You’ve heard the statistics about how hard it is to run a business these days but have you considered that neglecting startup Human Resources strategy issues are a major blind spot hurting small businesses across the country? If you talk to many Founders, the reality is that Human Resources is an afterthought and strategic HR is rarely discusses until a) the company is in serious trouble financially or b) a serious HR issue happens that might land the organization in court. Recently, Entrepreneur.com shared an infographic that chronicled why businesses fail, how many companies are started and closed every year, and how long most startups last (hint: 50% fail by year five). When we consider the amount of time, money, and momentum invested in starting and running a business, a 50% failure rate is not okay. I’ve met business owners who’ve dumped their 401k’s into a debt-ridden business and worse – entrepreneurs who’s home life has been wrecked due to the difficult rollercoaster ride of running a startup. Running a startup is a grueling grind and there’s no guarantee that you’ll be successful; but the one area that startups should try to invest in if they want to succeed is their strategic startup human resources operations.
Here are the five reasons why startups fail and my take on the HR adjustment that can fix or alleviate these challenges:
19% of small businesses fail because they are outcompeted.
The Strategic HR Fix: Small businesses that are outcompeted either need a) faster, smarter decision-making skills or b) talented and qualified people on board who can address business issues of the day and the future. The reality is that some small businesses hire with a collaborative mindset that gives unqualified people chances to do things they’re passionate about but not technically proficient in. I once had a $13million dollar software development client but the CTO had very little experience in modern technologies that were relevant in their field. The company was losing marketshare to competitors who did not offer the total package approach my client offered but instead they offered modern solutions that were easily upgradable and plugged in well with other tech systems in their customer’s organizations.
When you’re losing to competition you need intel and a plan. A strategic HR advisor can identify skills gaps within your organization and set growth goals for your people or suggest new hires that need to come in and breath life into your organization.
Key Takeaway: A strategic HR advisor can be the champion for creating a competitive learning environment which raises the quality of your team output.
23% of small businesses fail because they don’t have the right team.
The Strategic HR Fix: This one is pretty obvious – you need new players on your team – but the “why” behind having the wrong employees varies from small business to small business. In my experience, family businesses tend to struggle with this the most because sons, spouses, and siblings can be given preferential treatment when it comes to hiring and promotions – which means responsibility is being given to someone who hasn’t actually proven they can get the job done. Small businesses can also have a “family” atmosphere which means relationships are formed and it’s harder to make decisions based on a person’s ability to get their job done. Small businesses that ignore sound HR influences suffer from having team members they might love as people but hate from a productivity and results perspective.
When you don’t have the right team, it’s important to assess what’s working and what isn’t. A strategic HR advisor can identify who is making the greatest contributions to your organization and who are the bottlenecks.
Key Takeaway: A strategic HR advisor can be the neutral third party who makes recommendations based less on relationships and more about a small business’s strategic business goals.
29% of small businesses fail because they run out of cash.
The Strategic HR Fix: Did you know that the top expenses in business are 1) insurance 2) taxes and 3) employees? (source). If you do not have a strategic HR advisor there to assist you in managing these expenses, it’s quite possible that you’re paying too much. Recently, a former client of mine was struggling with letting a six-figure executive go who’s impact and skills were no longer felt in a tangible way at the company. To make matters worse, the company was very much cash-strapped and failed to have oversight on employee vacation accrual and use. We were able to put the financial projections and implications on paper and make recommendations for what to do next. The difficult decisions to let the executive go (gracefully) and put in accountability measures for vacation usage wound up saving the organization a significant amount of money that could be re-invested into the business or set aside for a rainy day.
Key Takeaway: A strategic HR advisor can project the financial implications of employee-oriented decisions and recommend a clear path forward.
42% of small businesses fail because there is no market need for products or services.
The Strategic HR Fix: This one can be tricky because in a small business – especially in a startup where the current owners are the founders – there can be a dogged obsession with seeing a singular idea come to fruition. This obsession can pay dividends if there’s a market for the product and/or services the founder wants to bring to market but what happens when there is no market? What happens if there is a market but the company is trying to sell to the wrong demographic or packages it the wrong way? I remember feeling really bad for an older gentleman at my incubator who dumped his entire 401k into entrepreneurial efforts. He was working on developing a mobile game that was so singular in focus that there was no market for it and the cost to bring it to market was too much of a burden to bear. Small businesses who fail because there is no market need for their products or services usually establish an organizational culture where no one can tell the CEO “no.” It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out no one’s buying what you’re selling but it does take a reality check and courage to pivot and say “okay, what’s next?” and to create an environment where subordinate employees feel empowered to add value even if it means disagreeing with senior leadership.
Key Takeaway: A strategic HR advisor can help create a culture of trust and help identify talented professionals who can help your vision become profitable.
82% of small businesses fail because they experience cash flow problems.
The Strategic HR Fix: If we are being totally honest here, most small businesses are one emergency away from going out of business. That emergency could be dried up sales, an inability to make a bloated payroll, a customer who wants to sue the organization, or legal fines and fees due to legal non-compliance (just to name a few). A strategic HR advisor is able to help manage corporate expenses and make smart recommendations – like business and errors and omissions insurance – that reduce overhead and serve as a safety net in the event of a business emergency. Taking an intentional and strategic approach to managing the human resources in your organization is the missing key to small business longevity.
Key Takeaway: A strategic HR advisor can manage costs on the biggest overhead items in your budget while also making recommendations that preserve peace of mind in the midst of the ebbs and flows of business.
Sexual Harassment Training is Needed in US Workplaces
Recent reports show that 1 in 3 US women have experienced sexual harassment at work – but did President Trump’s latest run-in with a reporter add to that total? Inside Edition spoke with Jumpstart:HR, LLC CEO Joey V. Price (@JoeyVPriceHR) about this matter and what should happen if someone requests an investigation at your office.
Sexual harassment is a serious offense that should not be taken lightly. When requested, an investigation requires the utmost due diligence, empathy, trust, and documentation of facts, feelings, and recollections. If you are in need of HR consulting services to help protect your workplace from sexual harassment risk – or to carry out an investigation, contact us right away.
When “frequent” demeanor and/or conduct contributes to a “hostile or offensive work and environment” or if rejection results in retaliation.
President Trump is taking some heat for singling out an attractive reporter in the Oval Office Tuesday during an important meeting. “Where are you from? Come here, come here,” he told Caitriona Perry, the Washington correspondent for Ireland’s leading TV channel, RTE. Trump was having a phone call with Ireland’s new Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, when Perry caught his eye. “She has a nice smile on her face so I bet she treats you well,” Trump told the new prime minister. More Inside Edition episodes on YouTube
While researching and reading current articles and blogs on career and professional development, I’m noticing an interesting trend. Most of the articles that I read are all about personal branding online. Now, please don’t read this and think that I’m not a fan of personal branding as it pertains to professional branding and networking ( I LOVE personal branding and being your most authentic self). All I am saying is that in the quest to craft and curate your best personal brand online for the purpose of professional growth, let’s just consider some of the biggest myths about personal branding so that we’re all clear.
3. Developing your personal brand should be the primary focus over skill development. Again, I am a big fan of personal branding but in the landscape of career development articles, you’re going to see most or your advice leaning towards developing your LinkedIn account and learning how to write the perfect Twitter bio. As an employer, would you hire the person with the most skill or the person with the best presence online? Let us not forget that the real reason why employers aren’t hiring:
“Indeed, one of the perennial complaints of employers is that they cannot find qualified workers. Ancestry.com, a genealogy Web site in Provo, Utah, has openings for 150 engineers, data mining specialists and developers of mobile apps. “While we find a lot of people who are unemployed,” said Eric Shoup, a senior vice president, “they are not the people who bring the skill sets we need for our business.”
He said the company did virtually all its hiring away from other companies.”
2. You can trust everyone’s “expert” opinion online. Twitter can be a very tricky place to get professional advice online. While there are great business and career management experts like @YouTernMark, @SmallBizLady, @MeghanMBiro and @HRMargo (just to name a short list of a few) who spend their time sharing relevant tips from results-based personal experience and tapping into their deep networking pools, there is room for everyone to have a voice online even if they don’t have credentials. Check out this advice from a recently published Forbes.com about the perils of networking just for networking’s sake (and the same can be said about social media networking):
“”It’s all about who you know.” Well, not entirely, say recruiters. Rather than building a quantity of connections, build quality connections. Also ask yourself: Have I been carrying myself in a way that I’m a good referral? Strong connections help, but be sure you can back it up with experience and competence.”
1. Personal Branding is a relatively new concept. While social media is a great equalizer for introverts and extroverts, the concept of personal branding isn’t new. Before social media started to change the way we did business and built interpersonal relationships with one another, “Personal Brand” was simply named “character, integrity and reputation.” We have always had to ask ourselves questions like “how do I want to be remember?” and “what value can I add to the conversation?” The only difference is that now the things that we say and do have become 24/7 online marketing material for our backgrounds and opinions in a virtual space as opposed to memories left in the hearts and minds of those who we’ve come in contact with.
Gamification is one of the hottest topics in HR technology today. As explained by Gamification Co, gamification brings together game mechanics and marketing to create engagement and solve problems. By incorporating a company’s operations with elements such as achievements, badges, and levels, gamification increases both user engagement and a sense of loyalty among a community.
What is gamification?
Gamification is the application of game mechanics to workplace problems and employee engagement. According to analyst Jason Averbook, “the theory is that by applying the same principles that inspire people to play games – achievements, status, and rewards – to employee performance, businesses can drive deeper engagement, and increase alignment with corporate goals“. Engaging employees with tasks that resemble a game could potentially increase their immersion in their work, promising significant increases to productivity and retention.
Why does gamification work?
According to online blogger Robert Scott, gamification appeals to the natural human needs to achieve, compete, be recognized, and be entertained. By converting tasks into a game, gamification converts a user’s logical decisions (“I work because of my paycheck”) into emotional decisions (“I work because I want to succeed”). As a result, implementing game mechanics such as achievements and badges fuels an individual’s drive to succeed, creating an immersion unmatched by other resources.
there exists a community that people care about recognition in
interaction points are easily quantified
adoption is a high priority
Gamification mechanics in HR include badges or achievement levels as rewards for significant workplace accomplishments or contributions. Quizzes, points, or leaderboards could also be used to stimulate competition among employees, increasing engagement and participation among employees.
As Josh Braaten, an Online Marketing Manager at Rasmussen College, puts it, “while games were once solely played for pleasure, game and simulation applications are now used widely within companies as a tool for organizational development.” Gamification is a rapidly growing field, with GSummit, a convention discussing gamification techniques and practices, attracting companies such as Microsoft, NBC, and United. Other businesses such as Rypple, Badgeville, PeopleFluent, and Sharepoint have focused on implementing gamification mechanics into the traditional HR practices of performance reviews and workplace wellness. By gamifying its HR technologies, a company can ultimately increase its productivity and workplace participation. How can you gamify your business to improve performance and employee interaction?
– Article Courtesy of Jumpstart:HR HR Technology Intern Olivier Jin
It is estimated that the cost of employee turnover can range from 40-400% of an employee’s annual salary. The total cost of turnover includes money, time and other hidden or “soft” costs, which when combined, are often much more substantial than expected. This post details the various components of the true cost of turnover, along with suggestions for keeping this large, elusive cost under control.
“Hard” Costs of Turnover
Administration costs for leavers: exit interviews, payroll changes, etc.
Covering a vacancy with temp-workers or overtime.
Recruitment and selection costs: advertising the vacancy, reviewing applications, conducting interviews, etc.
On-boarding new hires: induction, training, etc.
“Be cautious when you consider terminating an employee. If you aren’t, you could be writing and indefinite blank check and cashing it can be exponentially costly.” – Joey V. Price, CEO of Jumpstart:HR
“Soft” Costs of Turnover
Missed deadlines and disruptions to workflow.
Increased absenteeism due to stress.
Decreased productivity or customer service.
Reduced morale, which may cause remaining employees to express a desire to leave the organization.
The Cost of Turnover Often Goes Unrecognized
Unfortunately, many companies do not recognize the cost of turnover as a major problem. One survey found that less than half of organizations have a process in place to properly calculate turnover costs. Another issue is that the cost of turnover is often underestimated and deemed to be an “unavoidable” cost of doing business.
It is true that some degree of turnover is inevitable, and may even be advantageous: the goal should be to retain top talent while replacing low performers. Managers who are conscious of the rate and cost of turnover in their organizations are better positioned to control these costs.
Take Control of Turnover Costs in Your Organization
With 84% of employees planning to search for a new job in 2012, it is crucial that employers understand what causes employee turnover and how to lessen the blow.
A Harvard University study found that 80% of employee turnover stems from mistakes made during the hiring process. It’s all about prevention: don’t wait until your organization has a turnover crisis. Having an intelligent and informed hiring strategy is one of the best ways to prevent excessive turnover costs and avoid the Vicious Circle of Turnover.
Learning basic hiring strategy through an online MBA combined with real life experience is the best way to properly gauge potential employees. A back ground check alone might not be enough to determine the potential worth as an employee. Personality traits and the ability to interact socially can be key factors that help determine the worth of a person and whether they will be a valuable asset to your company.
Jumpstart:HR can help your organization find the right people for the right jobs and help them want to stay. We offer a variety of Recruitment Solutions to ensure that you hire people with the right skills and fit for your organization. We also offer Managed HR Services plans that identify the cost of turnover for your organization and pinpoint strategies to lower turnover and turnover related costs. Contact us today to get started!
We’re almost a quarter of the way into the year 2012 but it seems like only yesterday we were counting down the seconds until the New Year and lining up our goals for 2012 and beyond. Individually we made goals to lose weight or join more clubs and corporately we made goals to retain more professionals, get more bang for our buck in our corporate overhead and more.
If you’re like most people, you wrote your goals down or at least kept a mental note of them…
…but just how good can our goals be if we’re not measuring them? Is HR afraid of the scale?
Metrics, metrics, metrics. One of my favorite roles in HR Consulting is establishing and tracking HR Metrics. Measurements used to determine the value and effectiveness of HR strategies. Typically includes such items as cost per hire, turnover rates/costs, training and human capital ROI, labor /productivity rates and costs, benefit costs per employee, etc.
Metrics are the foundation for growth. If you don’t know where you are, how will you know what it takes to get where you are going? If you are driving from your town to the next major city, that experience is full of metrics. You’re measuring the time and distance that it takes with your GPS. You’re looking at your gas tank to see if you have enough gas. And you’re even probably going to take a bathroom break to make sure you don’t have to “go” before you get to your destination! Why is Business any different? We make goals but do not take inventory of statistical data that helps give us a clear picture of where we stand and what it takes to get where we want to be.
Fighting monsters in the dark. What happens when you drive for growth but do not take into account the metrics surrounding the move? It’s like boxing in the dark. Sure you may be able to identify some key general areas that will always improve as a result of changes but you can hardly know how effective your decisions are and that can be a time and financial drain. The best planning involves calculated investments of time and resources into the areas that matter most. Metrics help in this a great deal.
What are some common HR Metric formulas?:
# days absent in month ÷ (average # of employees during a month x # of workdays)
Benefit or program costs per employee
total cost of employee benefit/program ÷ total # of employees
percent of employees engaged or satisfied overall or with a given aspect of the workplace
Percent of performance goals met or exceeded
# of performance goals met or exceeded ÷ total # of performance goals
Percent receiving performance rating
# of employees rated under a given score or rating on their performance evaluation ÷ total # of employees
Revenue per employee
revenue ÷ total # of employees
Return on investment (ROI)
(total benefit – total costs) x 100
Time to fill (average)
total days taken to fill a job ÷ number hired
sum of total training hours ÷ total # of employees
average # of years of service at the organization across all employees
# of employees exiting the job during 12 month period ÷ average actual # of employees during the same period
total costs of separation + vacancy + replacement + training
total number of employees utilizing a program/service/benefit ÷ total number of employees eligible to utilize a program/service/benefit
Workers’ compensation cost per employee
total workers compensation cost for year ÷ average number of employees
Workers’ compensation incident rate
(number of injuries and/or illnesses per 100 full-time employees ∕ total hours worked by all employees during the calendar year) x 200,000
percentage of applicants from a recruitment source that make it to the next stage of the selection process
Leadership Takeaway: Metrics are not to be used as a tool for micro-management but they are a tool to be used for effective leadership and guidance. Jumpstart:HR offers a unique year-long HR Outsourcing/Advising service to it’s costumers that allows us to chart metrics and for your organization and recommend growth strategies that are both measurable and cost-effective.
Human Resources Takeaway: HR is constantly asking to prove itself by the value added contributions that it brings to an organization. If you’re having trouble communicating your value to Senior Officials then it may be time to consider Jumpstart:HR as a trusted Strategic Partner. Work with us to define your specific HR goals and manage them in a long-term plan.
Professional Development: Dead-end jobs are found in organizations that don’t track metrics that a relevant to your career growth and development. When interviewing for a position, ask what kind of tools the organization uses to track staffing and career development. If your organization doesn’t do such things then it may be time to hire your own personal HR Department. Jumpstart:HR offers personal career development coaching sessions to help you get the most out of your career.