8am on a Monday morning, the small business owner is at work and only a small percentage of the work force in the mall have arrived. Manager calls staff and excuses range from “the rains have flooded the streets”, to no transport, traffic, etc.
Small business owners rarely have a HR team in place as they typically have less than 50 employees. This may mean there are no policies in place to deal with tardiness, absenteeism, misconduct at work or even just the monitoring and implementation of said policies.
Yet small businesses have the unique opportunity of being close to the end users of their product and services so the employees they have must be shaped to represent the business. Human Resources are guided by policies and procedures and small business owners can generate theirs without consultants.
How can you achieve this without spending loads of money?
- Write it down – First of all the small business owner should write out what the business represents or is trying to achieve (its mission). How the employees are expected to behave (attitudes, values,) and what will not be tolerated (what constitutes misconduct); include how you expect them to dress (if applicable). This can be written down in a simple exercise book or A4 paper.
- Make it a legal document – once all the above has been identified type it up and have it as part of your orientation documentation which your staff will read and sign. You as the business owner should also sign it and this forms part of the employee and employer contract.
- Orientation- once you have gone through the recruitment process and you have selected the employees please take some time on that day to speak to the employee on the above. Explain your mission, vision and expectations and you both sign the document. This can be delegated to a manager but preferably with the business owner.
This in the simplest terms marks the beginning of a staff policy manual. As employees increase and business expands you begin to incorporate more detailed information; pensions, health insurance and other statutory requirements.
Staff engagement begins with the staff policy manual and even if you have one employee it’s important to define expectations of personnel at your place of business.
Sylvia Maduka MBA, Leics., CIPM