HR Consultant - McGeachy Consulting




Posts tagged HR Strategy
HR 101 for Small Businesses

How to create an HR plan when you don’t even have a real HR department or you’re barely keeping up as it is.There are two kinds of people who read this type of post: the ones who read the title and think, “Excellent, I can create an HR plan” and those who read the title and think, “How on earth am I supposed to create an HR plan when I barely have time to actually do HR as it is?”

Download the HR Planning calendar.

When you’re swamped with the day to day of just keeping your business running, even doing HR can slip down the priority list, much less creating an HR plan for the year. But if that sounds like you, I’d really encourage you to rethink your perspective, because good people management is one of the cornerstones of a strong business. And with that in mind, I’m going to simplify HR planning for you as much as possible.

Here’s what absolutely has to get done.

Let’s be absolutely honest here — in most cases, no federal, state, or local authority is going to demand that you complete performance reviews, engagement surveys, supervisory training, or even an HR audit of your business. But they do require you to follow the letter of the law when it comes to compensation and benefits. (AKA how and when you pay employees and offer benefits.)

The key to compensation and benefits is paying all employees fairly and consistently. Many of the compensation laws we follow today stem from the 1930s, when labor unions were established to save employees from having to work long, dreadful hours without breaks, without overtime and for very little pay.

Nowadays, break periods and overtime requirements have been legislated federally and in many states as well. When it comes to benefits, we’ve had important acts like the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) among others to protect employees, as well as the more recent Affordable Care Act.

All of these compensation and benefit requirements must be followed closely. But aside from those...

Setting federal and state compensation and benefit requirements aside, you’re pretty much free to determine whether you will have other types of HR practices in your company, including performance reviews, employee engagement surveys, or training.

That being said, after nearly 20 years as an HR professional, I can tell you that these can make or break your company.

When you have these types of HR systems and structures in place, it’s not only better for your overall workplace culture and productivity, it’s also a great foundation for a defense against employee complaints or worse, a dreaded lawsuit. But, as I said, it’s not strictly required.

So at the very least, you need to think about whether you need to include these things in your calendar...

HR planning Supervisory training HR audit Employee engagement surveys Non-harassment training Non-discrimination training All employee off-site meetings Leadership retreat Performance reviews 1:1 meetings with direct reports Employee handbook review Workforce communications Leadership training Regular staff/team meetings

Your next step:

With the items you selected from the list above, begin to pencil them in on you calendar. Even if some of them aren’t happening for a few months, it’s nice to have a plan in place.



A plan will ensure that you include all of the important aspects of creating a workplace where people thrive yet at a cadence that is manageable for your small business. Get your HR Planning Calendar download today!


Love practical tips for creating an exceptional business? We’ve got loads more in The Exceptional Workplace! We help small business leaders (CEO, Owners, HR, Controllers) cultivate exceptional workplaces through strong HR and people practices. Learn more here.

How to make your small business an amazing place to work

So you founded your business and dove headfirst into all the excitement and drama of growth and success. Now it’s months or years later, and you’ve suddenly realized that your HR strategy (people practices) is pretty much nonexistent. You might be one of the lucky ones who just happen to have found a minute to breathe and focus on your people practices … or you might have had a serious problem come up in the business that’s forcing you to address your HR game plan fast. Either way, I’ve got good news for you: creating an exceptional workplace grounded in solid, sustainable people practices is easier than you think.

Know this first: there is no magical window of time in which to develop your HR strategy


Right now you’re probably asking yourself loads of questions, like “What am I doing to actually manage the people side of my business?”, “Is there a better way to do this?”, or the gut-clenching, “Am I even in compliance?” As scary as that can feel you’re actually in a good place.

There is no “right” time in starting, growing, and owning a business to ask these questions. A lot of clients come to me really embarrassed about the state of their people practices, or worried that they’ve somehow missed the window of time in which they should have been developing their HR strategy. The truth is, there’s no perfect time to start developing your people practices, so you can let go of any guilt or “should-have” feelings!

Start with an audit

I always recommend that you start with a baseline HR audit to get a really good understanding of how things stand right now in your business. During the audit, take a detailed look at all of the aspects of your business that touch employees: recruitment, training, onboarding, employee relations, compensation, benefits and workforce communication. You may choose to conduct an HR audit on your own or work with an HR Consultant or Employment Attorney who have expertise in this area.

Then use what you find as a baseline to understand what you’re doing well, and what you need to focus on to cultivate excellence.


Ask your employees too

Audits are great in that they give you a lot of hard data about your business, but they’re also inherently limited, especially when it comes to qualitative, softer data, so you need to make sure you’re asking your workforce what they think too.

You can do this really easily with a simple employee engagement survey, followed up quarterly with a NPS survey, which is a 1 - 2 question survey that gives you a quick “temperature check” of your business and lets employees give open-ended feedback.

Then take it even further.

Once you have this really powerful combination of hard data and insight into your employees’ thoughts and feelings, you can start working towards excellence. Identify at least one area where you could change or improve, and make that a priority for the quarter.

You’ll know that you’re actually working on something that needs improvement (instead of just shooting in the dark) because of your baseline audit, and you’ll have an easy way to check in with the results of your changes in your quarterly NPS survey. With this kind of information, the sky really is the limit, so dream big — and enjoy the benefits of a business people love working for.


Love practical tips for creating an exceptional business? We’ve got loads more in The Exceptional Workplace! We help small business leaders (CEO, Owners, HR, Controllers) cultivate exceptional workplaces through strong HR and people practices. Learn more here.