Small company? Don't make these big personnel mistakes
A good employment law attorney will save you from some mistakes, but be careful to steer clear of these mishaps.
In a large corporation, you may have an HR department and layers of management to help you deal with your workforce. But if you run a small business, you’re on your own, and a single misstep can paralyze you. A good employment law attorney will save you from some mistakes, but be careful to steer clear of these mishaps:
• Treating employees like family. You probably want to establish a close-knit, friendly workplace, but you’ll run into trouble if you don’t establish some boundaries. Treat employees with respect and consideration, of course, but remember that they’re employees with their own needs, which won’t always mesh with yours.
• Last in, first out. During a business downturn, you may be forced to lay employees off. As painful as this can be, don’t compound your difficulties by rewarding “loyalty” over performance. When you make your decision, concentrate on keeping your best people, regardless of how long they’ve been with you.
• Neglecting the law. Some employment laws don’t apply to companies with fewer than 50 employees, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay attention to the rules regarding withholding, discrimination, or other critical issues. And don’t assume you can smooth things over with a disgruntled employee before he or she calls a lawyer. Play it safe, consult with your attorney, and follow the law to the letter.
• Delaying a necessary termination. Firing someone is never easy or enjoyable, and many managers put it off as long as possible. But in a small organization, one person’s poor performance can make problems for everyone. When an employee isn’t pulling his or her weight, don’t hesitate to pull the plug—or you may endanger your business as a whole.
—Adapted from the AllBusiness website
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