You may have read the title and thought, “Legos and HR? What is this about, what is the correlation?” Just stick with us and we’ll show you how they connect (see what we did there?).
So imagine you are playing with Legos, not the tiny Legos that come with a 30-page manual, but the big bulky Legos a toddler might play with. And you decide you want to build a tall tower, so what is the first thing you need? A strong foundation, of course! And when it comes to strong foundations within your business, having a strong HR foundation is the key to your company’s employee relations success. And that foundation can include varying pieces, such as an Employee Handbook, Standard Operating Procedures, Onboarding Programs, Performance Management, and Job Descriptions, just to name a few.
It's important to note that all companies need to have an HR foundation. However, that foundation can look different based on industry, setup (in-person, remote, or hybrid), and employee size. For example, the more employees you have, the more accountable you must be to various state and federal employment laws. So how do you know what’s needed in your HR foundation? Let’s break down the numbers and see what that might look like.
20 employees or less:
Whether a mom-and-pop start-up or a seasoned owner, when you have a smaller workforce, here is what your foundation should consist of:
An Employee Handbook – you need to lay out the rules and expectations to your employees of what it means to be employed with your company, and what better way to do that than with a handbook.
An Employee Champion – maybe you can’t afford a HR person yet, but you’ll need someone to handle the day-to-day employee relations, such as hiring and onboarding, discipline, and terminations.
An Onboarding & Offboarding Process – this can be as simple as a checklist to ensure you’re doing all you need to successfully bring on a new employee, such as completing the Form I-9, tax forms, direct deposit, handbook acknowledgment, etc., as well as ending their employment.
Job Descriptions – your employees need to be fully aware of what is required of them to do their job, including essential duties and responsibilities as well as the required qualifications.
A Safety Program – regardless of the number of employees you have, employers are required to provide a safe working environment for their employees. From their first day on, your employees need to know your commitment to providing them that safe work environment. They need to know your safety policies including the procedure for reporting accidents.
This is where the number of employees can start to become information overload. Not only do you have more employees to keep track of, but additional compliance with federal laws comes into play. Your 20-40 foundation should include the items in the less than 20 category, as well as few additional pieces:
An Outsourced HR Business Partner – if you are not ready to make the commitment to in-house HR, an outsourced HRBP is your next best step. They will serve as a trusted resource and business partner to both the management and employees of your Company.
An HRIS platform – this would be a great time to look into an HR Information System platform to help you keep up with the constant flow and change of information from employees, as well as reduce the amount of time spent on doing your HR paperwork. HRIS is a great software solution that maintains and manages your employees’ information and general HR-related info. They can also help to standardize your company’s HR processes, including recruiting, onboarding and offboarding, and performance management, as well as ensuring compliance, record-keeping, and timely reporting (as needed).
Once your company reaches 50+ employees, this is when you have upgraded your Lego set to the complicated tiny little Legos with the 30-page manual. And speaking of 30-page manuals, this would be an opportune time to review that employee handbook.
At 50 employees, there are more employment laws that come into play, and you need to ensure compliance. Whether you continue to outsource your HR or have someone in-house, you’ll need to start looking into your compliance with Family Medical Leave, Affordable Care Act, the Form 5500, Affirmative Action, and EEO-1 reporting, and don’t forget that there may be new state laws that come into play.
If you don’t have one, you need an HRIS platform. Already have one in place? Then it’s time to reassess. Are they meeting your needs? Is there more they can offer (payroll, FMLA tracking, COBRA compliance, or LMS software) to make your HR processes more robust?
You may already have a program in place to reward and recognize your employees, but now would be a good time to formalize a program.
As your company continues to grow, it should be an exciting time for you and your workforce, but just remember your building blocks. As long as you have that firm foundation, adjusting to change should not throw you too much of a curveball. If you’ve laid the proper blocks, everything should seamlessly connect (see what we did there?), allowing you to focus on your company and employees’ success.