Five Essential HR Tools & Processes for Small Businesses

November 3, 2014

Five Essential HR Tools & Processes for Small Businesses

There’s so much to do when it comes to HR. But in our opinion, the following processes, techniques, tips and features of HR software are the bits you simply cannot live without!

1.      Up-to-date documents
If your letters, documents and contracts are not all up-to-date, correct and in-line with what is legally compliant, you may not be safeguarding your business against serious issues. Of course, commissioning lawyers to do all of this for you can be expensive and confusing – which is why we’re fans of “Business-In-A-Box” type packages that are cost-effective and accurate.

2.      Absence & Holiday/Vacation Management System
Whether you’re tracking attendance on spreadsheets (not recommended!) or using the latest and greatest HR software, the worst thing you can do is nothing. Employees need to take time off, whether for a rest or due to sickness, so if you’re not tracking what is happening you could easily end up with a bombsite of a payroll that doesn’t reflect hours worked, or even employees taking more holidays (or not enough) than they’re entitled.

Tip: If you don’t want to get the most effective HR software, there are plenty of free tools that will make do for just a handful of employees, like Google Calendar – remember to assign the right security levels of course, and colour-code things for ease of browsing. If you need something more complex however like casual staff or zero hour contracts, HR software that can handle this should really be a priority.

3.      Central Employee Database
You shouldn’t do anything without a central record containing all of your individual employee details. Not only does this help you to comply with certain aspects of the law (such as proving you’ve checked Right To Work information and Background Checks), but it keeps things like emergency contact details in one easy place. You can also use your central employee database for tracking basic attendance, absence, salary and training.

Remember: An effective employee database should be secure and accessible form anywhere in case you’re not in the office. A cloud-based HR system will usually be designed for any device and browser, but if you’re on a super-tight budget you could also opt for something like Dropbox or Google Docs – great collaborative tools, though their ability is somewhat limited.

4.      Appraisals and Performance Management
If you want to manage a productive, loyal workforce then it’s important to schedule regular appraisals and pay reviews, as well as have a system for checking performance and making sure there are no training gaps. You can manage simple appraisals in your calendar, but make sure to plan these well in advance.

5.      Employee Policies and Procedures
Giving your employees access to the latest company handbooks, health and safety policies, expenses forms etc, is key to promoting confidence in your employer brand. If you are not yet ready to invest in a modern HR system for small businesses that will let you do this, then you could consider a central shared dropbox folder or even Google Drive.

Now, I know you are busy enough, so we’ll leave it there – but if you think I missed any good ones, you’re welcome to comment below.

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