Lancer Insurance
Tuesday, March 05, 2024

BY AMY COOLEY

Are you new to the passenger transportation industry, having recently opened your own business? Or maybe you aren’t new, but you’ve grown a single car operation to the point where you’ve decided to add a team member or two. In that case, you too ARE a new employer, and with that exciting expansion comes some new considerations. In a small business, your employees may be friends or family members, but it’s still imperative to have the HR basics in place to protect you and your employees and make sure you function well as a team.

These basics will help you manage your business and your team—no matter how small—with consistency, compliance, fairness, and scalability.

1. Hiring and Onboarding
HR Coach Amy Cooley One of the critical HR functions is hiring and onboarding. It involves finding the right candidates, making job offers, and ensuring a smooth onboarding process. Before hiring an employee, small business owners need to identify the essential skills, experience, and qualifications needed for the job. They should create job descriptions for chauffeurs, managers, dispatchers, customer service representatives, maintenance, and any other members of the team. Post these job descriptions on relevant job boards, hiring sites, or social media platforms. The selection process can include conducting interviews, background checks, and reference checks. Once the right candidate is found, make a job offer and negotiate salary and benefits.

The onboarding process begins once the new employee accepts the job offer. It is the process of integrating new employees into the organization, and familiarizing them with the company culture, policies, and procedures. It is essential to provide new hires with an orientation program that includes information about the company, job duties, and expectations. Onboarding can help employees feel more comfortable and productive in their new roles.

Recommended for you: Provide the job description to your new employee. Develop a basic system for onboarding, including job offer letter, access to email and systems, essential employee paperwork, orientation, and training. Having a standard chauffeur training program ensures your clients are treated well and have confidence in booking with you.

2. Employee Records
Keeping accurate and up-to-date employee records is an essential aspect of HR. Small businesses need to maintain records such as offer letters, job descriptions, payroll, benefits, and tax forms. These records are critical in case of legal disputes or audits. It is important to keep these records in a secure location and ensure they are accessible only to authorized personnel.

Recommended for you: Ensure you have an I-9 for every employee, completely and accurately filled out, and stored separately from other employee documents.

3. Payroll and Benefits
Payroll and benefits are crucial HR functions that small business owners need to be familiar with. Payroll involves calculating and processing employee wages, taxes, and deductions. Small business owners can outsource payroll services to a third-party provider or use payroll software. Among the larger brand names are ADP and Paychex, although there are others geared toward smaller businesses like Patriot and OnPay. Benefits are an important part of employee compensation. Small businesses can offer various benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, and employee discounts. The type and number of benefits offered can vary depending on the size and nature of the business. It’s important to communicate these benefits clearly to employees and ensure compliance with relevant regulations.

Recommended for you: Payroll and benefits require some expertise. Unless you have experience yourself, work with a third party or a reputable software solution.

4. Employee Relations
Employee relations involve managing employee performance, resolving conflicts, and ensuring a positive work environment. Small business owners need to establish clear expectations for job performance, provide feedback, and recognize and reward good performance. They should also address poor performance or behavior promptly and fairly. Resolving conflicts is an essential aspect of employee relations. Small business owners need to have a clear process for handling employee complaints or grievances. They should investigate and resolve conflicts in a timely and professional manner. They should also ensure a positive work environment by providing a safe and healthy workplace, promoting teamwork and collaboration, and recognizing and valuing employee contributions.

Recommended for you: Create an employee handbook containing basic policies and procedures that will govern your employee relationships. Provide that handbook to your employees during the onboarding process and whenever you make changes to it.

5. Legal Compliance
One of the essential HR responsibilities is ensuring legal compliance with various state and federal regulations. Small businesses need to abide by regulations related to employment, safety, and privacy. Some of the essential regulations that they need to be aware of include the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). Small operators should be aware of the applicable regulations and ensure compliance. They can seek the advice of an HR consultant or attorney to ensure they are meeting legal requirements.

Recommended for you: Familiarize yourself with your state’s labor or employment office. Most states have a helpline you can call with state-level compliance questions.

HR is an essential function for any business, with one employee or more than 50. By understanding the basics of HR practices and regulations, small business owners can effectively manage their workforce, comply with legal requirements, and create a positive work environment. You don’t have to go it alone.   [CD0323]


Amy Cooley is HR leader for The LMC Groups. She can be reached at amy@lmcpeople.com.