It goes without saying that for any new business startup there is a virtual labyrinth of steps and processes to be navigated. Unless it is a sole proprietor operator, there is one commonality which links all businesses, regardless of industry sector or business scale – the human asset.
Human Resources is very often seen as something of an ‘add-on’, and often simplified as the ‘hiring and firing’ department. Seen as something of a new innovation in business practices, HR and staff management is typically not accorded the same degree of importance as sales or marketing, when overall commercial success is considered.
For the new business startup, re-thinking that attitude might well spell the difference between success and failure.
Your staff will be your greatest key to success
The term ‘human resources’ is commonly bandied around and for most people it is taken to mean the department which handles staff. Let’s investigate the term a little closer – the word ‘resource’ refers to an asset which can be drawn upon to ensure an organization functions efficiently.
It bodes well to enter a business startup with the mindset that staff are an asset, not simply a necessity. In fact, those employees represent the greatest asset the business will acquire, when potential commercial success is considered.
Understanding your obligations to employees
When viewed from this perspective – that human assets are the greatest driver of business success – it becomes apparent that a greater importance must be placed on related matters of employee selection, training and remuneration.
Naturally, federal laws exist to protect the rights of workers. Wage and hour laws exist to make sure employers treat employees fairly and the sheer number of claims perhaps points to a need for employers to address the issue with a greater sense of responsibility.
Dependent on the scale of the startup and the number of proposed employees in the new venture, it benefits the business proprietor to ensure they are fully briefed on their legal obligations with respect to staff. For a small scale operation, this may be a fairly simple exercise. For a more complex operation, this may involve consultation with an employment law specialist in the business planning stage.
Many new business startups do not have the benefit of a dedicated HR manager, and typically the proprietor or general manager is required to wear many hats, so to speak. Staff recruitment is a skilled procedure and should not be underestimated. Worker disharmony is reported to be a major cause of fledgling business failures.
Relying upon the business founder’s staff, choices may result in staffing decisions which lack objectivity. Contracting the expertise of a professional recruitment agency is highly recommended.
The importance of induction and training
Equipping new workers with appropriate local and task specific knowledge and training cannot be underestimated. Typically this is an area which is not given enough forethought or consideration, particularly with smaller scale startups, which do not enjoy the benefit of dedicated HR and training staff.
Ensure that appropriate induction material is developed early, as part of the business plan.
A key secret of enduring business success lies in the understanding of the vital importance of the ‘human asset’ to the organization. A good choice of workers can take the business to where it wants to go, and it greatly benefits the canny business manager to think of human resources as a continual work in progress – nurture it well and the business will grow and flourish.