No HR, No Problem: Tools and Resources for Small Businesses


What is HR and why is it important for businesses both small and large to implement certain practices.

Human resources, or HR, is in charge of managing everything from recruiting and hiring employees, to payroll, vacation time, benefits, and many other things. Those in HR have many responsibilities and also have to be aware of the many state and federal laws that need to be followed.

A small business that has 50 or fewer employees may not have room in the budget for a full-time HR department. This means that many HR processes need to be organized early before the business opens or you bring on additional staff.

This article will outline ways that small business owners can easily implement HR mechanisms without hiring an HR representative. It will detail the automation of the hiring and onboarding processes and establishing ways for employees to resolve conflicts and provide anonymous feedback.

How to Choose the Right Business HR Software

HR software to keep track of hours worked, accumulated and used time off and other benefits will save you a lot of time.

There are a variety of HR solutions, but the following three represent the different levels of services offered:

Core HR

This represents a simpler option
Allows job applicants to create profiles to search and apply for jobs
Improved payroll accuracy with automation of time and collection
Manage shift patters

Strategic HR Inc

This software solution offers more tools than the very basic options
Check compliance with regulations and laws
Employee surveys
Develop, track, and manage employee benefits
Develop support and training and career coaching

Integrated HR Solutions

Not a software solution, but a consultant
Offers a customizable solution
Assists clients with their HR needs and fill in gaps that are missing
Provides training and consulting on a variety of HR and employee issues

Hiring for Small Businesses

As a small business owner, you will have to take on both the interviewing and screening processes when hiring new employees. While this seems like a simple process, there are many regulations and laws that you need to keep in mind. Here are some steps to help make sure you are in compliance with screening processes.

The most important step is to create a consistent screening and hiring process before you begin. That way when screening and interviewing potential employees, you have a process to follow for everyone that you know maintains laws and regulations.

You don’t want to treat one potential hire differently from another, this can lead to accusations of discrimination or favoritism down the road.

Here are sevens steps for an employment screening process:

      1. Not all positions will require a background check, or even the same level of background check. So, it is necessary to define what positions require a background check.
      2. Determine what you need to verify for each position: I.e. education, criminal history, employment history, driving records etc.
      3. What criteria are disqualifying for a position? Similar to an apartment rental screening, you may want to reconsider your choices if a prospective employee has a criminal history, lack of employment history, etc.
      4. Who will do the screening? While there is a service charge, it will be easier for a third-party company to do the screening, that way you know you will remain in compliance of laws.
      5. Decide when in the hiring process will do a background check
      6. Understand the laws and regulations regarding screening, for example, FCRA requirements, EEOC guidelines, and anti-discrimination laws
      7. Select a screening service, a traditional screening company or an online screening service

For more information on what to consider when developing a screening procedure, please see: Creating An Effective Employment Screening Policy

Here are some things to remember when interviewing people:

      1. Have a clear understanding of which job skills are essential for the position.
      2. Request the applicants provide a work sample or portfolio to discuss
      3. Have a set of questions to ask in an interview and ask them of every applicant.

Again, you want to ask the same set of questions for each interview. While the flow of the conversation might lead you in different directions, you want to make sure that you cover the same ground each time.


HR software can help you track employee payroll, vacation and sick time, and health insurance.

Here are three suggestions for software:

Comply with Labor Laws

Understand and comply with all laws as they relate to compensation, working conditions, and anti-discrimination practices

Some areas of the law seem clear cut, such as employee privacy: as a rule, there is no personal privacy when using company equipment and working on the company time. But what do you do if an employee is using their own personal device, such as a smartphone for work?

Acquire resources, attend training, or consult with a lawyer when you don’t fully understand an aspect of the law

Attorney Charles H. Fleischer, provides an overview of these requirements in The SHRM Essential Guide to Employment Law: A Handbook for HR Professionals, Businesses and Organizations. This can be a helpful resource as a business owner, however, for questions on laws I recommended speaking with a lawyer and having a lawyer review any HR procedures to make sure they comply with the law.

For a more detailed summer of some tricky issues with HR law, please see: How to Stay in Compliance with Employment Laws.


Human resources is an important aspect of a business. An HR department can help you with finding and hiring new employees, keep track of payroll and benefits for existing employees, and help organize continuing training and education. HR employees are usually updated and informed on any laws and regulations that a company needs to be in compliance with as well.

But not every company can afford to have a dedicated HR manager or department.

While you may still want to consider hiring an HR consultant for tricky issues, HR policies in the beginning. using HR software will help you go along way on your own as well. Find resources to help you navigate some of the tasks usually assigned to HR will help tremendously in managing your business.

Author Bio

Emily Banks is a Bay Area native who got tired of San Francisco’s cold beaches, so she moved to San Diego. She is currently the Editor for the HR section of 365 Business as well as a marketing expert for an online bathroom faucet supplier. When she is not typing away on her keyboard, she can be found eating street tacos in the sunshine.



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