Business Experts Offer Good Advice to Wine the Experience

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     Photo: David Croxford

Human resources

At the start of this project, WTX had five part-time and two full-time employees, including Shannon, who handled everything from sales to production. As the year went on, several employees resigned for various reasons and Shannon did not replace them to cut costs. By December, he was down to half the original number of employees.

Similar to many small businesses, WTX did not have standardized procedures for new hires, so one of the first things Befitel of ProService suggested was to create an employee handbook to communicate workplace culture, expectations, benefits and employment-policy information, such as attendance guidelines, safety issues and sanctions for misconduct. Befitel says an employee handbook can also reduce company liability by clearly defining harassment and discrimination in the workplace. He also recommends WTX look into developing standardized forms such as job applications, offer and termination letters, and employee agreements.

Lack of understanding of current employment laws could lead to future headaches and even lawsuits, so it’s important that employers follow federal and state guidelines to avoid compliance issues. Befitel says many professional employment organizations (PEO), such as the Society for Human Resources Management, offer management training and can assist employers with everything from improving risk management to addressing hiring and retention challenges.

By partnering with an HR administration firm that pools client employees, PEOs can offer the reduced rates larger companies typically receive from health insurance and workers’ compensation providers. Befitel estimates ProService could save WTX 18 percent to 22 percent in premium costs for medical, drug, vision and dental coverage per employee.

Other HR tips

• Hiring professionals to handle HR needs could save time and money, ensure you comply with current employment laws and allow you to focus on your core business. It’s worth it to collect proposals and see if partnering with a PEO is right for you.

• Find out what kinds of state and federal subsidies and tax exemptions are available to small businesses, and take advantage of them. (For example, last year, the state offered significant reimbursements to qualified Hawaii employers to subsidize healthcare costs.)


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