November 1, 2019

HR strategies to help small businesses improve the employee experience

Running a small business shouldn’t leave you buried under a pile of administrative work. Understanding how to properly manage HR administration – all while improving the employee experience – is critical to the growth and sustainability of a small business.

Emily runs an art framing business in Toronto’s Annex area. She’s proud of what she’s accomplished over the last four years and has grown from a two person shop (she and her sister) to nine employees. There’s great market demand for the services her company offers, but her business has hit a plateau. It seems that just as she trains one employee, another one leaves, and she’s in a constant cycle of hiring and onboarding. In addition, she’s overwhelmed by the paperwork she needs to gather. While she consults with a friend who also owns her own business, it’s a different kind of business and she’s not sure her friend is on top of employment rules and regulations.

If you own or manage a small business, there are likely elements of this scenario that sound familiar. Today, less than half of Canada’s small businesses survive at least 10 years. With unemployment rates at an all-time low, competition for employees is stiff, and HR work can become time-consuming. It’s also common to underestimate the legal risks of not keeping up with ever-changing employment law. And, relying on advice from friends, tracking personnel information on spreadsheets, and storing paper forms can be risky. But hiring an HR manager might not be a cost-effective option for a small business.

Here’s how small businesses can get more of a handle on HR administration and ultimately improve the employee experience.

Attain HR expertise without adding headcount

Successful businesses invest in technology to attain the HR expertise they need without adding headcount. Leveraging HR technology can help business owners to better manage compliance issues, legislative changes, and workforce data. Instead of spending their time and energy on trying to learn this specialized information, relying on a busy business mentor or friend, or slogging through piles of paperwork, they can instead focus it on where they need it most – the business.

Acquire the technology tools that your employees demand

Investing in modern tools and technology is also key to attracting and retaining employees. Multi-generational workforces expect the ability to manage their information, including pay and benefits, online. Enabling employees to input and update their personal information ensures accuracy and saves time. This allows employees to jump right into the actual work instead of doing tedious paperwork. Small businesses that understand their employees and what will help them be successful will create a better experience for employees from day one.

Integrate your tools for improved productivity

Small businesses can also improve productivity by ensuring their tools are integrated and work together. Comprehensive, “one stop shop” solutions offer straightforward management of HR records and avoid the hassle and inefficiency of checking in with multiple vendors. Employees also appreciate the ease of referencing one source to find information such as safety manuals, value statements, and disciplinary procedures without having to talk to the designated office or HR manager. When all employees can access HR info at any time and from anywhere, they are equipped to make better decisions and are more satisfied with their workplace.

Small businesses have an opportunity to build a solid HR foundation that uses efficient processes to support their business. This includes tangible components, such as policy manuals and electronic employee records that can help businesses maintain compliance, make confident decisions and build solid relationships with their employees.

Learn more about building a solid HR foundation for your small business 

Aileen Daosavanh

Aileen Daosavanh, Director Marketing, Business Development at Ceridian, is passionate about the inner workings of small to midsized businesses. She provides small to mid-sized businesses with concrete Human Capital Management tips to help reach their goals.

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