Managing a Home Professional business can be daunting, and one of the most critical factors to address is human resource management. Effective human resource management can lead to a more productive workforce and contribute significantly to the success of a business. It involves developing strategies and policies to manage employees, ensuring their welfare, and maintaining a positive work environment.
Outsourcing can be an option for many Home Professional businesses. By hiring an experienced outsourcing company, businesses can ensure that their employees are being taken care of, and the company can focus on its core competencies.
We asked industry experts for their best tips and advice on managing human resources, including how to handle payroll and paystubs and maintain productivity with remote workers. These tips can be particularly useful for Home Professional businesses looking to streamline their human resource management processes and ensure that their employees are satisfied and engaged with their work.
What is Human Resource Management, and why is it important for a Home Professional’s business?
Human Resource Management (HRM) is the department, person, and processes in a business responsible for everything related to employees and the employee experience.
It includes recruiting, hiring (or contracting), onboarding, training, promoting, paying, relocating, mediating, advocating, managing, firing, and more. HRM departments also stay on top of new legislation, work to protect and mitigate against business risk, and advocate on behalf of employees. While it might seem like a conflict of interest, HRM’s role is to manage down to protect employees while also managing up to protect the business.
HRM is vitally important to the success of home professional businesses. These organizations, however, are typically smaller in size, and their services are often project-based. This has led many home professionals to rely heavily on 1099s (contract workers) versus W2s (full-time employees).
In recent years, employee classification laws have tightened. As a result, many workers formerly classified as 1099s should now be legally treated as employees. If home professional business owners are unaware of these legal changes, they could unintentionally commit “payroll fraud” or “independent contractor misclassification.” This could result in fines and even require back payments, and it can impact benefits, too.
So, a rule of thumb for home professionals who run a business: If you are not working with an HR professional to assist with proper employee and contractor classifications or to keep your business compliant with local, state, and federal regulations, you may be putting your business at risk.
Laura Bowser, Managing Director at Fahrenheit Advisors
What minimum basic benefits should employers provide for Home Professional employees?
In today’s remote-first world, employers who want to recruit and retain top talent will need to rethink and recreate the benefits packages that have been touted for so long for onsite employees. To stay competitive with highly qualified home-based professionals, employers should switch to offering remote-focused benefits packages that include options like stipends and reimbursements for local co-working spaces, online health memberships, subscriptions for meal or coffee delivery, and other wellness perks. Employers should also strive to offer competitive pay based on where the employee is located, not company headquarters.
Above all, we know that today’s professionals are looking for flexibility at work—and that doesn’t just mean in terms of location. Offering flexible schedules and making your remote workplace more conducive to asynchronous collaboration is a valuable benefit that can give employees greater autonomy over their time and help them feel more fulfilled at work and at home.
Business leaders who want to test out flexible work schedules for the first time should start by outlining very specific tasks that can be completed within a flexible timeframe. Tasks that are easily completed independently and that allow for the use of asynchronous communication channels are a great place to start, as they can serve as useful benchmarks in gauging the success of a new, flexible work policy and whether certain work can continue to be completed without oversight and outside of regular business hours.”
Laura Spawn, CEO and co-founder of VirtualVocations.com
What are the benefits of outsourcing HR functions for home professionals?
Outsourcing HR functions offers several compelling benefits for home professionals.
- Cost-effectiveness: Outsourcing HR functions allows home professionals to save on expenses related to hiring and maintaining an in-house HR team.
- Time-saving: By outsourcing HR tasks, home professionals can free up their time to focus on core business activities rather than managing HR functions.
- Compliance and legal expertise: Outsourcing HR functions ensures that home professionals stay compliant with employment laws and regulations, reducing the risk of legal issues and penalties.
- Scalability and flexibility: Outsourcing allows home professionals to easily adjust HR resources based on their fluctuating workforce size, providing scalability and flexibility as needed.
When outsourcing HR functions, it’s crucial to strike a balance between affordability and the necessary requirements to achieve the desired outcomes. Home professional startups may focus on utilizing specific tools and strategies to attract and retain employees in a competitive market, while more established home professionals might be aiming to accelerate their growth exponentially. By understanding and addressing these distinct needs, the outsourcing decision can be tailored to align with the specific goals and growth path of home professionals.
Why is internal communication important for a Home Professional business, and which tools can you recommend using for this purpose?
Internal communication is one of the most crucial components of any organization. Whether the purpose is to train employees with new processes, update new policies, ensure safety, or prepare them for unprecedented situations, proper internal communication is integral for effective management.
Transparent internal communication in the workplace is more than just internal news and knowledge sharing. It is a communicative manifestation that indicates that the interlocutor is sincere, good-natured, and strives to speak honestly, regardless of his position.
Like any other communication channel, internal communication within an organization should be a two-way street. The implication is, that the employees should not be mere receivers of information; they should be able to contribute their thoughts and ideas as well. However, no matter how informal the communication is, it must be transparent.
The demographics of today’s workforce, which consists of a sizable chunk of the tech-savvy younger population, want their employers to engage with them using instant and modern communication tools.
An internal company blog is one of the most effective internal communication tools that open a transparent, two-way communication channel inside an organization. The internal blog works well as a knowledge-sharing platform because everyone can quickly search for the information they need or ask a question to get the answer from someone else in the company.
Miloš Dakić, co-founder at BlogIn
What is the Role of HR Managers in the shift to remote work?
The uncertainties that have been presented by Covid-19 in the HR Sector, opened many companies to ask their employees to work remotely. Nowadays, over a quarter of the workforce worldwide is working remotely, but it does bring new challenges in the role of HR Manager in this new environment.
The first of these challenges is to maintain performance and attendance and to be able to adapt to reporting employees’ performance while not seeing them physically in action. This has opened the gates for a lot of Tech companies to introduce software to help HR Managers to easily monitor and track employees’ performances and work attendance.
Remote work has also enabled HR Managers to hire employees from any location across the world. All your employees need is an internet connection and an efficient collaborative platform to work. This helps HR Managers to recruit dedicated and deserving talent from across the world without any restriction but this also means that for existing employees staff retention becomes a challenge as your employees working remotely can work for any other company and this puts pressure on HR to make sure that the extra benefits and company environment will mean that employees will stay.
Liam Doherty, Enterprise Director at EOR Middle East
How would you recommend to incentivize remote workers to keep them engaged and productive?
When it comes to remote employees, one crucial factor that decides how happy and engaged they are is the feeling of trust from their managers. No one likes to be micromanaged or feel like someone’s constantly watching over their shoulder. So you should make it implicitly clear that you trust your remote employees to do their jobs from anywhere. If they feel they’re appreciated and their autonomy is respected, their job satisfaction will go up, and they’ll happily take part in the company life. On this note, you should also make sure you don’t forget about your remote team members – don’t fall into the “out of sight, out of mind” trap. With hybrid teams, you shouldn’t prioritize office workers just because they are in front of you. Remote employees also need to feel included, and the hours they have put in have to be acknowledged. And speaking of work hours, make sure that remote team members don’t overwork (which is something a time tracker can help you with). Studies have shown that people who work from home actually tend to work longer hours, which increases the risk of burnout and eventually leads to a drop in productivity and engagement.
Sintija Petersone, Head of Marketing at Desktime
What are the best tips you can give us to avoid burnout in remote teams?
If you saw someone at their desk with slumped shoulders or tears in their eyes, the last thing you’d do is assign them more work. However, this often happens while working remotely. We’re missing the body language and emotional context we’d get in an office, making it easy to miss signs of burnout and exhaustion. To make matters worse, stigma against mental health issues can lead employees to stay silent about their struggles.
In order to avoid burn out while remote, we have to be intentional about how we lead. This means asking teammates every day how they’re feeling (or using a pulse tool like Kona), being mindful about the work we assign, and skewing towards async-friendly documentation to reduce meeting fatigue. Leaders can also build psychological safety and fight against mental health stigma by modeling vulnerability. It’s great to admit that you’re not okay or that you need help with a task; it allows other teammates to support you as needed.
Yen Tan, Co-Founder at Kona
Why does measuring employee development matter?
Culture Amp research continuously shows that learning and development (L&D) is a core driver of the employee experience. In fact, companies that prioritize development see 24% more company growth. To keep your employees engaged and motivated, your organization must make opportunities for employee development available and accessible – or risk losing top talent. Once you have a development plan in place, you’ll want to confirm that it’s working, but how can you measure progress?
Simple goal setting and casual 1-on-1 conversations are a good starting point, but they aren’t enough on their own. Many companies still take a hands-off approach that doesn’t offer insight into important L&D data, making it impossible to understand and demonstrate impact. This data is essential for leadership buy-in when it comes to implementing company-wide development initiatives and keeping your organization responsive in an ever-changing world of work.
Just as sending regular engagement surveys helps you understand employee sentiment, drilling into employee development data can help you build an approach to development that truly works. When your development plans are informed by data and driven by employee feedback, your workforce will feel more motivated to grow with your company.
What are the benefits of hiring foreign workers for a business?
The last two years presented many challenges to businesses, but one of the biggest has been the war for talent. Currently, many business owners have been experiencing a hard time filling vacant roles. As the labour market has gotten tighter in every industry, it is time to rethink the recruitment processes and tap into hiring foreign workers.
The benefits of hiring foreign workers for businesses are immense. Among many, one of the important benefits of hiring international talent is retention. Foreign workers are usually motivated to regulate their status in Canada and secure permanent residence status which can take between 2 – 4 years. Thus, the chances are high that foreign workers are likely to stay and work for your business for at least 2 years in order to complete their immigration process. This gives you a sense of certainty that you cannot expect with local hires. Another benefit of tapping into the international workforce is finding a rare skillset for an affordable wage. Being able to minimize your headcount expense is a huge win for your business. Last but not least, the foreign workforce usually brings a unique perspective and solutions to the challenges you have in your business in addition to enabling your business to compete globally and access new markets. So, it is time to level up your recruitment game and tap into global talent if you want to take your business to the next level.
Feruza Djamalova, Senior Business Immigration Lawyer at Sobirovs Law Firm
What are the best tips and advice you can give us for employees working remotely?
If you want a work-life balance, work and life have to be different somehow. Anyone working remotely needs to be able to separate their home life and work life, so you need something to mark those as different contexts. The easiest way to do that is work in a different location than where you relax. If you work on your couch with a laptop, then close the laptop and stay on the couch for off hours, it becomes very easy for your work life to creep into your home life, then soon you’re answering emails all day.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have a home office, so the other way to change contexts is to change yourself. Wear a work jacket or hat, earrings, whatever. I heard a story about the novelist Thomas Pynchon. When he first started, he worked as a technical writer for Boeing. He’d come in three hours early so he could write novels. To separate those contexts, Novelist Pynchon would wrap himself in butcher paper and write for three hours, then take it off and let Tech Writer Tom work the job. It doesn’t have to be something silly, you could take a walk (or some other ritual) before and after work to mark the boundaries between the two.
Same as Superman puts on glasses to become Clark Kent, you need something to keep your alter egos separate. And to be effective in both, you need them to be separate.
Ryan Donovan, Content Marketer at Stack Overflow
Where do you recommend advertising the job openings to attract the right hires for a home professional business?
Freelance marketplace is highly recommended to advertise job openings for any field, especially home professional business. That space is apt to find experts in a quick and simplified manner. It is very easy to post a requirement on such a platform. One needs to share details like budget, time frame, and description. The rest of the work is taken care of by the individual platform. Once posted, the freelance marketplace shares profiles and portfolios of multiple experts based on the requirements shared. The profiles can be browsed to decide on the right person.
In order to attract the right hires for a home professional business that includes contractors, interior designers, handymen, or such professionals involved in the provision of Home Improvement services, advertising on the right platform is quite important. Freelance marketplace like Refrens is recognised for their superb services to connect professionals from different fields while making their work life easier.
The freelance marketplace is an excellent platform that helps create a network of businesses that help each other to acquire more customers. As many people are already connected with the marketplace, it is easy to source the right people at the right time.
Kelly Barcelos, Digital Marketing Manager at Jobsoid
What strategies do you recommend to recruit and retain employees for the home professionals sector?
In the current job market, job seekers have more options than ever. Home services employers must compete not only with other businesses in their industry, but with other sectors entirely. Online warehouse employers like Amazon and Walmart or gig economy jobs like Uber and Doordash are having an impact on the available pool of candidates.
It’s never been more important for businesses in the home professionals sector to invest in marketing their businesses to job seekers the same way they would market to customers. Take the time to establish a strong employer brand, or your business’s online reputation as a place to work. Start by hosting a compelling careers page and showcase employee testimonials, along with real photos and videos of your staff.
We recommend listing the compensation in the job description to entice the right candidates to apply. Be sure to highlight not only the benefits, but also growth opportunities. What can your business offer candidates that others can’t? Stability? Growth? A strong company culture? The best candidates are looking for these things, so make sure your employer brand is on full display.
Desiree Echevarria, Sr. Content Marketing Manager at CareerPlug
What are the best tips you can give us for conducting a great job interview?
1. Make sure there’s equal standing in your job interview: A job interview is a two-way street—your candidate is also interviewing you about what it is like to work at your company. They need to feel confident that joining your team is the best decision they can make. Be ready to answer candidate questions and share information that’d get them excited about joining your team.
2. Prepare questions in advance: While we’re big advocates of going with the flow in a job interview, you should be prepared with a list of questions to ask before the interview. This will help to structure the interview process, which makes it easier to compare candidates’ answers and evaluate without too much bias. Of course, you can always ask follow-up questions as they come up in your conversation.
3. Avoid bias by having your team hold off on sharing opinions post-interview:
The interview team shouldn’t share their opinions, notes or interview scorecards with each other until they’ve documented their findings in your hiring software. You can do this when you use a tool like Homerun. This will help ensure your team members don’t unintentionally influence each other’s opinions.
Willem van Roosmalen, CEO of Homerun
As you can see, many factors should be considered when managing human resources, from job descriptions to employee benefits, to ensure you have the best employee development, engagement, and happy customer experience, which will translate into a successful business.