So many managers and business owners have said that their company's most valuable asset is their people that it's become a cliché-the good kind, that everyone knows to be true.
But each employee brings his or her own set of skills and qualities to the company dynamic. This can either be a good thing, or a really, really bad thing.
Every human resources decision you make can have a ripple effect that may reach to the company's balance sheet and beyond. Here are a few that have the biggest impact.
Deciding Whom to Hire
When a new hire doesn't work out and either leaves voluntarily or has to be terminated, this can cost quite a bit of money. The resources spent on the hiring and training processes are lost, with more money going on the line to hire the next recruit. These are not the only costs. Morale and productivity suffer as other employees must put their own work aside to cover the missing person's duties. If the terminated employee dealt harshly with customers, some of them may never return.
On the one hand, you can't hire someone just because you like them, only to find out they don't really have the skills and experience you thought they did. On the other hand, if you hire someone who has all of the necessary qualifications, other parts of the equation may be lacking. They may lack so-called "soft skills," including vital communication or people skills and may simply be a bad fit for the company culture.
Deciding How to Hire Them
In order to find someone who really is a good fit for the job, you need to make a set of decisions in order to set up the system that will find this person. If the hiring process is aimed at filling positions quickly rather than carefully, you may be hiring for the same job over and over. If your job listings are too generic and don't describe in detail exactly what skills and characteristics you're looking for, you may get bombarded with resumes from all the wrong people. The extra costs of using assessment testing or even hiring a recruiter may ultimately save money, especially for higher-level jobs.
Decisions About Benefits Packages
Another component of finding the right people for the job is deciding to offer the kinds of benefits that attract the right candidates. What's most important may depend on the demographic your employees fall into. For example, work-life balance is becoming more important to younger workers, who appreciate flexible schedules and the ability to work from home.
But all candidates are interested in their personal bottom line, although they may be coy about it during an interview. Anything that can net them more money or save them some money is interesting to them. Offering health coverage has become standard and is now required by law to avoid penalties, but employees, especially those with families, find value in life insurance from a reputable company such as State Farm. Holiday or performance-linked bonuses are also very attractive and can boost company morale. And don't discount the attractiveness of such seemingly little things as the annual company picnic.
Decisions About Company Rules
Company HR rules can make employee working lives either productive and smooth or disrupted and unhappy. In some cases, a work environment can be outright hostile to someone's wellbeing. A good employee manual clearly describes the company's rules for professional behavior. Putting the rules and the consequences for not following them into black and white lays the groundwork for a respectful company culture, and may even avoid some lawsuits down the road.
Decisions about company fraternization rules need to be made with special care. While romances between workers and their superiors can have destructive consequences, not all office romances do. Academic studies have actually shown that some office romances actually have a positive impact on employees who find their eventual spouses at work, and those relationships actually enhance their effectiveness and teamwork.
Human Resources decisions will affect your company at every level. Taking all related decisions under careful consideration can only improve both the company's culture and its balance sheet.
Author Bio: Miles Young is a freelance writer, designer and business columnist. From State Farm employee life insurance policies to BYOD, Miles has covered it all.
(Image: via shutterstock.com)