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Human Resources Checklist For Small Businesses

Small businesses often don't have the same human resources staff as larger businesses. This can lead to a lack of standardization and process in hiring, onboarding, and managing employees. To help small businesses create a human resources process, we've created a checklist of the most important tasks.

1. Define Hiring And Onboarding

When you are defining the hiring and onboarding process for your small business, there are some factors to consider. Perhaps most importantly, you need to ensure that the process is legal and compliant with all applicable laws and regulations.

You also need to consider the needs of your business and the specific skills and experience that each role requires. Additionally, you want to make sure that you have a clear understanding of each step in the process, including advertising, screening, interviewing, onboarding, and training.

When you have selected a candidate, make sure you have the following items ready.

  • Offer Letter

  • Employment Contract

  • Employee Information for Payroll

  • I-9 Employment Verification

man and woman shaking hand after a successful onboarding session along with other employees standing next to them

2. Put Together Policies And Procedures

Any business, no matter how small, should have policies and procedures in place to ensure the safety and well-being of its employees.

  1. Health and safety should be a top priority, with clear guidelines on how to prevent accidents and what to do in the event of an emergency.

  2. Disciplinary and dismissal policies should also be clearly stated, outlining the consequences for breaking company rules.

  3. A code of conduct is also important, setting out expectations for employee behavior.

  4. And finally, sexual harassment, bullying, and drugs should all be addressed in policy, with a zero-tolerance approach to any form of harassment or discrimination.

  5. The termination policy should spell out the procedures for terminating an employee, including how and when notice will be given, what kind of severance, if any, will be paid, and what the appeals process is.

By having these policies and procedures in place, small businesses can create a safe and positive work environment for all employees.

3. Outline Regulations For Labor Law Compliance

Many laws protect workers’ rights in the United States, and employers must comply with these laws to avoid penalties. The most well-known labor law is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which sets standards for minimum wage and overtime pay.

Other important laws include the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which governs union activity, and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), which requires employers to provide a safe and healthy workplace.

To ensure compliance with these and other labor laws, small businesses should have clear policies and procedures in place, and they should train their employees on these policies.

labor law written on a file lying beside a paper, pen, and calculator

4. Determine Compensation And Benefits

When it comes to compensating employees, small businesses have a few different options. They can choose to pay employees based on salary, hourly wages, or commission. The best way to decide which compensation and benefits to offer is to first assess the needs of the business and then the needs of the employees.

For example, if the business is primarily sales-based, then paying employees a commission might be the best option.

On the other hand, if the business has a lot of physical labor involved, then hourly wages might be more appropriate.

As for benefits, offering health insurance is always a good idea, but other benefits like retirement plans and paid time off can be contingent on the business’s budget.

5. Maintain Employee Relationships

Building and maintaining positive employee relationships is critical for any small business. After all, happy employees are typically more productive and less likely to leave their jobs.

There are a number of things that small businesses can do to foster positive employee relations.

  1. First, it's important to provide regular opportunities for employees to give feedback and voice their concerns. This can be done through one-on-one meetings, team discussions, or an anonymous suggestion box.

  2. Additionally, businesses should make an effort to involve employees in decision-making whenever possible. This helps employees feel valued and empowered to make a difference in the company.

  3. Finally, regular recognition and appreciation go a long way toward maintaining positive employee relations. Whether it's a simple thank you or a more formal reward system, showing employees that they are appreciated is crucial to keeping them happy and engaged in their work.

employees and management having a fun moment during a feedback session

6. Training Programs And Performance Management Methods

Many small businesses struggle with employee training and performance management. Without formal programs in place, it can be difficult to ensure that employees are properly trained and that they are meeting company standards.

This can lead to a decline in productivity and an increase in employee turnover. However, there are several steps that small businesses can take to develop effective training programs and performance management methods.

By clearly defining expectations and providing employees with the resources they need to succeed, small businesses can create a positive learning environment that will help to improve employee performance and contribute to the long-term success of the company.

7. Integrate HRIS

A Human Resource Information System (HRIS) is a software application that businesses use to manage employee data. This can include employee benefits, payroll, and time off.

HRIS systems are important for small businesses because they provide a centralized place to store employee data. This can help to minimize paperwork and reduce the chances of errors.

Additionally, HRIS systems can automate some of the repetitive tasks that HR professionals have to do, such as tracking time off or calculating payroll taxes. This can free up HR staff to focus on more strategic tasks, such as recruiting and training.

Kenjo HIRS Dashboard

8. Have Periodic Audits

It is important for small businesses to have periodic audits of their HR plan. By revisiting policies, businesses can stay compliant with changing labor laws and ensure that their policies are up-to-date.

Audits also help to identify any areas where the HR plan may be ineffective. For example, an audit may reveal that employees are not aware of certain policies or that there is a lack of communication between different departments.

Additionally, periodic audits can help you catch any potential problems before they become serious issues. This will help keep your business compliant and running smoothly.


If you're a small business owner, making sure you have all your bases covered when it comes to human resources is crucial. Use this checklist to ensure you've got everything sorted.

And if you need help with any of the items on the list, don't hesitate to get in touch. We're always happy to provide assistance.


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