5 HR Practices Entrepreneurs should Promote in their Organization When performance problems arise, aim to nip them in the bud by addressing them during performance check-ins

By Jaydeep Das

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It is practically unrealistic to build a business without building people as the key capital that drives business is "people' involved in it. Owning and managing a small business implies that the entrepreneur ends up taking up multiple roles, from sales to finance to human resources. However, doing so may lead to costly mistakes in terms of time & money having serious consequences on the business.We should avoid over analysing and resultantly paralyzing our thought process.

Five Basic Aspects Can Ensure a Near Perfect Move when It Comes To Human Resource:

1. People Hiring: Alongside Skill& Knowledge, it is equally critical to consider the cultural fitment & shared vision aspects. Ensuring an alignment of purpose of the position with the purpose of the job applicant brings out personal & professional aspiration being met as their purpose of being on the job.

It is essential to develop a consistent interview process. Some common pit-falls in dealing with recruitments are: inadequate job descriptions that result in attracting less-than-best candidates to a hurried interview process that results in hiring "warm bodies," hiring mistakes can be detrimental to any business, especially to any start-up. It is prudent to always rely on a selection committee as collective wisdom is much better than a single point for all hiring decisions.

No desperate hiring please! Rather surround yourself with a great team by picking people who are smart, talented and driven by passion; employees who share your vision. They can transform your business & accelerate growth. Hiring positive, can-do employees help create a culture that fosters an enabling environment in which everyone participates.

2. People Friendly Policies: While the job description says what is to be done, a good set of policy defines the boundary within which it is to be done keeping in view the values professed by the organization. People friendly policy is a positive starting point in this regard. Care should be taken that the employees are empowered to mould their work environment within the boundaries defined. Judicious adherence to the legal requirement is a pre-requirement for any start-up business as this keeps the enforcement authorities at bay and helps the entrepreneur to solely focus on the business.

The Policy (handbook) forms the basis of agreement on service conditions with the staff member. This needs to be signed off during acceptance of the offer and every time it is amended. A handbook can be developed in adherence to the legal provisions by engaging a seasoned HR professional in the absence of in-house resources.

3. A Well-defined Progress Path: When business owners invest in their employees, they in turn invest back in the business. This investment demonstrated by various training opportunities for employees can be mapped through a simple tool in the form of individual professional development plans for employees.

Ambiguity at the inception can lead to a non-performing or mediocre performance; however, clarity about current job role & growth opportunities can shift the performance gear to the fast lane. Growth can be vertical or horizontal wherein individual is skilled and made more capable. As an entrepreneur, you got to have good employee retention and promote growth within the organization by equipping staff. New employee orientation program is one of the standardized and common initiatives that must be implemented. This will inculcate a sense of commitment in the minds of the new employee early on and thereby increase ownership.

4. The Pay Philosophy: It is strongly advised to work out a fair and equitable "Total Rewards' philosophy based on external benchmarking on the quantum of pay-out & best of compensation plans.

An agile and motivated work-force is any organization's greatest asset, and as an entrepreneur, it is absolutely critical to make sure that they are fully satisfied with their role in the organization. Potential benefits of taking care of your employee's needs and wants by way of total rewards philosophy are boosted-up morale, high productivity, commitment, and lower attrition. Monetary and non-monetary rewards & recognition initiatives in line with the financial capacity of the organization can do wonders.

5. Performance Driven Culture for Positive Impact: Performance drives the success of any business or organization. A documented performance agreement carved out of clear expectations aligned with organizational goals would be the desired starting point. Ensure consistency and fairness by applying performance criteria to all employees.

Encourage employees to do a self-evaluation and if your view of an employee and the employee's view of himself or herself do not fairly match, it is a signal not to be ignored. When performance problems arise, aim to nip them in the bud by addressing them during performance check-ins. Be honest about poor performance, but not brutal. Absence of proper documentation will precipitate any legal challenge that may crop up by any disgruntled staff. While documenting may seem time-consuming, but it can serve as valuable evidence should a termination be necessary.

Ensure that constant communications aimed at development are taking place; if the business size is small to have a systematic performance reviews. However, never send the message that performance isn't critical. Delegation with implied autonomy to achieve those stated goals would be typical enablers added to coaching & timely feed-forward.

A quarterly performance check-in would make more sense in a start-up vis-a-vis an annual performance discussion. Proactive solutions, newer ideas, emerging trends, and real-life disruptions can positively challenge any business and all of that stems out of a fully engaged workforce and not otherwise.

Jaydeep Das

HR & Admin Director, ChildFund India

Jaydeep provides leadership to ChildFund India as the Director HR & Administration. He is based out of Bangalore. Prior to association with ChildFund India he has performed senior leadership roles in World Vision India in the not-for- profit sector and healthcare industry.

Jaydeep is an accomplished HR professional with 19 plus years of progressive & solid experience in managing the broadest range of HR disciplines in people-centric, complex, dynamic and cross-cultural business environments. He has an MBA & an LLB to his credential.

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