After working in corporate human resources for more than 15 years and 30,000 hours, Amanda Haddaway realized that many small businesses don’t have the luxury of a full-time in-house HR department, but they still have responsibilities in keeping their businesses compliant and their employees engaged. Seeing a need in the market, Haddaway started offering her HR services as a freelancer in 2012 and plans to launch her own full-time HR consultancy, HR Answerbox, focused on small businesses in early 2016.
(Photo courtesy of Amanda Haddaway)
Initially, Haddaway was only conducting training sessions, but her services quickly expanded as these same organizations were coming to her for advice and consultation on a myriad of human resources concerns.
In addition to training, Haddaway now works with small business owners to develop strategic HR plans for recruitment, training, development and employee engagement. She also advises business leaders of how to handle complex employee problems.
“Employees are a company’s greatest asset, but they are often the most expensive part of the operating budget,” said Haddaway.
For small business owners and managers, it’s a balancing act of building the business while trying to hire, train and retain talent. Organizations can’t just hire employees and hope for the best. Instead, the best organizations are those that have strong programs in place to help develop their talent and grow their employees into even better people than who they hired.
Haddaway advises managers and business owners on employee performance problems they don’t feel comfortable addressing on their own. “HR solutions are rarely cookie cutter, so it’s important to really listen to the problem and determine a unique and tailored approach that will address the root cause of the employee issue,” said Haddaway. She went on to say, “Firing the employee isn’t always the best response. Many performance issues can be easily solved if a manager is willing to put in a little time and have a little patience with the employee.”
“Business owners sometimes need a sounding board to make sure that they are doing the right thing,” said Haddaway. “This particularly applies to employee engagement.”
Less than one-third of U.S. workers were engaged in their jobs in 2014, according to a study by Gallup. “Employers need to pay attention to engagement because it’s tied closely to productivity and the organization’s bottom line,” said Haddaway. “Engagement is even more important in smaller organizations because every employee is a key contributor.”
“It’s important to take a holistic approach and analyze what keeps employees happy and working for your organization. Take a look at your benefits, your training programs, how managers treat employees and other softer skills like communication and teamwork in the organization,” said Haddaway. She’s often contacted to work with organizations to conduct HR audits. An HR audit looks at what human resources functions, programs and procedures are already in place. The next step is to look at what the organization can implement to be even more effective with employee management.
This article was written by Robin D. Everson via Examiner.com for CBS Small Business Pulse.