The Role of Human Resources in Your Cleaning Business
Although you may not have a large business now, it is best to start integrating these HR policies into your work system so that when your business does expand, you already have a solid foundation to build upon. Maintaining consistent and legal Human Resources practices will help protect your business and your employees. The Human Resources department works to keep everything organized and equal, which is critical once you start hiring more employees.
Whoever manages your Human Resources department needs to know what they are doing in order to provide accurate information and answers, as well as to ensure they are following regulations and policies. As your company expands, employees will contact your HR manager with questions about legal issues and business matters. This part of job is not the only responsibility of HR, so take a look at some more of the responsibilities that fall under this department.
Hiring New Employees
Part of the job description of Human Resources is the recruitment of new employees. It is critical to hire hard-working, dedicated employees who will stick with your business for the long-term success. If you choose to hire an HR manager, this person should be skilled at recognizing who makes a good employee and which candidates to avoid. The name of your business will be staked on the employees that you send into customers' homes and workspaces, so hiring the right people can make you or break you.
This adeptness at hiring the right kinds of employees may be something your HR managers learn over time, but you can get them started on the right path by providing them with policies and procedures for how you would like the hiring process to operate. If there are specific qualities and expectations you have from potential employees, make sure to train your managers to specifically look out for these traits. This way, even when you aren't present throughout the hiring process, you still have some say in who is hired to work for you.
Your HR manager isn't done dealing with the employees just after the hiring process is over. They will also be responsible for working with the employees to improve their performance over time. They can do this by creating training programs that may solve any issues that arise, as well as designing a performance review process and maintaining it. These programs should also incorporate employee feedback, benefits, and evaluation. The feedback is necessary to improve your training and progress programs so that it can improve with every new employee.
Your HR manager should create and maintain a file for each employee specifically, where you will keep the information you hold for each employee. This includes resumes, applications, payroll information, evaluations, recognition or award documents, and any necessary legal forms. These files should remain in a secure location as some of this information may be confidential, and they should be organized well so that they are accessible should an urgent business matter call for the need to pull out someone's file.
Keep in mind that a medical file is also something your HR manager should have for each employee, and this should be separate from the employee file discussed above. Any information about the employee's health or medical issues should be filed under their medical file, including insurance applications, doctor's notes, disability information, and more. These files also should be secure and denied access to most except the owner, especially when you're just running a small business.
Payroll and Wage Laws
Your HR manager should research or already know of the federal and state labor laws about employee wages so that you make sure you are following the law with every step. These laws concern wages, number of hours worked, and overtime, to name a few. You can find out the laws for your specific state by visiting the U.S. Department of Labor's website.
Payroll can become a complicated process when you factor in tax deduction and withholdings, so if you aren't prepared to put the time into doing it properly then it may be in your best interest to hire an expert. Many businesses and HR managers choose to outsource the payroll tasks to someone who specializes in that area, since that is not the primary focus of Human Resources typically. The two areas do have overlap, so your HR manager will have to work with the department you outsource to. Both of these departments have access to employee files and confidential information, and some of the overlap includes the hiring process, bonuses, benefit deductions, and terminations.
Worker's Compensation Insurance
Developing an Employee Handbook
An effective employee handbook covers a great deal of information that the employees need to be aware of, and should sign off on before starting work for your business. This handbook provides a clear guideline of what is expected from each employee, how the employer will address issues, and further information about the business. Proactively preparing this information for the employees' use will prevent confusion and can set a foundation for how the business will operate. This way, the HR manager isn't the one forced to make decisions, but rather they follow the guidelines presented by the handbook.
If you aren't sure where to begin with your employee handbook, you can download a sample handbook from the Society for Human Resource Management's website.4 Take a look at just a handful of the topics that should be covered in an employee handbook:
- Harassment, Equal opportunity, and Anti - Discrimination policies: All business owners must comply with the equal opportunity employment laws that prohibit discrimination and harassment within a business, and this includes the Americans with Disabilities Act. Your handbook should include a section covering what these laws entail so that your employees are informed in how they should comply with the laws.
- Standards of Conduct: You need to lay out for your employees how you expect them to conduct themselves while on the job, whether with fellow employees or customers. Since your employees will be working in the customer's homes or workplaces, it is important that they meet your standard of conduct, which includes how they dress and behave themselves while working.
- Employee benefits: Let your employees know of any benefit programs you are implementing in your business, as well as the eligibility requirements. Don't leave out the benefits that are required legally, and you can also include optional choices like health benefits and wellness programs.
- Leave of absence policies and paid time off: Describe your policies for different absences that could be paid time off, such as maternity leave.
- Safety and Security: Let your employees know about your business's policies for safety and security within the workplace, as well as the laws they need to comply with. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issues that employees are required to report all injuries, accidents, or potential safety hazards in their workplace. Encourage employees to share safety suggestions and any other related issues as well. Share information in this section about the Worker's Compensation Insurance and how this well help them if they get hurt on the job.
- Compensation: Explain the payroll process to your employees, particularly how the deductions will work for federal and state taxes. Take this time to examine the legal obligations for overtime pay, bonuses, and every other aspect regarding the employee's compensation.
- Scheduling: Your employees will want to know what to expect for how the scheduling system will work, and this should be something you already have put thought into before starting your business. With a cleaning business, scheduling appointments and regular clients can involve a lot of details to work through. It's important to design a system for keeping up with the schedule and let your employees know how this will operate so they can know what to expect before they start working.
An employee handbook is not required by law, although many of the policies outlined within it may be. This is just an extremely beneficial addition to aid your business and employees as your business grows and expands. While your company is still small, you may not feel the need for an employee handbook, but you can begin to work on one in preparation of expansion.
As your business gains employees, there may be more conflicts and complaints, and these should be directed to the HR department. Since you will have employees working in teams that require communication and teamwork to be effective, it is critical to smooth over any conflicts. Your HR manager will have the responsibility of processing employing complaints, and completing a thorough investigation to resolve the issue. These complaints might be minor disputes between coworkers, or it could be serious allegations against the owner of the business, so your HR manager will have to learn to deal efficiently with a wide variety of possibilities.
This is the downside to working in human resources, as the responsibility for terminations within the company falls on this department typically. When employees start to slack on their duties or the business simply has to make cutbacks, the HR manager might be responsible for delivering the bad news to the unfortunate employees, depending on how the owner chooses to run this process. They may have to deal with upset and possibly angry employees, because this is not an enjoyable process for anyone to go through. Just make sure that your HR manager follows through with state regulations regarding payment and termination policies, so that every part of the process is legal and fair.
You may choose to make it a joint effort, and just have the HR manager there to assist you with the process. Generally, an HR manager with have experience with guiding the conversation to minimize potential damage.9 Clear communication with the employees is a necessary aspect to prevent surprise firings, because those are the occasions where you get angry employees and lawsuits. Be clear with your employees about what behavior could lead to termination, and provide plenty of warning if they are approaching a gray area. Either they get their behavior together and improve to keep their job, or you have to follow through with the employee handbook's guidelines and fire that employee.
Your HR manager should make the termination process as easy as possible for the employee, and let them leave with their dignity intact. Your employees should not live in fear of termination, but they do need to know that there are consequences to poor behavior or work ethic.
Consistency within the HR department is critical. If you make exceptions for one employee's behavior or request, then you have to ask yourself if you would make that same exception for every other employee. If the exception goes against the employee handbook, and you aren't willing to make a change to the handbook so it can apply to all employees, then you will have to deny the employee's request with an explanation of why.
If you or your HR managers are new to the world of Human Resources, there is a vast network of opportunities and resources available to help you learn what all this role entails. Detailed courses and sessions narrowing in on all the details of Human Resources can give you insight to the position and help you feel more comfortable with your job responsibility.
The Human Resources department is primarily focused on the cultivating the talents and opportunities of the employees, which are a crucial asset to your business. Employee satisfaction is not something to be disregarded, and Human Resources is responsible for addressing and achieving this. All of the responsibilities mentioned above are intended to create unity within the workplace and help the HR manager shape the environment of the workplace. With a cleaning business, you won't have the same set-up as a typical office space, but you still do need to focus on employee satisfaction and make sure that employees work efficiently together as a unit. This efficiency and satisfaction is necessary to deliver quality service to customers, and to maintaining a successful business. If you have not hired an HR manager while your business is still small, it may be something you want to consider as your business expands, because all of these responsibilities need to be handled. As your business grows, you as the owner won't have the time to take on this role, so an HR manager could be a beneficial attribute to helping your business grow further.