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COVID-19. Tackle your HR for Small Business Projects

COVID-19. Tackle your HR for Small Business Projects

As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, small businesses are especially susceptible to an economic slowdown, but this may be an opportunity to dust off your HR for small business projects. 

Wage Subsidies + Open for Business = Idle Workers.
Or does it?

Unfortunately, if you’ve applied and are anticipating benefiting from wage subsidies, loans and other programs being made available to small business, it means that your business is experiencing a significant slowdown. 

This probably also means that some of your staff will continue to be paid, but may not have much work to keep them busy.

Or does it?

Spring Clean the Business & Up your Future Game

You bet there’s work to do.

Many of us at home are tending to all those home projects that we never had time for - or if we’re honest – weren’t sexy enough to sink our teeth into. Garage? Sorting digital photos? Junk drawers? Or upping our personal game - learning a new language? Meditation? Finally getting those killer abs?  

Similarly, when business is slow and your workforce is still intact with the help of subsidies, it may be a good time to spring clean your business so you’re ready to hit the ground running with amped up practices when the dust settles.  Keep your people busy with purpose and something they can sink their teeth into, for example, CRM, website, payroll, or HR projects.

An Opportunity to Up your HR Game

Now is the time to get your HR projects and employee handbook started and over the finish line. 

HR- Limited Resources

HR is typically the most under resourced function in any business.  Consider how many resources are available to IT or the accounting function and compare those with resources available to help manage your workforce – where your workforce represents the largest expense in your financial statements.

As a small business, you likely have limited HR practices in place.  If you have HR support, I’ll assume HR is a department of 1, or more realistically .2 FTE that typically looks like your controller doing HR from the side of their desk.

The HR Keener

I’ve worked with over 50 companies in my career, mostly small business. With few exceptions, there was always someone – usually in an administrative role - interested in getting into the field of HR. Those of us who work for small businesses are accustomed to wearing many different hats and are the perfect candidate for taking on an HR project. Sounds to me like you’ve got the perfect people for the job.

Fun fact:  I began my HR career by volunteering to take on an audit-imminent employment equity project that no one wanted to tackle.  It was a yawn-athon but got me hooked into HR and I never looked back.   

When working with small business, I often harnessed the eagerness of HR keeners, both out of self interest and to provide them with a new career opportunity. I’ve involved these individuals in employee orientation, absence tracking, employee handbook and intranet initiatives. It always amazes me how much value these individuals bring to the table.  

Step-by-Step HR Spring Cleaning

Here are some suggestions for what you or your HR keener can do to get some of those long-forgotten HR programs over the finish line during COVID-19.   

  1. Start chipping away at your most important HR projects.

    1. Employee Handbook

    2. Going paperless with a pre-assembled directory of Electronic HR Folders 

    3. Orientation materials

    4. Job Descriptions

    5. Recruiting Processes

    6. Manager guides

    7. Employment and Independent Contractor Agreements

    8. Other Kits

  2. Ask for volunteer(s) to connect with their inner HR keener to help you – essentially helping them since HR is all about them and the rest of the staff. 
    With the exception of contracts and electronic folders, a keen volunteer can provide tremendous value and more importantly a fresh perspective on your HR.

  3. Use ConnectsUs HR Resource Center for Small Business where they will find step by step resources and kits to create HR fundamentals which also includes:

  • COVID-19 resources, templates, FAQ's and legal updates and announcements 
  • Resources to help organize staffing and rehiring of employees you had to let go during the pandemic

When the World Normalizes

Use these resources to "batten down the hatches" and create air tight policies and procedures, decreasing liability by ensuring up-to-date compliance, providing information that brings people together, aligns your staff, and helps them work together towards a common goal: business as usual! 

The world will normalize. Guaranteed.

In the meantime, get your HR fundamentals in place so that when we come out of our caves, your business will be ready with its game-on face. 



Ariane Laird Vancouver

Ariane Laird is CEO & Founder of ConnectsUs HR, a company that provides tools & resources to quickly set up a Human Resources department.  
You can contact her directly from the Inquiry Type drop down menu.