Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of articles written by experts addressing issues of concern to business owners as part of PennLive’s series “Black Owned Businesses: stories of struggle and success â.
Congratulations! You have made the decision to own your own business. Now what! Where am I going? What do I do? So many questions.
I manage the human resources of Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc., a Harrisburg-based nonprofit with offices in nearly 150 communities in 29 states and the District of Columbia. I work with each new Area Manager to help them recruit, hire and onboard staff.
It is important to have your mission or vision statement in place, as this will help you in the areas of advertising and recruiting. You need to be strategic about where you post your ads and write clear job descriptions in order to attract the right people. Be careful not to spend too much money to pay for expensive advertising / recruiting platforms, as there are many places you can use for free or at low cost (e.g. local community boards, colleges, career boards, social media , word of mouth).
When it comes to hiring your workers, make sure you’ve researched the documents required for the job. For example, most employees will need the basics of a W-4, I-9 hire letter; however, if your business works with young people, additional permissions are required. If you use independent contractors, a W-9 will be required as well as a document describing the obligations and terms of remuneration. The Internal Revenue Service is a good resource to use in this process.
Another thing is to make sure your office has the mandatory workplace posters set up for employees. A good resource would be the Department of Labor and your local government website. You should also have an employee handbook informing your employees about these business policies. You can use Google for sample rules. I personally recommend using Human resources management company to help you create forms and policies for your business. You should also make sure that you have secured the appropriate liability coverages for your business and your employees.
You also need to determine whether you want to process payroll in-house or outsource it. If you want to offer benefits to your employees, you can contact local health insurers and request a quote or consult the health care.gov. In my experience, providing healthcare is a great way to attract and retain people. If you can’t afford health care, there are other voluntary products you can offer.
You have to be creative! Retention is tricky because there are so many reasons people stay or leave. In my experience, people don’t leave an employer, they leave a boss. So make sure that as an employer you value your employees who report to you and other leaders. Listen and give everyone an opportunity for growth and give them a platform to express themselves.
You also want to make sure that you are offering competitive salaries. Check what your competitor is paying. There are many free tools such as Payscale.com which can be used to help in this area. In short, starting a new business can be scary, but if you take the time to do your research, you increase the chances of having great success.
Naomi Frazier is the Head of Human Resources for a local non-profit Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. She has over 20 years of experience in human resources and payroll. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and is a certified SHRM-CP. She can be reached at email@example.com.