3 HR Must-Haves for Small & Medium Businesses

When you started your business, there was clearly a reason for starting it, and likely a couple of things that you felt were important in how you did business with people – your “non-negotiable’s”.  The “how and why” of doing business with people can directly translate into values, and today these are becoming more important than ever.  Values often become the key differentiator in business and must be for longer-term sustainability and long-term client retention.

  • Clear company values – One of the most critical aspects of putting a good team together is “fit”. You will find that easier to identify potential candidates if you have articulated the values that govern your company. Having a clear understanding of those values will enable you to ask the type of questions in your interviews with potential candidates to uncover their fit with those values.
  • Clear role profiles – You want to hire the right people, but do you know what you want them to do? It’s easy in smaller businesses to overlap roles or to merge several roles into one. There’s nothing wrong with that – but it’s vital that you understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it and what the possible implications on employee performance might be if one or more of the merged roles gets too big. Understanding your business’s organisational design – either currently or where you want to grow to will help you position your roles in line with your organisation strategy and how you want or need them to grow.

It’s not necessary to be overly complex in writing your profiles, but the essential information you would need to define would be:

  • A description of the key deliverables required by the role and each deliverable should be detailed. Ensure that each deliverable is supported by individual tasks to make up that deliverable.  Doing so will provide clear performance expectations and easier performance management.
  • The experience and qualifications required for the role.
  • The personal attributes (or character traits) you expect the ideal person to have. These traits should align with your company values.
  • What good performance for the role looks like – it will be nearly impossible to evaluate performance unless you articulate your expectations of what good performance is.

Having these four fundamental aspects clearly defined will provide you with a role profile that will ensure you bring the right people on board.

  • Clear and candid communication – One of the frustrations that HR practitioners face is interpreting management’s messages to employees. How often have I heard – and said – “why can’t they just say what they mean, or say it in a way that everyone understands”.  It is difficult in corporate organisations where many more layers of management and messages can get lost, mistranslated, or just not given.

However, smaller businesses do not have the same issues that corporations do. While they might share some of the same problems about having poor managers, they have so much more opportunity to ensure that communication throughout the business is straightforward and candid.  Although the CEO or MD should set the overall tone and communication ethic, clear and candid communication is something that everyone can do irrespective of their role.

Whilst there are possibly many more HR Must-Haves, in my mind, these 3 provide a solid foundation for successful growth in small and medium businesses.  Starting your business right, bringing in the right people and giving them a clear understanding of what they need to do, coupled with clear and candid communication, is a winning recipe that will provide a robust framework for future growth.

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