When business owners and entrepreneurs establish their companies, their main challenge is to survive. This means that they have to focus on sales and cash flow first and foremost to stay in business.
Because of this, Human Resource is often placed as low priority. Aside from the initial hiring of people and computing for salaries, the business owner tends to move on, busy operating the business and solving problems encountered on a daily basis.
This may go on for years until the business owner gets burnt out and realizes that one of the best ways to improve sales, to make your company run smoothly and to avoid having to keep on solving problems is by professionalizing your business through good Human Resource practice.
Like many business owners, I went through this. My partners and I were too busy micro-managing our business to the point of exhaustion. As a result, we encountered many problems within our company and we couldn’t make the business fly at the start. That was until we focused on HR. Once we developed the HR side of our business, sales got better and our people became equipped to solve day-to-day problems, allowing us to take a breather and work on other important matters in our business.
So here are the seven keys that I have learned to professionalize your business through HR…
HR as Strategic Partner
Fortunately for my partners and me, we realized in time that HR is not just about computing for tardiness or absences and preparing the payslip. Instead, HR is a terrific tool for business progress. HR can and should be used by businesses as a way to make important changes in the company and to improve the effectiveness of each employee.
Through HR’s help, leading the company towards the direction that you want to take it is easier. You’ll be able to manage people better if you don’t just look at HR as just a transactional department, but instead look at it as a strategic partner.
Every time we have a new product, a new system or new division that we want to introduce, we include HR input into the mix because it is critical to our success.
Develop Your HR System
Many functions of HR are repetitious and transactional. To save on time and effort, our company created an HR operation manual and toolkit that has a complete compilation of templates, letters and contracts that we may need in our business. This way, every time there’s a new employee or there’s a disciplinary action that we need to take, we don’t have to start from scratch to do the paperwork. The collection of HR forms and templates are now available for HR Club premium and lifetime members. (link here)
We consciously designed a system for Human Resource that guides us in processing the regular needs of each employee. Due to this system, we found more time to focus on creative programs that motivated our team and increased morale.
Let the Law Work for You
Every business owner and entrepreneur should know the basics of the Philippine Labor Code. I attended the extensive seminar on Labor Law that was being offered publicly by our training company and found it very useful.
One of our trainers mentioned that the Labor Code was designed to protect employees since that is the mandate of the Department of Labor and Employment. But upon studying it, I realized that it also serves to protect the interest of business owners, as well.
By knowing the law and being guided with knowledge, it makes it easier to run your business. The Labor Code provides specific guidelines on leaves, separation pays, etc. All you have to do is know it and follow it, then you should be able to avoid labor problems and complaints. My two-days of learning saved our company from expensive lawsuits and it was worth the time and effort to learn it.
Recruit the Right People
If you want capable people running your business, the solution is finding the right people for the job and your company. This includes job and value fit—the process of hiring people with the right skills set, but also a value system that matches that of your company culture.
When you find the right people who have the ability to stay in your company for a long-time, you’ve hit the jackpot. The reason why I am able to work from home when I choose to is because we have very good people that I can rely on at work. This is why I personally manage recruitment in our company. It’s not easy finding the one, but once you’ve found him or her, life becomes so much easier.
Train Your People
Once you’ve found the right people, training must be done continuously and regularly. As soon as we hire people, we give them an orientation about the company, basic sales and customer service training and product knowledge training. Aside from this, they get trained on the job and get additional training on skills needed for the job.
The key to have a professional team is to invest in professional training. And this should be done on a regular basis so that they do not forget what they have learned and the training can adapt to the changing needs of the company.
This is probably one of the most difficult areas of people management. Many Business Managers and HR practitioners have asked, “How do I correct my staff without hurting her feelings?”, “How do I discipline a habitually erring employee?”, “How do I fire someone the legal way?”.
If you have been in business long enough, employee discipline is something that every manager, whether specializing in HR or not, should master. It is something that you will have to do time and time again.
Interestingly, there’s a legal, humane and professional way of doing it. Do learn about the many styles available and prepare yourself to avoid grief and heartaches.
Recognize and Reward
Having great programs that reward employees with sufficient compensation and benefits are very important if you want your people to stay with you for a long time. Balancing it with how much you can afford to give and making sure that your employees remain grateful is the challenge.
There are many companies who offer great compensation and benefits, but I noticed that sometimes, employees take it for granted or become “spoiled”. So instead of becoming a positive HR program, it becomes counter-productive.
It is therefore critical to present programs in a way that people will appreciate. It is important to let your people know that you are taking care of them, so that they can take care of the business.
By focusing on these things, you will be on your way to having a professional and successful business.
Note: This article was originally published at Manila Bulletin Newspaper.
Jhoanna O. Gan-So is president of Businessmaker Academy and HR Club Philippines. Her organization offers public seminars and in-house training on Human Resource Management and Business Skills Development. You may email your comments and questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org