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HR Tips for Small Businesses Owners

HR Tips for Small Businesses Owners

If you’ve started hiring employees, complying with human resources best practices and small business laws are all crucial and oft-misunderstood tasks. In this post, we’ll outline our top HR tips for small business in Portland. Read on to learn how to manage your employees and get the most out of your team!


Develop an employee handbook

Drafting and issuing a company handbook allows you and your employees to be on the same page, avoiding potential issues and legal problems down the road. It also lays out employee benefits, expectations, policies, and guidelines, erasing confusion and leading to a more efficient team.

Every employee handbook should include the following sections:

  • An overview of the company
  • Safety policies
  • Sexual harassment policy
  • Diversity statement
  • Benefit packages and opportunities
  • Discipline and termination terms
  • Legal notices
  • An acknowledgment of receipt, which your employees can then sign

A good employee handbook will provide clarity and allow for a base in which you company’s culture and work ethic can be built off of. It will also save you money down the road due to increased efficiency and protection in the case of a lawsuit.



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The labor and employment attorneys at JJH Law can help your business and employees grow. We’ll focus on the law so you can focus on your business.

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Communicate clearly

Positive communication practices lead to a more efficient and productive office. You’ll also increase company morale and make your employees want to be at work. If your employees don’t feel like they can voice concerns or collaborate freely, they’ll be unhappy and work less efficiently.

Good communication will lead to better inter-employee relationships. If bad relationships form between employees, it will not only lead to unproductive employees, but situations that could lead to lawsuits or employees leaving your company.

Communication starts from the top, so make sure managers and supervisors are communicating clearly with their teams.


Recruit good employees

Hiring good employees from the get-go will ensure your business will be in good hands. While it can be tempting to hire people based on just skill, it’s important you take time to find a good fit. With every employee you hire, consider:

  • Do they fit in with your company culture? You’ll want to make sure they’ll get along and work well with your team. They should also align strongly with your values
  • Are they qualified? Hiring someone who doesn’t have the skills you need is never a good idea.
  • Are they too qualified? While experience is good, someone who is overqualified may lose interest and move on quickly.
  • Do they believe in your business? Anyone you hire should believe in what you’re doing as a company. A disinterested or jaded employee will bring down morale.


Onboard employees ASAP

Set your employees up so they can hit the ground running. We recommend making sure you get your new employees up to speed as soon as possible so they can start contributing quickly. The best way to do this is to come up with a formal onboarding process, or orientation training program. During the process include:

  • An overview of the businesses history
  • An outline and description of the company’s values
  • The organizational and management structure
  • Expected behavior and communications of the employee
  • Distribution of employee handbook, with an opportunity for questions for clarification
  • Tutorials on company software, tools, and processes
  • Overview of company benefits


Train your employees

As part of the onboarding process, make sure to take extra care to train your employees well. Even if you are hiring someone whose had a similar job with a different company, you should still make sure they are trained on your specific standard operating procedures.

In some cases, you may even need to train or pay for education for skills they’ll need for the job. While this may seem unnecessary for both you and the new employer, it will ensure that everyone is on the same page and that any holes in knowledge are filled.

Make sure your team is up to speed. If not, they may spend valuable time searching for how to do things, or worse just doing something wrong. Not addressing issues early on can lead to a culture of cutting corners.



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Evaluate and give feedback to employees

Evaluations and consistent feedback allow you to measure your employees’ performance over time. Just as (or maybe even more) importantly, it allows an employee to better understand what they’re doing that’s working (and what’s not working). How can an employee do a good job if they don’t know how they’re being evaluated by their boss?

Take stock of employee performance to make sure they are keeping up with expectations. If not, you can instruct them how to get better or terminate the employee. What you don’t want is an ineffective employee thinking they’re doing a good job.


Retain your high-performing employees

Once you have employees that are making your business hum, the last thing you’ll want to do is lose them. Employee turnover is bad for morale and ultimately costs a lot of money., It will take a lot of time and resources to recruit, hire, and train a new team member.


Consider compensation

There is almost always going to be someone cheaper out there you could have, but employees are the heart of your business. A fairly paid employee will be happier at work and more productive.


Don’t forget about employee benefits

While compensating employees right monetarily is important, just as crucial is giving them benefits that allow then to live a healthy lifestyle. This includes:

  • Paid time off
  • Health insurance
  • Child care
  • Maternity and paternity leave
  • Retirement plans

While you don’t need to go overboard, benefit packages can offer a lot of value to employees, sometimes at less a cost than pure salary.


Make sure you are in compliance

If you’ve never run a business before, it’s hard to know the cavalcade of laws and regulations for local, state, and federal governments. Every jurisdiction is different, so making sure you are covered can be tricky. For instance, are you:

  • Complying with your state’s equal opportunity laws?
  • Are you giving your employees the rights they’re entitled to, such as wage and break requirements?
  • Is payroll being processed correctly?


Find a labor & employment attorney you trust

Finding a law partner you can work with will save you money in the end. Most startup and small business owners forget about laws, regulations, and HR concerns when growing their business. While as an entrepreneur you may find these issues complex and time-consuming a good HR attorney will help you remain compliant and successful.

HR attorneys specialize in helping businesses grow and know the ins-and-outs of employment law. They’ll make sure you abide by important laws and avoid legal conflict.

They’ll help with…

  • Employee policies
  • Employee handbooks
  • Payroll classifications
  • Terminations
  • Tax classifications
  • Much more

When you work with a labor attorney you trust, you can leave HR for someone else so you can focus on what you do best: running your business.


Work With JJH Law

The Labor & Employment Attorneys at JJH Law can help your Oregon or Washington small business with…

  • Policy writing and employee handbooks
  • Wage & hour lawsuits
  • Equal pay/compensation discrimination
  • Breach of contract & separation agreements
  • Wrongful discharge/termination
  • Sexual harassment & discrimination
  • ADA compliance
  • Family and medical leave
  • Unsafe workplace complaints and conditions
  • Employee or independent contractor
  • Noncompete agreements

Contact us today by calling (503) 552-1467 to find out how we can help your small business.

Joseph Haddad

Joseph is a business lawyer and founder of JJH Law. He focuses on complex civil litigation with an emphasis on employment-related matters on behalf of employers and employees. He's also an avid card player, and in 2006 was ranked #118 in the world by CardPlayer Magazine.

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