- Equal employment opportunity laws and hiring
- Compensation, performance appraisals, and discipline
- Work-life balance
- Working with recruiting agencies
- Outsourcing HR to ASOs and PEOs
Together, these five posts give you a crash course in preparing an HR strategy. In this post, we will refer back to these as we walk you through the creation of an HR strategy.
What Is Your Business?
The best HR strategy for you depends on what kind of business you are. Factory workers require different treatment than accountants or programmers. Tellers require different treatment from loan officers or market analysts. Stock brokers and car salespeople may both be paid on commission, but they require completely different treatment. The best HR strategy for you will largely depend upon your business. You need to plan your strategy around the type of work your employees will be doing for you.
Different types of work should be motivated in different ways. For example, a mass production line is best served by a mixture of salary and bonus pay that awards both quantity and quality. A consulting job is best paid based on how efficient the employee is at producing effective solutions. High creativity jobs (like software engineering) are often best left to salary, with occasional bonuses given for brilliant ideas with high ROIs. Some jobs have elements of two of these categories and require specialized approaches. You can see how your type of business affects compensation strategy.
What Are Your Needs?
Next, you need to look at your company’s organization. There are various ways to handle human resources. You’re probably looking to outsource your HR if you’re reading this blog, so we’ll skip in-house management. When outsourcing your HR, you need to choose between an Administrative Services (ASO) approach and a Professional Employer (PEO) approach. ASOs handle your HR concerns for you as if they were your HR department. PEOs actually hire your employees from you and then lend them back to your company. There are advantages and disadvantages to each that we talked about in a previous blog post. The best approach for you will depend largely on your industry, your workforce, and your in-house administrative expertise.
Who Do You Want to Work for You?
There are plenty of laws about equal opportunity hiring practices, so we’re not talking about broad categories here. Clearly, you want a diverse workforce. However, you also want a workforce where everyone is on the same page. Each business has an organizational culture, and you need your employees to fit into that culture. Writing down the character traits you want in an employee will help you and your HR partner choose employees that will fit in well. What is your company’s balance between employee independence and standardization? What are your communication protocols? Where do you stand on formality vs. informality in the workplace? What ethical philosophy does your company follow? These are all factors that will make or break an employee relationship.
What Policies are Sane?
Every set of policies has unintended consequence. Every set of policies sets up a perverse incentive or two. We can help you avoid these real and damaging pitfalls to company policies. Setting policies around high output levels without also controlling quality can lead to a lot of substandard products. Paying your employees a percentage of their sale can mean lots of damaging high-pressure tactics that will lose you customers if unchecked. Requiring supervisor permission for too many things may lead your employees to seek permission for everything. Expecting your employees to produce a first draft with little or no guidance may result in a lot of “reverse delegation.”
Whenever you create a personnel policy, you need to look at possible ways it could backfire. Throw ethics out the window for a minute and think self-interest: what does a given policy encourage you to do? Oops, not what you wanted! An HR firm like can help you notice these problems before they happen. We can help you keep your policies sane, plain, and humane so that your employees will react the way you expect them to and work will progress unhindered.
Where Do You Draw the Line?
Employee discipline is a critical part of employee management. If you don’t do it right, you open yourself up for all kinds of legal issues. A firm like can be especially helpful when it comes to employee discipline. We can help you set up discipline procedures that are fair and free of legal pitfalls. We can provide advice on how to negotiate with employees in disciplinary meetings in order to obtain the best possible outcome—and we will be there to act as mediators and witnesses. Then, they will be less likely to seek retaliation against your company—and hopefully, more likely to change their ways, stay, and become productive employees again.
When Is Most of Your Business Done?
If you are a company that does business around the clock, you’ll need to be careful with work-life balance. Issuing company cell phones and telling your employees they are on-call constantly may work in some industries, but it tends to burn out your employees quickly. Burnt out employees are much more prone to make costly mistakes. They often tend to be less satisfied with their work. It is a rare employee who lives exclusively to answer that text, call that client, and make that transaction at noon Singapore time (translation: 11pm our time!). And let’s face it—people who enjoy that lifestyle usually start their own companies.
There are a lot of quality employees out there who want some balance in their life. They will produce fantastic work for you when they feel satisfied and appreciated. They don’t want to just earn money; they want to enjoy the money they earn. They will start looking elsewhere when they feel walked all over. You need to decide what work-life balance is best for your company. Then, consult with a firm like to figure out how to implement that balance. We can help you find the kinds of employees that will thrive in your environment.
Managing employees is not something you can just walk into blindly. An established strategy for handling your human resources will go far in making your workplace smooth and productive. Carefully planning of all aspects of HR—from hiring to firing, and from compensation to discipline—will create a successful business environment with relatively few personnel problems. If you outsource your HR to an ASO or PEO, you can get the advantage of less expensive expertise with greater experience in handling a variety of companies. Together, you and your HR partner can create the best strategy for your workforce, enabling you to focus on making your business successful.