10 Tips All Solopreneurs Should Follow When Tackling Human Resources
Being a solopreneur can be somewhat of a juggling act. And for someone who wears multiple hats, focusing time and resources on something as important as HR, can be challenging! Our Founder, Jamie Hoobanoff shares her expertise on just how solopreneurs can incorporate a customer-centric approach into their HR strategy in Forbes.com.
By Forbes Human Resources Council, September 13, 2019
A solopreneur, by definition, has to wear multiple hats in their company, often ending up in charge of business aspects they are not necessarily well-versed in or do not have the time to coordinate by themselves. Human resources in particular is a challenging field for a single individual to handle alone—even small companies typically dedicate a few employees toward ensuring the HR department is running smoothly.
For solopreneurs who need to handle the duties and responsibilities of an HR manager, 10 members of Forbes Human Resources Council offer their most useful advice for dealing with the processes that make up the everyday running of a human resources department and will set the company on the right path to success.
1. Make Sure You Adhere To The Laws
It can be tempting for entrepreneurs and small business owners to take shortcuts with recruiting, hiring and employment practices. Stay the course in adhering to federal, state and local laws. Partner with a trusted HR expert for education on the impact noncompliance can have. Understanding of key HR principles is critical to developing a process that is inclusive, timely and efficient. - Christine Wzorek, White Label Advisors
2. Get Familiar With The Basics
Being a solopreneur is time-consuming and tricky to navigate—I should know; I am a solopreneur on the side. The best advice I can give is to understand the basics when dealing with anything HR-related. Don't be afraid to google questions you have if you are hiring your first employee or need to create a handbook. If you know the basics, then the rest will follow as you decide to grow your company. - Kelly Loudermilk, BuildHR, Inc.
3. Know The Business
Solopreneurs are oftentimes single individuals without employees. They need to take the time to truly understand the business and culture of the company they are working with and be careful to not take shortcuts. When they choose to outsource work to contractors to help balance their workload, they need to make sure those contractors are truly skilled to represent them in their stead. - Charles Ashworth, Copper
4. Develop A Customer-Centric HR Approach
Given that solopreneurs tend to take up the responsibility of all departments in a company and are often stretched very thin, the No. 1 strategy and approach should always be customer-centric. Use the customer experience vision as the pillar for all departments. An HR example would be incorporating the customer journey into the onboarding and training of all employees. - Jamie Hoobanoff, The Leadership Agency
5. Create A Cooperative
HR has a PR problem. The HR community is working to change stereotypes, but it can be a lonely place. Creating a cooperative of other solopreneurs in related businesses can be invaluable with ascertaining new views on situations and support. From the HR standpoint, following best practices is non-negotiable. The governmental agencies are wonderful resources for present laws and requirements. - Patricia Sharkey, Sharkey HR Advisors
6. Stay True To Purpose
By reminding oneself of the "why" and most noble reason the business exists in the first place, the solopreneur can refocus and re-energize, resulting in continuous improvement, added value for customers and more meaningful market impact. Authenticity derived from purpose-driven work can be a powerful way to strengthen connections with customers, suppliers and the ecosystem the solopreneur serves. - Jessica Delorenzo, Kimball Electronics Inc
7. Build A Lasting DNA
Solopreneurs are authors of their culture—they will write the script of the values they would expect the future generation of employees to follow, so when working alone, they must define the values and role-model them. Just like a potter molding clay, they must set in motion the right behaviors, integrate and be inquisitive about how their culture is defined and evolves. - Vineet Gambhir, Teaching Strategies, LLC
8. Don't Cut Corners Where It Counts
When you work by yourself and for yourself, it is easy to start looking at cutting corners to save time and costs. Oftentimes, solopreneurs cut the wrong corners and find themselves in some trouble. Do the necessary work and research into employment law, ethical practices and even occupational psychology before you get too deep into working on your actual product or service offering. - Tiffany Jensen, Pure Grips
9. Be Nimble And Learn To Prioritize
No one can do it all. Learn to set priorities. What is important now? Being nimble is equally important, because the priority today might be different than tomorrow, and solopreneurs have to be able to flex. Think about your low-hanging fruit and address some of that. Then think about your hottest issues and address those. - Lotus Buckner, NCH
10. Consider A Professional Employer Organization
Humility is the single most important trait the solopreneur should embrace. There are a myriad of laws around employment that most people just don't know, nor should they be expected to. The easiest solution is to run your employees through a certified professional employer organization (CPEO), which will handle the basics until your business has grown sufficiently to hire your own experts. - Tracy Cote, Genesys