For many businesses owners, HR feels like an afterthought. This is understandable. After all, you didn't go into business so you could obsess over labor regulations and overtime rules. But because of common human resource mistakes, businesses commonly make bad decisions that cost them time and money. Avoiding the following mistakes can not only save you stress, but make your business more productive.

Not Having Established Workplace Policies 

If your business started with just you and maybe your spouse, you probably didn't think about clarifying work hours, dress codes, or attendance policies. But as your business grows to include more team members, you need to make your expectations explicit and communicate them clearly. Don't make your team guess what you want—they'll appreciate having clarity.

Not Putting Your Policies in Writing

From a legal perspective, nothing counts unless it's written down. A thorough, regularly updated employee handbook gives your team definitive information about your expectations for them. It also assures your team that your policies are to be applied consistently to everyone. Your employee handbook also offers you protection in the event of a conflict with an employee.

Asking Illegal Questions in Interviews 

Questions that may seem perfectly innocent at a cocktail party (e.g., “how many children do you have?") can be big no-nos in a hiring interview. By law, prospective employers are forbidden to ask applicants personal questions about their marital status, ethnicity, or other topics related to protected personal categories. Keep your interview questions focused on professional matters to stay on the safe side.

Hiring Too Quickly

You may be in a hurry to build your team and get started with those big projects on your calendar. But hasty hiring decisions can set you back in the long run. A study by Career Builder found that the average cost of a single bad hiring decision to a business is about $50,000. So it's well worth your trouble to take the time to find people who are a good fit. They'll be happier working for you, and your business will profit from their presence.

Incomplete Employee Paperwork 

Staying on top of HR paperwork may seem like the least important part of your business. But both labor regulations and good management practice require you to maintain thorough documentation for each of your employees. Each new employee file should include their job application, completed I-9 form, benefits information, and authorization for deductions or other financial transactions. In addition, personal information such as medical benefits information should be kept in a separate file.

If staying on top of human resources administration is more than you can fit into your schedule, you're not alone. And you're not in trouble, either—Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) can take care of all your payroll and HR administration for you. With a PEO company, you get professional HR support that ensures you're always in compliance with current labor regulations. You also get the support you need to ensure your business is a productive and welcoming place to work. 

Call ELQ or fill out our quote request form to learn more about the benefits of a PEO service and how they can help your business grow. We work only with carefully vetted, fully licensed PEO providers to ensure you get the service you need.

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About the Author: Mike Burgelin

With two decades of experience in the PEO Employee Leasing industry, Mike Burgelin is an expert in helping business owners maximize their growth potential through the outsourcing of human resources and payroll tasks. He is also a fully licensed insurance agent, whose skills and knowledge in workers’ compensation insurance help his clients save over $40 million in premiums each year.