One morning while I was CTO at a small company, I was asked to set up systems for a new employee who was starting that day, and had already arrived at the office. This was complete news to me, but not a big issue. When I spoke to the new employee and said that I would set up her computer for our systems she said that no-one had told her that we were a BYOD company. This caused a scramble to find a temporary computer she could use. By mid-day I had the temporary machine set up and she was able to start her work.

This incident illustrated several significant issues common to many start-up and early stage companies:

  • The employee was faced with unexpected expenses. She might have walked away from the job on that basis
  • She was unproductive for the first critical day on the job
  • There was no opportunity of setting up systems in advance, since there was no advance notice of the hiring
  • Most other employees were left wondering how their jobs would be affected by this unannounced change in staffing

What went wrong? There were no on-boarding procedures in place. In fact, there were few procedures of any sort in place. Most things were done ad-hoc, despite repeated warnings that this would cause problems. Resources were never assigned to create and publish procedures.

Off-boarding procedures are perhaps even more critical. When an employee walks out the door the last time, it is critical that a planned hand-over of company materials and information be done. If the separation is amicable, nothing will usually go expensively wrong. However, if the parting is not amicable, expensive equipment may not be returned, and worse, critical information may be compromised or lost.

Based on our own experiences, we can assist your young company in setting procedures in place, with safeguards to protect you and your company. Contact us at joe (you know what goes here) MiFaras.com for assistance in creating, implementing, and using policies that will make for happier employees and lower risks to you and your company.

HR Policies and Procedures

Policies and Procedures for HR (Human Resources) issues are critical. Without them you will get into trouble. Most small businesses work on the “We’re all friends” basis of personal interaction. That seldom works long-term even between two individuals, let along a growing company. At a minimum, you should consult an HR professional with expertise in your jurisdiction, and ask what are the critical essentials.

How do you interview prospective employees? Which questions may you ask, and which will open you to a discrimination suit? How and how often do you review performance? Is your promotion process fair and transparent? What do you do with under-performing individuals? How do you deal with workplace harassment or illegal activities? How do you terminate an employee’s employment? What termination packages will reduce the probability of subsequent problems? What policies will make your business an attractive target for talented employees?

Related to HR policies are policies and procedures related to workplace safety. Your local jurisdiction’s legal requirements are only a minimum. Meeting the mere minimum does not contribute to acquiring and retaining top talent. Top talent want more, and are prepared to look elsewhere. Even if they work for you, they will not produce their best work if they are sitting in an uncomfortable chair with a draft or a noisy fan. Keeping employees happy and productive is much cheaper than dealing with high turn-over.

All it takes is one disgruntled employee or recent employee to turn your successful, growing business into an expensive legal quagmire. CYA: get this one right, right at the start!