee manual.
Make sure new people know who they need to see to ask questions and handle issues that may arise. Outline what you want each employee to learn in their first week, month, six months, etc. These guidelines might not work for everyone, but they can help you speed up onboarding and training.
Protect People’s Privacy
Small home services companies give employees a chance to work closely with their co-workers. Your employees are probably friendly enough to chat freely with each other about their lives, but take care to protect critical information.
Tell new hires how you will keep their personal information private in your employee manual. You know well enough to protect social security numbers and other information that could lead to identity theft. Make sure you can safeguard additional details as well, including interview notes, performance reviews, pay rates, and anything else your employees want to keep quiet.
Have a Clear Process for Complaints
When you work hard to build a culture that your employees enjoy, you might not consider HR complaints, but you should have a process for filing and dealing with them. Give people someone to talk to or offer an “open door” policy, so they know you’ll address them if they have concerns.
Giving staff a place to air their worries and having a plan of action to resolve them helps them feel valued, making them happier in their jobs.
Keep Good Records
If you find yourself having to discipline an employee, put it in writing. Many states have an “at-will” employment law meaning you or your employee can terminate employment at any time. Other states have different employment laws and guidelines.
In general, it’s a good idea to document any performance issues. That way, you are more protected if someone tries to argue that they were let go without cause. It’s also essential to document positive employee reviews. That way, you can look back and see how much progress you made on any development plans or action items in place.
Using Labels Is Important, Even Though Nobody Likes Labels
Your employees need to be classified correctly to stay in compliance with tax laws and other regulations. As a home services company, you might use contractors or temporary workers to fill in for technicians when they’re out of the office.
Or you might use temps during busier seasons. Ensure all your employees are classified as full-time, part-time, contract, exempt, non-exempt, or other classification. Each employee's duties and hours need to match their classification, or you might not comply with local and federal regulations. Talk to an employment lawyer or another HR professional if you have questions.
What Outsourcing HR Can Do for You
If you’re not ready to invest a lot of money in a consulting firm, you can use technology like that offered at Scorpion to manage human resources. Whether you’re doing HR yourself or have turned it over to your office team, Scorpion’s technology gives you a more efficient way to recruit, develop, and retain employees.
Use this technology to boost your HR skills, making hiring and training more accessible, and improving morale to keep your best employees for the long haul. Here are some ways you can use technology, including Scorpion offerings, to level up your HR.
If you’re using spreadsheets, printed documents, and a mix of software to manage onboarding and training, shifting to an app or other cloud-based technology can improve your business. Employee management software gives them one place to log in and access employee manuals, payroll documents, timesheets, notes from managers, etc.
You can also make onboarding more efficient by adding all forms, manuals, and frequently asked questions into the platform. They can easily navigate between documents during orientation and ask questions. Once each new hire has finished the process, you can have their data moved into their personnel file and automatically submit the proper forms to payroll.
Housing Common Forms
In their first week, your employees fill out a mountain of forms. If you’re like a lot of small business owners, these forms live in a filing cabinet until it’s time to file taxes. HR software lets you put all of these employee documents in one spot.
You can keep tax forms, records, pay stubs, resumes, review summaries, medical forms, and other documents in one place. Since they will live in the cloud, you don’t have to worry about offsite storage for paper files or a server, and you can quickly track down forms when you need them instead of sifting through multiple folders.
Improving Employee Productivity
You can use HR technology to manage daily tasks and long-term action items like continuing education and other development activities.
As a home services business, you and your staff work in person. You might not need to consider how working from home impacts your company culture. Although if you do let some of your staff work remotely, HR management software gives your employees a chance to connect like they would in the office.
One of the most challenging parts of running a business is finding the right employees. Every person running a business has their method of applicant tracking. Whether you’re using a spreadsheet, a notebook, or another system, you need to keep track of who has applied to open jobs, along with interview notes and other information.
HR software lets you keep all this information in one place. You can add notes on various applicants if you need to refer to them later. Some HR software allows you to post and manage listings on multiple job boards.
When you're hiring, you’re marketing your company to potential employees. Anyone applying for a job at your company is likely looking through your LinkedIn page, customer reviews, and other employee reviews as they are available. With the internet, these resources are easy to find.
HR software helps you see yourself online the way new employees would. You can put your best foot forward to attract new hires. Your social networks also help you when it’s time to recruit. Use apps like LinkedIn and Facebook to post jobs and let people know you’re hiring.
Some HR management platforms let you post on social media and job boards through the app. You can also use these tools to manage your memberships and track different hiring events, job fairs, and more. Seeing all your hiring activities in one place gives you a better picture of what to improve to attract talented employees.
Maintaining Employee Manuals
If the thought of writing an employee manual makes your head spin, you can outsource this HR task. Some human resources management platforms have templates and outlines you can use to create your employee manual.
You can reference these when writing policies and procedures to make sure you’re compliant with regulations in your industry. HR specialists can help you write policies to cover employee safety, benefits, compensations, review structure, codes of contact, work schedules, and more. Have your manual reviewed by a legal professional to make sure you haven’t missed anything when you're done.
Depending on the size of your business, you might already be outsourcing your payroll. It’s essential to use an experienced person for this function because deductions and withholdings can get complicated. Using HR software can help your employees manage payroll in one place, and many of them are easy to integrate with QuickBooks and other standard financial software.
Building Your Team
As a business owner, you care about your employees and want them to connect. With HR technology, you can schedule employee outings, promote health and wellness resources, and provide other resources that show you’re dedicated to their wellbeing.
Integrate your software with your company’s schedule to find a time to close the office and take your team out for a bonding experience. Or use it to make sure you have coverage when one of your team members wants to attend a professional development activity.
Other Human Resource Management Practices To Consider
Outsourcing HR can help save you time to focus on customer care and finding new customers. Only you can create a fun, supportive office that attracts the best employees. Use these tips to strengthen your company’s culture.
Know Your Vision
You know why you decided to start your home services business, but your employees might not. Have a clear vision for your company and share it with employees. Whatever your mission, make sure your employees know it.
Lead by Example
If you value helping people improve their careers by continuing their education, show them by going to conferences and classes yourself. Give staff the resources they need to learn new skills, find mentors, or go to school to move up in the industry.
Celebrate the Positives
When your business is busy, it’s easy to get stressed and forget to recognize your employees. Take some time to reward the people who make your business thrive. Give them chances to celebrate with each other. When something good happens in your company, announce it in the office and on social media.
Maybe you reached your 100th customer. You could celebrate a new technician who moves on from apprentice to journeyman. Or you can give a prize to someone who lives your company values. Whatever it is, make sure everyone is included and regularly point out the positives on your team.
Recognizing your employees helps make them feel valued.
Sponsoring local events and giving back to local charities helps spread the word about your business to anyone in the community which also supports that event. But it also creates a positive experience for your employees. Giving back helps them know that you value others and value them.
You don’t have to force people to volunteer or participate, but you can involve employees in other ways. Have them develop ideas about who to sponsor and what they can do to help fundraise for various causes.
Building a solid culture makes your company a desirable place to work. Take some time to figure out your mission. Use it to create your company culture. Then you can find employees whose vision matches yours.