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5 Tips to Protect Your Small Business from Employee Concerns

Small business owners wear many hats; handling employee processes and issues is just one which often falls last on the priority list.

These five tips easily help protect your small business:

1. Have an employee handbook.

It helps employers and employees by clearly establishing rules and what’s expected. It is an invaluable tool in protecting company assets since it clearly shows that required written policies were provided to employees. If a disgruntled employee sues the company, the handbook will be the first thing an employment attorney will use in the defense. Beware: a good plaintiff’s attorney will be thrilled to use a poorly crafted handbook against any employer. Be thorough and careful in preparing it.

2. Create job descriptions.

The process of developing a thorough job description, for every position in the organization, clarifies what is needed during the hiring process and aids in drafting the job posting. Share it with applicants and ask these two simple questions: can you do this and do you have the qualifications? Once hired, this helps the employee and boss stay clear about the defined job functions. It won’t paint anyone into a corner if the priceless catchall is included: “Other duties as assigned.”

3. Prepare for interviewing candidates.

Often, employees can (and do) make or break a business. Finding the right one when hiring is crucial. The best way to prepare is to create 5-10 behaviorally based interview questions because past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. Beware the laid-back “get to know you” interview process because it’s difficult to capture details that contribute to a well-informed hiring decision.

4. Create an organized, simple personnel filing system.

Certain documents must be maintained by employers; the Form I-9 for example. Keeping documents filed consistently in the required manner ensures compliance with applicable regulations.

5. Use checklists.

Many responsibilities fall on the business owner, making it difficult to always remember what to do. The exposure brought on by inconsistent practices is dangerous. Using checklists in the new hire and termination process is helpful in maintaining consistency and ensuring fair treatment. When employment tasks are delegated, checklists ensure processes are consistent and correct.

Small business owners have full plates. Take preventive, proactive steps for consistent employment practices to reduce risk while preventing employee problems.

This article first appeared as “Employee Concerns for Small Business Owners” in the Reno Gazette Journal

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