This is the third in a series of four articles on how to manage new business development vs. day-to-day operations.
Operating a small business, whether it has a staff of one or 100, involves a myriad of complex liability and compliance issues that can distract from actually building the business. There is an alphabet soup of employer rules and regulations, such as ADA, FMLA, HIPAA, INA, OSHA and dozens of others – and all these can confuse even the brightest and most savvy entrepreneur.
Without years of human resources (HR) expertise, small business owners can become overwhelmed by the time-consuming regulations that demand their attention, or worse, make costly missteps.
There are hundreds of local, state and federal regulations. Preparing and updating employee handbooks and policies, posting workplace safety notices, and filling out (and properly storing) employee paperwork easily occupies precious time and resources that a CEO needs to devote to growing new business and serving existing customers.
The financial burden of regulatory compliance also can drain a business owner’s resources. Small businesses spend 36 percent more than their larger counterparts to comply each year, according to a 2010 report by the Small Business Association’s Office of Advocacy. The cost of non-compliance, however, can run into the thousands of dollars – lost cash a small business can ill afford. Add a business owner’s anxiety that he may be making mistakes, and regulations become a true burden.
Resources are available to help alleviate an owner’s liability burden – and without hiring a full-time employment attorney or HR staff. An HR-outsourcing company can provide valuable insight and guidance, and may even provide businesses with template tools such as employee handbooks. Access to tools designed and vetted by experts not only saves time puzzling through pages of regulations, they can help prevent falling into loopholes and mistakes.
Regulatory help does not stop at forms. An outside HR expert also can help lead important employee training sessions on workplace safety and anti-harassment, freeing up even more of managers’ time for finding that new customer or expanding an existing one.
In addition to compliance training and tools, some outsourcing companies help manage liabilities by offering a co-employment arrangement in which the business owner and outsourcing company employ the staff. Often, this employment relationship allows a small business owner to share or transfer some of the employer-related liabilities, helping to further ease the burden.
Regulatory compliance can be a daunting aspect of running a company, but enlisting the help of an HR advisor may provide relief while freeing up needed time and resources to sell new business and tackle the competition.
Next week: Cultivate employees to grow your company.