Common Fallacies that Harm Small Businesses

Common Fallacies that Harm Small Businesses

At HR Pros, the core client is small business; that is, companies with less than 50 employees. Since its incorporation in 2008, HR Pros has assisted hundreds of small business owners to develop both their logistic and strategic human resources management plans.  Along the way we have taken notice of a few fallacies.  We characterize these fallacies as detrimental, if not fatal, to small businesses reaching its full potential.

Employee Policies

Employee policies do not create a rigid working environment.  Employee policies are the workplace rules. Employees are adults. Adults have an innate need to know the rules. Without written rules even the most contentious of employees could find themselves in unnecessary disciplinary situations.  Decision makers will spend precious and unnecessary time re-inventing the wheel each time there is an employee problem. With the absence of rules, decision making will vary among supervisors and employees will consequently learn to “shop” their questions to get the answers they want.

Job Descriptions

Job descriptions do not limit workforce flexibility. Rather job descriptions create accountability and are a necessary source document, a “foundation” document, of any good human resources system. Job descriptions have many uses including:  background information required to write comprehensive job ads, interview guides and reference checks; a tangible tool to assist the new hire learn their job and a set of standards against which to fairly performance appraise employees. Job descriptions provide a view into an organization, into what everyone is supposed to be doing, and when viewed comparatively job descriptions increase organizational efficiencies and effectiveness and reduce redundancies.

Occupational Health and Safety Programming (OHS)

OHS is not a cost, it is a money generator.  Safety is more than compliance, safety is first and foremost about family and community. Employees will be happy knowing that you care about their long-term health and wellness. And, happy employees are more productive.  If you want to increase productivity, ensure you have necessary OHS programs in place and ensure you have trained your workforce on those policies.

Informal Recruitment Program

We have a labour shortage.  Perhaps more importantly, we have a talent shortage.  Wrongful hiring wastes precious time (eg. time to recruit, time to onboard or orient, to train, to terminate, etc) and money (eg. lost productivity of both the new hire and the trainer, lost productivity of the administrator to first hire then terminate payroll and benefits, etc).  Perhaps more significantly, wrongful hiring creates speculation and from speculation comes workplace “noise” which negatively affects overall employee morale.  Companies should have more than a conversation with candidates.  There should be a be a rigid process of interviews, testing and checks to ensure that only the most qualified and suitable candidate is offered the job.

Twenty-five years ago, companies with the most money had the competitive advantage in the marketplace.  They could buy their solution whether that be a marketing, equipment or employee solution.  A dozen or so years ago that competitive advantage shifted to companies with the best IT. They could data mine for the best pricing, on-time manufacturing and purchasing trends. Today, given our labour and talent shortage, companies with the most money or best IT just don’t cut it anymore. Instead, the companies who have the most qualified, engaged and motivated employees that are motivated and committed are the ones that rise advantageous.



Tanya Sieliakus is VP Consulting Services at HR Pros Incorporated.  HR Pros was founded in 2008 to help SMEs deal with the complexities of Human Resources Management.  Based in Halifax, HR Pros serves businesses and not for profit organizations throughout the Maritimes



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