What Your First HR Advisor Should Do?

What Your First HR Advisor Should Do?

As small businesses grow, the need for HR support also grows. If you can afford a full-time HR Advisor or just the support of a consultant, this is what that first HR needs to do for you. This article is a series based on my previous post, “What is the Role of HR?

When you hire or contract your first HR professional, the first things you need to get them to do is create or update your pay grid, create or update your HR policies, have one-on-one needs assessments with all managers, have one-on-one needs assessments with all employees, develop training plans for all managers and employees, conduct an employee engagement survey, and create a simple employee evaluation process.

Do You Need an HR Advisor?

Every organization that has at least one employee needs some HR support. An owner should consult an HR professional before starting the process of hiring their first employee.

Factors contributing to needing an HR Advisor are how many employees you have, issues you may be dealing with, and if you have a budget to pay for your desired level of HR support.

Read my previous article, “How Much Money Should You Spend on HR?” for more details. The article has a chart recommending the different types of HR support based on your number of employees.

You may only ask an HR Consultant for advice to help you with the following issues, or you may hire a full-time HR Advisor. Either way and everything in between, the following issues are what they should concentrate on. Also, do these in the order presented because it will be more effective from the HR perspective of making employees happy.

Create or Update Pay Grids

The most important thing you can do to make your employees happy is to pay them well!

Factors of being well paid are:

You can deal with non-base pay issues after establishing a good pay and solid pay grid. It takes time for employees to get disgruntled from these non-base pay issues because they’re making enough money to pay the bills. Following this list of actions, it would be best to start addressing these issues as time passes.

Creating a solid pay grid protects the organization and the employees. Pay becomes standardized to create fairness and equality in pay. The organization can also better budget and pay expenses for better business decisions.

Most importantly, good pay makes the organization look good in the eyes of clients or customers, partners, and potential future employees.

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Create or Update HR Policies

Creating or updating HR policies is crucial for any organization to ensure compliance, fairness, and consistency in the workplace. Ideally, you will have a full-time HR Advisor or an HR Consultant do this work for you.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create or update HR policies:

  • Identify the Need: Start by identifying the need for creating or updating HR policies. Some needs could be due to changes in laws and regulations, organizational growth, cultural shifts, or specific issues that have arisen in the workplace.
  • Gather Information: Collect relevant information by reviewing existing policies, conducting surveys or interviews with employees, consulting with legal experts or industry professionals, and researching best practices in your field.
  • Define Objectives: Clearly define the objectives of the policies. Determine what you aim to achieve with each policy: ensuring compliance with legal requirements, promoting a safe and inclusive work environment, or enhancing organizational efficiency.
  • Draft Policies: Draft the policies based on the gathered information and defined objectives. Ensure that they are clear, concise, and easy to understand. (Source: Motivate Learners by Using Personalized Tone – Training Solutions…. ) Use simple language and avoid jargon or technical terms (Source: SeniorTalk — Understanding the emotional needs of the elderly: How to communicate effectively. ) whenever possible.
  • Consult Stakeholders: Before finalizing the policies, consult relevant stakeholders such as employees, managers, legal advisors, and department heads. Gather feedback and incorporate any necessary revisions or improvements.
  • Legal Review: It’s essential to ensure the policies comply with relevant laws, regulations, and industry standards. Seek legal review from qualified experts to identify potential legal risks or liabilities.
  • Approval Process: Once you finalize policies, establish an approval process. The process typically involves obtaining approval from senior management or the executive team before implementation.
  • Communicate Policies: Communicate the new or updated policies to all employees. Provide clear explanations of the policies, including their purpose, scope, and any changes from previous versions. Make the policies easily accessible through employee handbooks, intranet portals, or company-wide e-mails.
  • Training and Education: Conduct training sessions or workshops to educate employees about the new or updated policies. Ensure that employees understand their rights and responsibilities under the (Source: Hr compliance training checklist | checklist.gg. ) policies and know how to comply with them effectively.
  • Implementation and Enforcement: Implement the policies effectively across the organization. Monitor compliance and address any issues or violations promptly and consistently. It’s essential to enforce the policies fairly and impartially to maintain credibility and trust among employees.
  • Regular Review and Updates: Review and update HR policies to reflect changes in laws, regulations, and organizational needs. Schedule periodic reviews, such as annually or biennially, to ensure the policies remain relevant and practical.
  • Feedback Mechanism: Establish a feedback mechanism to solicit input from employees regarding the effectiveness of the policies. Encourage employees to provide feedback and suggestions for (Source: Stine Tornmark | Creating company AI guidelines | Openli Blog. ) improvement and incorporate this input into future policy revisions.

By following these steps, HR professionals can create or update HR policies that promote a positive work environment, ensure compliance, and support the overall goals and objectives of the organization.

Manager One-On-One Meetings

This meeting is both a performance review and a fact-finding mission. Your ultimate goal is to find out if there are any hidden issues within the organization and what the Manager needs to succeed in their role.

You want to focus on critical areas while ensuring the conversation remains productive and actionable.

Here’s a streamlined approach:

  • Preparation: Before the meeting, gather necessary performance data, including KPIs, feedback from team members, and any relevant documentation.
  • Set Clear Objectives: Define the purpose of the meeting, (Source: What is a Coordination Meeting? | Doodle. ) whether it’s to review recent performance, discuss goals and development, or address any challenges.
  • Schedule Regularly: Aim for regular performance review meetings, such as quarterly or bi-annually, to ensure consistent feedback and progress tracking.
  • Keep It Concise: Aim for 30 to 60 minutes to respect both parties’ time. Stick to the agenda and avoid unnecessary tangents.
  • Start with Positives: Begin the meeting positively by acknowledging the Manager’s achievements and strengths since the last review.
  • Review Performance Metrics: Discuss performance against agreed-upon goals and KPIs. Highlight areas of success as well as any areas needing improvement.
  • Seek Feedback: Encourage the Manager to share their perspective on their performance and any challenges they’ve faced. Actively listen and ask clarifying questions.
  • Provide Constructive Feedback: Offer specific, actionable feedback on areas for improvement, focusing on behaviours and outcomes rather than personal attributes.
  • Set SMART Goals: Collaboratively set new goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Ensure alignment with overall business objectives.
  • Discuss Development Opportunities: Identify areas for professional growth and skill development. Offer resources or support to help the Manager succeed.
  • Address Concerns or Roadblocks: If obstacles hinder performance, work together to find solutions or implement necessary changes.
  • Document Action Items: Record key discussion points, agreed-upon goals, and action items. Share these notes with the Manager for reference and accountability.
  • Follow-Up: Send a summary of the meeting outcomes and action items. Then, schedule follow-up meetings to track progress and provide ongoing support.

Following this approach, you can conduct a simple and fast Manager performance review One-On-One Meeting that promotes open communication, fosters growth and drives performance improvement.

Employee One-On-One Meetings

This meeting is a performance review and a fact-finding mission, just like the Manager meeting above. Your goal is to find out if there are any hidden issues within the organization and what the employee needs to succeed in their role.

Follow the same process as in the previous section above.

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Develop Training Plans

Developing employee training plans involves several vital steps to ensure the training is practical, tailored to individual needs, and aligned with organizational goals.

The one-on-one meetings you performed will help get you started on this process. If you have already done some steps below, don’t waste time doing them again.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to developing employee training plans:

  • Identify Training Needs: Thoroughly analyze the organization’s current and future needs. This analysis may involve reviewing performance evaluations, conducting surveys, assessing skill gaps, analyzing industry trends, and considering the organization’s strategic objectives.
  • Set Clear Objectives: Once you’ve identified training needs, establish clear and specific learning objectives for each employee or group. Align these objectives with the organization’s overall goals, making sure to outline what employees are expected to learn or achieve through the training.
  • Choose Training Methods: Select the most appropriate training methods based on the learning objectives, employee preferences, and available resources. Training methods can include instructor-led workshops, online courses, on-the-job training, mentoring, simulations, or a combination of these approaches.
  • Develop Training Materials: Create or select training materials and resources that support the chosen training methods. Materials may include developing presentations, handouts, manuals, online modules, videos, or other instructional materials.
  • Assign Trainers or Facilitators: Identify qualified trainers or facilitators who deliver the training content effectively. Ensure that trainers have the necessary expertise, experience, and communication skills to engage participants and facilitate learning.
  • Schedule Training Sessions: Coordinate training sessions and schedule them at times convenient for employees while minimizing disruptions to their work. Consider offering flexible training options to accommodate employees’ diverse schedules and preferences.
  • Deliver Training: Conduct the training sessions according to the established plan. Ensure that trainers follow the prepared materials and engage participants through interactive activities, discussions, and practical exercises.
  • Monitor Progress: Continuously monitor employees’ progress throughout the training process. Gather feedback from participants to assess the effectiveness of the training (Source: Cross-Training And eLearning: Unlocking Organizational Success – Eduvoice | The Voice of Education Industry. ) content, delivery methods, and trainers.
  • Provide Support and Resources: Offer ongoing support and resources to employees as they engage in training activities. Support and resources include providing access to additional learning materials, offering opportunities for practice and reinforcement, and addressing any questions or concerns.
  • Evaluate Training Effectiveness: Evaluate the effectiveness of the training program by measuring its impact on employee performance, (Source: effective training programs design Archives – microsoft-certificate.com. ) skill development, and job satisfaction. Use participant, supervisor, and critical stakeholder feedback to identify improvement areas and adjust future training plans accordingly.
  • Adjust and Evolve: Finally, continuously review and update the training plan to adapt to changing organizational needs, emerging technologies, industry trends, and stakeholder feedback. By regularly refining the training plan, you can ensure that it remains relevant and effective in helping employees develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. (Source: Let mentors navigate the realities of your organization.)

Employee Engagement Survey

Your one-on-one meetings should have given you some indication that there may be issues within the organization. Even if you don’t get any clues as to whether there are more significant employee issues, you should still conduct an employee engagement survey. (Source: Employee Engagement Surveys: Dos and Don’ts of Engagement Surveys – theEMPLOYEEapp. )

Employee engagement surveys must be anonymous! If you can’t get this done in-house, then you need to hire an HR Consultant to do this for you.

Learn more about this by reading my article “Employee Engagement Survey.”

Simply Employee Evaluation Process

Moving forward, you will want to develop a faster way to do more frequent employee reviews. The critical factors to a simple employee evaluation process are speed, simplicity, high frequency, and trackability.

Read my article “Easy Employee Review Process” to learn more.

What’s Next?

You could do some of the above and hold off hiring an HR Advisor or Consultant for months or even years. Holding off may be suitable as you increase revenue. However, getting good HR support can help your business grow as you adequately address your employees’ needs.

For human resources support in Canada, click here to book a free HR needs assessment now. If you’re on a budget, consider joining my Patreon to ask unlimitedOpens in a new tab. HR questions. If you need HR advice sooner, book a consultation via Fiverr here.

Ian Hopfe

Ian Hopfe is the owner of LBH Business Services Inc. in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Ian is an Indigenous Human Resources Consultant. He has over ten years experience in HR and over fifteen years experience in management. All blog articles on this website are written by Ian unless a guest writer is indicated on the post.

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