Managing HR Without an HR Manager

You’ve started your small business and are seeing success. Congrats! But now orders are pouring in at a rate faster than you can handle and you need help. It’s time to make your first hire. But how do you manage your new human resources when you’re not yet a big enough company to hire an HR Manager? Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. The Legal Paperworknot as bad as it sounds.
  • Form i-9 – Every employee is required to prove their eligibility to work in the US within three days of their first date of employment. Use the instructions on the i-9 to learn what forms of ID are acceptable for verification. Take out the hassle of verifying the information by registering with E-Verify. Employers are required to keep the form on file for the duration of employment. After that, the form must be retained for three years after the date of hire, or one year after the date of termination, whichever is later.
  • Form W-4 – You will also need this form for each employee. This is where employees communicate the amount of federal taxes they need withheld from their gross earnings. The W-4 is due on or before the first date of employment.
  • Form W-2 – At the end of the calendar year, you will provide each employee the W-2 form to illustrate their earnings and tax withholdings for the year. The W-2 is due by January 31st each year.
  • State Tax Forms – Depending on the location of your organization, you may also be required to withhold state income taxes. Even if the state where your business is located doesn’t have an income tax, you may have employees who reside in a state that does, and you will be required to withhold state income taxes from their paychecks.
  • New Hire Reporting – Now that your employee is onboard, you need to report that to the state, usually within 20 days of their hire. Click here to learn about the new hire reporting requirements for your state. Some payroll companies will do this for you, so be sure to ask.
  1. Protect Your Businessyour new team is part of your business, so take care of it.
  • Workers Compensation Insurance – All employers are required to carry this insurance on their employees. Any commercial insurance carrier can help you select the right level of coverage for your needs. Pricing will vary depending on your state and industry.
  • OSHA – The Occupational Safety and Health Association works to ensure that all workers have a safe place to work. Create documents such as Emergency Action Plans, Fire Escape Routes, and First Aid Kits to ensure a safe working environment. Depending on your industry, you may also be required to record and maintain certain OSHA logs. Look here for more information.
  • Posting Requirements – You’ll also need to post material that explains employee rights and employer responsibilities under federal labor laws. There are a number of places to order these posters. Remember that labor laws change frequently, so make sure that your posters are current.
  1. Get Organizedcover yourself, but not in mountains of loose paperwork.
  • Personnel Files – Keep a paper or scanned electronic file on each employee. For easy access, keep i-9 forms in a separate location. Note that all medical information, including doctor’s excuses, must be kept separate from the employee’s personnel file.
  • Document, Document, Document –Establish rules and guidelines for employee behavior and be able to demonstrate that you’ve communicated those expectations to your staff. The personnel file tells the story of an employee’s career with your company, both the good and the not-so-good. A thorough and complete employment record is vital to your success in managing HR. And unlike a medical file, an HR file is typically viewed as property of the company, not the employee. Check with your state for rules and regulations governing the retention and distribution of personnel records.
  • HRIS Systems – As you grow, an HRIS (Human Resources Information System) can help you to obtain and track employee information without the hassle of paper files. There are a number of providers available to help meet the specific needs of your organization. Click here to take advantage of a free vendor match service to find the best HRIS system for your company.

Sure, all of this may seem like a nuisance, but the whole point of HR is to protect and maintain a positive relationship between the employer and the employees. Taking the necessary steps to treat your human capital fairly is vital to having a healthy and happy team, and when you have a healthy and happy team, your business is the beneficiary.