Owning and managing a small business comes with innumerable responsibilities. Having so many things to do often leads to several issues in businesses, including ones related to human resources.
Identifying the issues and finding solutions is the best way to prevent and overcome any challenges that arise.
Read on to find ways to help you overcome human resources issues within your small business.
Get someone else to do it
In small businesses, administrative tasks often are completed by the owner. But payroll, benefits, taxes, policy manuals and other administrative tasks can be extremely time consuming, especially when there is a business to manage.
One option is to outsource administrative tasks to save time and enable owners to focus on their business.
Separate personal from business
It's not uncommon for friends and family to go into business together, but starting a business with people you have a personal relationship with can sometimes lead to problems.
These relationships frequently come with differences in work ethic, varying opinions when it comes to business decisions or even different visions for the company, all of which can create tension in both business and personal relationships.
In larger companies, there are different strategic avenues to help employees deal with their concerns, but in a small business where the employees already have personal relationships it can be much more difficult to sift through those issues.
To help navigate potential pitfalls, make a point of having all parties involved in the business present during meetings about the business. Being open about everyone’s concerns and opinions is the best way to preserve both personal and professional relationships.
There’s a fine line between professional and personal relationships, and defining that line will only serve to benefit the business and the working relationships.
Avoid the micromanagement trap
A human resources issue that affects all businesses, large or small, is the ability of owners to balance both manage and lead their companies.
Small business owners may need to work on a much more granular level than larger organizations, which can blur the lines between managing and leading. Since small business owners are so invested in their company, it’s easy to start micromanaging employees.
I suggest owners ensure they show leadership by clearly communicating their vision to their employees and then funcation as a lighthouse rather than a micromanager.
Learning to balance when to lead and when to manage will make for employees who feel trusted, empowered, and happy.
I have countless book recommendations for people looking to enhance their business, but here are two I recommend to all my mentees at SCORE.
“Good to Great,” by Jim Collins. In this book, Collins says people sometimes create a business plan that has too many priorities. He recommends choosing a few things to focus on and then do them well. Defining clear and measurable business priorities helps business owners focus on what can really change their business for the better.
“Leaders Eat Last,” by Simon Sinek. This book reinforces the idea of servant leadership and creating an environment that inspires employees to do better. Leading from behind is an excellent way to demonstrate to employees that you’re invested in both the organization and the people who help that business run smoothly.
All small businesses run into issues throughout the lifetime of their business, but preparing for them can help turn them into opportunities that can help you flourish.
If your small business is struggling with human resources issues, reach out to SCORE to help you find a mentor who can help.
• Margot Hoerner, a retired human resources executive from Procter & Gamble, is a small business mentor with SCORE Lancaster-Lebanon.