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Hot HR Issues Facing Small Business Owners Today


The Bank’s April ShopTalk event focused on helping small businesses tackle the most pressing human resource issues today. Guest speaker, Noemi Barazza, Chief Operating Officer for Creative Business Resources, offered these valuable insights.

Issue #1 Attracting Talent

In today’s low unemployment rate, it’s more and more difficult to attract qualified talent to fill open positions and enhance your team. Noemi offers these tips to help you stand out from other employers:

  • Write a Job Description – If you haven’t already done so, be sure to write a description of the job you are trying to fill. This will help you when advertising and interviewing for the position, as well as during the new hire’s orientation.
  • Make Your Job Post Count – Write your job post in a way that the candidate can picture themselves working in the job. The job description will help with this. Be sure to use keywords in your post.
  • Tap Into Your Golden Resource – The best recruiting method you have is referrals from employees and colleagues. Use this resource whenever possible.
  • Prescreen Your Candidates – Once you have a list of possible candidates, send them a short three- or four-question questionnaire to complete before scheduling an interview. Many will not reply, but that’s OK says Noemi. You only want to spend your time interviewing serious candidates, and those that don’t reply are not really interested in the position.
  • Clearly Define the Benefits ­– During the interview process, have a one-page benefits summary that clearly outlines the benefits your company provides.
  • Respond Quickly and Send an Offer Letter – Once you’ve chosen your ideal candidate, call him or her immediately and make your offer. Don’t wait too long or the candidate may choose another position. Prepare and send an offer letter to seal the deal.

Issue #2 Retaining Talent

Employee retention has a lot to do with the culture of a company, as well as salaries, schedules and much more. But Noemi offers these basic tips to help you stay competitive:

  • Benefits Package – If possible, your benefits package should include a 401K match; medical, dental, vision & life benefits; paid holidays; and paid time off (vacation time). Leave of absence and bereavement policies are nice to have, but may not be as critical based on your individual circumstances. Providing sick time is now a requirement in Arizona, so you must provide your employees one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked, with minimums at 40 hours for companies with 15 or more employees, and 24 hours for companies with 14 or fewer employees.
  • Open Communication ­– 75% of employees say they would stay in an organization longer if their employer had listened to them and addressed their concerns, according to Noemi. That doesn’t mean you need to give them whatever they want, but you need to listen, negotiate and compromise.
  • Flexible Schedules – Flexible schedules that can help employees obtain a better work-life balance are also very attractive to employees.
  • Recognition & Wellness Programs – Create inexpensive ways to recognize employees for achieving levels of success and encouraging healthful behaviors.
  • Training and Professional Development – Create a good onboarding process with a training schedule for new-hires to complete. This will eliminate uncertainty with your employee. Ongoing professional development will keep your employees working toward new opportunities in your company.

Issue #3 Avoiding Liability

Keeping pace with labor laws and regulations can be overwhelming. Here are some tips to avoid litigation:

  • Create and Update Your Employee Handbook ­­– At minimum your employee handbook should include:
    • EEO Statement, Disclaimer and Employment Eligibility
    • Policies and Procedures
    • Company Property and Use of Technology
    • Benefits
    • Discipline Policies and Termination of Employment
    • Acknowledgment
  • Know the Rules – As an employer, it’s imperative you know the labor laws. For resources, you may visit the Industrial Commission of Arizona and the U.S. Department Of Labor and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • Consider Outsourcing ­– Outsourcing your HR activities can be a low-cost alternative to handling the duties in-house while helping you avoid litigation. Your HR partner will ensure you are in compliance, handle all your recruiting and onboarding tasks, and even provide better rates for medical and worker’s compensation benefits.

Republic Bank of Arizona’s next ShopTalk event will be June 26, 2019 at 7:30 a.m.and will focus on protecting your business and your customers from Cyber Security threats. For more information and to RSVP, contact Sue Thomas at