You may start out as a corporation of one- just you, by yourself at your dinner table: making sales, helping customers online, writing invoices, cutting checks. But that’s not the dream, is it? A small business you can run yourself may be the dream for some, but many entrepreneurs see something bigger. They see a bustling business with happy employees and happy customers exchanging plenty of money for plenty of products. But it has to start somewhere.
Even though you’re a corporation of one right now, and your growth may not necessarily include additional employees in the near future, here are the steps you’ll want to start taking to plan your HR needs. These steps will also work for a growing business that already has employees.
Step One: Prepare a forecast. – This is where you anticipate how many employees you’ll need in the future. The longer you’ve been in business, the more accurate your number will be because you can look at your growth in the past and forecast based on those numbers. For example, if your business has grown by 25% in the past three years, there’s a good chance that you’ll need at least one employee in the very near future. However, if your experience in the industry suggests that this could be a quiet year, you may include that in your planning, too. So your business’s history and your industry experience will be your guide in Step One as you consider the supply and demand of your product.
Step Two: Develop an HR inventory. – This is fairly easy for most small businesses: there’s just one of you! But if you’re a growing business with a couple of employees already, that should figure into your planning, too. Do you forecast a need for ten employees but currently have 2? Simple math suggests you need eight additional employees. As you grow, this step becomes more important as you factor employee turnover into the equation, too.
Step Three: Develop a job analysis. – This could be the hardest part of the process; you’ll need to figure out what each person will do even though you haven’t hired them yet. Of course, this level of planning isn’t going to be airtight and may change over time, but it will give you an idea about what you’ll be getting people to do and it can help you train your current employees if their job description doesn’t currently match the job description that they’ll have when you have more employees. Don’t forget that any current employees will be managing the ones hired after them so be sure to include in your job analysis some management-level tasks.
Step Four: Prepare a comprehensive plan. – This is going to be the most time consuming of the steps, but it is the most critical. This step will give you the path you’ll take in order to successfully integrate new employees into your business. It should include budgeting for future wages and it should include training techniques to bring current employees up to the skill level you want them to be at. For employees that you have yet to hire, prioritize to determine who you’ll hire first. For every anticipated position, include goal dates in which you’d like to have people hired by and work backwards by 3 to 6 months (or more, depending on the employment situation in your area) to start advertising and interviewing. Write down where you’ll advertise and the skill set you’re going to need.
These 4 steps will help you plan your way to HR success. Include this as part of your business plan and review it on a regular basis to see if your needs have changed.