Usually, a small business will approach us with what they think they need in terms of HR services. We’ll get a call or an email about a specific topic, asking us whether we can fill that need and what we would recommend as the best way forward for that company.

“When should I look at bringing in part-time Human Resources staff?”

“Do you guys do management training?”

“I need help with some official material, like a training manual or employee handbook.”

ConnectedHR works with companies all over Ohio, and we love our clients. We know you’re dealing with unknown-unknowns; things you don’t know you don’t know; questions you don’t even know to ask. So, for the sake of those small businesses, as well as any companies looking to evaluate the scope of their HR departments activities, we want to go over the top 4 HR activities you should prioritize.

Read More: Tricks to Creating an HR Friendly Workplace

Employee Engagement

Getting your employees to work for the company, rather than completing tasks, is a difficult task that 100% needs to be addressed by upper management.

This isn’t about mid-week pep-rallies, this is about heading off potential lawsuits, retaining valuable employees, encouraging people to innovate and improve, and having employees that would recommend working for you to a friend or family member.

Read More: How to Increase Productivity with Employee Engagement

Your HR team should be aware of what tasks cause employees, and customers, the most stress.

Your HR team should help you foster an environment where employees feel led, rather than commanded.

Your employees should feel completely safe in their environment and also feel safe reporting concerns to upper management.

Developing Leaders

Not everyone with a graduate degree can teach. Similarly, not every successful salesman is equipped to lead a team of salespeople- these jobs are connected but require extremely different skill sets. Some of the best sales managers didn’t even come from sales, and your HR department should be able to provide the training that allows such a thing to happen.

Teaching your managers to manage is overlooked because, when promoting from within, you’re already extremely happy with someone’s work. That’s why you’re promoting them.

However, a company that doesn’t offer management training will see it’s best people eventually leave, as potential great managers stay at their current level, and aspiring managers find companies that will make them better. The best employees want to improve, the best employers help them.

Your HR team should provide standardized management training that all leaders, including you, are expected to complete.

Your HR team should evaluate the impact of each manager, including you, and have the go-ahead to make suggestions for improvement.

Your employees should feel that, provided they show initiative and talent, that the company will invest in them, and grow them into the leaders you need.

Read More: 4 Signs You Have a Bad Manager On Staff

Talent Acquisition

Hiring, interviewing, headhunting- it all falls under HRs purview. You’re trying to grow your company, right? You want to grow with quality people. If you’re bringing in multiple employees, you need an HR professional who can focus on this task, and has the experience needed to properly vet new hires.

Talent Acquisition is more than posting an opening on Indeed- it’s about using your time wisely. An HR department should have a consistent, organized process for finding the right workers. This could mean including certain filters you may not have thought of, basing their hiring off of what you like about current employees, and looking for someone who will fit into the culture you’re building.

Your HR team should have specific, objective expectations for each position they’re hiring for, as well as the resources to find such people.

Your HR team should guide you in ensuring your hiring practices are both ethical and legal.

Your new employees should be the best possible new employees you can find.

Workplace Communication

This is more than putting a suggestion box out that you pull from at the end of every week. This is about protecting your company from potential lawsuits, as well as expensive lapses in production.

Unhealthy communication affects every single part of your company. When departments don’t communicate, everyone slowly begins to hate each other. Sales hates accounting, because they only deal with accounting when someone sends the wrong forms to the customer. Operations hates sales, because they only deal with sales when a customer goes to sales with a complaint about operations, and so on.

This means that problems don’t get solved, because nobody owns the problems they’re facing. “That’s just something accounting does.”

“Salespeople don’t know how to do x, y, and z, so we have to fix it.”

Without communication, simple issues persist much longer than they need to, and that costs you money.

Then, there’s the obvious part of communication. If a crime is being committed, whether it’s harassment, OSHA violations or whatever, open communication is vital to protect the safety and well-being of your employees. People who feel unsafe want to leave. Companies get a bad reputation. OSHA fines are expensive.

Your HR department should be aware of any potential or developing issues.

Your HR department should find ways for each department to work together better.

Your employees should have clear avenues of communication with upper management and should feel safe doing so.

As you build your company, make sure to build your HR department as well. You’ll quickly understand how important it is.

If you already have an HR department, make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. Give us a shout if you have any questions- we’d love to hear from you.