HR Tips for 2014

Just had a great group at an Alexandria SBDC seminar on HR, lots of good questions and networking. One of the first discussions was the usefulness of an HR calendar. Take an annual calendar from any system you use regularly and:

Add in all legal compliance dates that apply to your business. These include due dates for getting out W-2 and 1099 forms, OSHA logs, EEO reports if you are covered.
Put on your benefits policy renewal or due dates if you offer benefits. Figure in when you will do open enrollment.
Look at your planned hiring for the year – and work backwards to when you need to start your process to fill each position. Put that on your calendar.
Schedule regular employee communications. Whether you write a short email or do a formal newsletter or just a ‘state of the business’ note – regular communications of what is going on, what your goals are, customer/client information are critical. Having them on your calendar helps you do them on-time.

Other things you might want to add include company events, payroll dates, pay reviews, employee recognition dates.

This calendar will help keep you focused on upcoming needs for your attention and action. That reduces your stress and helps cut last second goat-ropes. This is a simple process that pays big.

Be sure you keep the calendar somewhere where you see it regularly. And can use it easily. That may be in any format or method that works for you. But do try it for a year and you will discover how useful it really is.

Smart HR Moves for 2014

Come join me for a great discussion at the Alexandria Small Business Development Center. We will talk about easy ways to tame your HR challenges.  This will include some simple solutions, ideas for creating a pro-active employee communication process, and provide compliance deadlines you need to know for your calendar and planning.  Whether you have employees or sub-contractors or independent contractors – or just want to get ready to grow,  this program can help.

And SBDC events are a great way to grow your network too.   Plus the price is right – free.

Just register at:

Happy New Year!

Now is the time of articles on all the things you should start doing now for a successful year. My contrary view is that you might be wiser to think about what you should stop doing now.

Too often we do work, keep practices and policies, even hire people just because we have done so this far. One of the smartest things most of us could do would be to look at what we should stop doing. What is not really worth your time? What is no longer productive for anyone to do? What are you doing because,,, just, because? Cut it out!

Health, productivity, and joy for 2014! I look forward to wishing you these in person soon.

WOW – Hiring at 730am

It’s 7:30 on a Sunday morning in October and 50+ small business people are looking at me, standing before them in a hotel convention room. What made them get up so early?

Not me, but the topic of hiring and retention.

So we started with ‘culture’. Every organization has its own culture – a potent brew of planned and defined concepts mixed with ‘the way we do things’ and internal contradictions. What is your culture?

How many cliches came to your mind as you read that question? How many wonderful, positive aspects did you dream up? And your real culture – what is it? How do you know? What do you actually want it to be?

Hiring and retention are critical issues for every organization. And culture influences them in many ways. How you do the hiring and how you treat people depends on your culture – the real one, not the dream.

There are many small organizations who do not really understand how to hire the right people. They get tangled up in personal beliefs. Hiring is fairly infrequent, so there is no process. The founder or CEO does it all – and rarely has had any help or training on how to do it. Friends and family may be hired without clear thinking about the actual position needs.   What makes people stay with your organization?  Are they the people you actually want to retain?

I had really wondered whether anyone would come despite the convention planner’s assurances – I doubt I would get up for any seminar at that hour on a Sunday myself, had I not been the speaker at NCPA 2013!

So I was delighted as we had a good conversation over our 90 minutes together. Lots of great […]

The ‘Shutdown’ – What You Can Do Now

Small organizations are at extra risk during the government shutdown – you already know that.   But what can you do?

1. Keep your fears at home.
Your employees need concrete information and clear communications. But don’t add to their burden by discussing your fears.

2. Grab control where you can.
A big part of this problem is the lack of control we all feel.

Read the rest of this post on the Alexandria SBDC blog at