I have a vision for small business: All small businesses will start with a human resources strategy in mind and a policy platform to work from before they hire their first employee. They’ll design their cultures instead of letting it grow on its own while they’re distracted. Businesses will start with the understanding that the most valuable asset they’ll have is their employees. Most of all, however, I have a vision of a world where somebody is there to help them in a way they can afford, doesn’t require huge commitments of time, and supports them while they grow.
That’s why I started The Grange, to make high end, strategic Human Resource services available to small companies from their inception.
Once they have 15 employees, companies begin to be subject to laws that govern employee relationships. By the time businesses have 50 employees actively working, they are subject to almost every law applicable to a private company. Here are a couple of examples of the types of things that can trip anyone up, even at this early stage:
- The ADAAA (Americans with Disability Act Amendments Act): You catch an employee taking medication that endangers their own safety and that of their co-workers. When you talk to them about it, they tell you a doctor prescribed the medication and it doesn’t affect their performance or ability to safely accomplish their job, but you know it does. They also tell you the prescription is a permanent part of their health care and demand to continue to do their job. There’s no way to do their job and so you terminate them. You might be in trouble.
- The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA): You have a dedicated part-time receptionist that is incredibly dedicated. On his days off, he checks his email and forwards anything to you of interest. You’re not in trouble right now, but you could be soon.
There are two things every HR Professional tells a small business owner when asked about these kinds of situations: 1. “It depends” (they’ll have to dig into the specifics before they know if the company is in trouble right now) and 2. You’re only one lawsuit away from being out of business.
But, how do small companies afford the kind of support I’m talking about? Businesses with 50 employees can’t afford to pay somebody six figures to keep an eye on these kinds of things. An owner could hire somebody who knows how to do HR but has very little experience. They could sell their employees to a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) who will do all of that for them at a pretty high price, but are they really working for the company at that point? What if the PEO does something that generates liability for the business? It happens. An owner can call an attorney when needed and spend the whole time looking at their watches because the attorney’s paid by the hour while the attorney says “it all depends” and wants to discuss three or four different ways of handling the situation.
Small business needs a six figure professional that doesn’t cost that much, that is available when needed but doesn’t charge more when they work a lot verses just a little. Companies need somebody to help them understand how much vacation they should offer, how it should be structured, and how that can help or hinder the company meeting its goals. They need somebody to tell them if they’re paying too much or not enough when they hire people. When should they begin to offer benefits? What benefits should be offered? What kind of benefits do competitors offer? Should the company match that or beat it?
Companies should be designing their cultures to best meet their goals. Do employees need to be innovators and free thinkers that disrupt competitors’ business models, or does slow and steady win the race? How do companies design a hiring process that ensures they’re hiring the kind of employees to do that? What needs to happen on a daily basis that ensures those results? Large companies can afford that kind of support and I want to make it so that small companies can too.
This is my vision; That somebody is there for all of these situations and more. Its why I offer it at a flat rate with no limit on the amount of hours I’m willing to spend working for you. This is what I do in The Grange. This is what I’ll do for you.