Times are tough, especially for small businesses.
Amidst nationwide financial insecurity, some small business leaders might be tempted to take shortcuts on certain practices that were always fundamental to good business — like in Human Resources.
However, according to Burton Goldfield, President and CEO of TriNet (an HR outsourcing company), maintaining smart HR standards is crucial for recovery in the long-run. Cutting corners in how you deal with your employees might make your numbers look better now, but it will inevitably come back to hurt you.
Goldfield highlights four areas where you should never slack off in a piece for Entrepreneur. In brief:
- Use mid-year reviews to manage expectations: Don’t avoid having a tough conversation about the state of the business because you don’t want to talk about it. Just because the news is bad and you can’t offer raises doesn’t mean you can skip that review. Instead, use it as an opportunity to be honest, manage employee expectations, and encourage top-notch performance for a swifter recovery.
- recognise and reward good performance: Even though your employees probably don’t have many other job options lining up right now, you shouldn’t over look rewarding their good work. Burton says that “captivity is a temporary approach to retention at best. As the recovery sets in, ignored employees will be among the first to move out.” recognise your best employees with nonfinancial rewards, such as title promotions and bigger responsibilities.
- Watch workplace morale: Burton acknowledges that “[good] morale is tough to define explicitly, but it usually emerges at the intersection of a strong sense of purpose, a culture of respect, opportunities for fun, collaboration with team members, spontaneous appreciation and valued perks.” Get creative with team-building, and, most importantly, keep your lines of communication wide open — going quiet because you’re afraid of sharing bad news will often make employees think things are much worse than they actually are.
- Protect your benefits: Don’t start cutting benefits across the board just to save money — consult advisors on which specific elements you can reduce while still maintaining a competitive plan.
Most of all, Goldfield emphasises that you should never let your fears about the state of the economy or your business influence the standards of communication and recognition that you maintain with your employees when times are good.
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