Bite-Size Chunks of Wisdom

November 2015

Recent Posts

When you run a small business, managing employees is a time-consuming part of your job. From schedules to vacation time, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to dealing with human resources within your business. Among the many concerns you face daily is employee satisfaction.


Don’t want to deal with these issues?
Want some professional help without breaking the bank?
Contact HR Solutions now.


Common sense tells you that engaged employees are more productive, so you strive to keep the peace. But in the midst of making everyone happy, you may be doing things that could land you in court or cost you in penalties. Even the most innocent-looking office policies can cause problems. Take a look below for five legal issues to be aware of when dealing with small business HR.

1. Exemptions
An “exempt” employee is paid a predetermined amount of money, regardless of hours worked. According to federal and state laws, salaried employees are sometimes exempt from mandatory breaks and overtime pay. This classification is often easier for employers to manage since there are no timesheets to track, meal breaks to deal with, or overtime to pay.

The problem with this arises when some disgruntled nonexempt employees are misclassified as exempt, and sue their former employers for overtime they were not paid. In order to prevent this from happening to you, check with the Department of Labor, as well as your own state labor office, and learn about what qualifies employees as exempt.  Or consult an expert in human resources or an employment law attorney.

2. Independent Contractor vs. Employee
There’s more to hiring someone under the term “independent contractor” than simply not providing the new employee with benefits. This tricky subject can quickly get you into trouble with the IRS or lead to disgruntled workers. Sure, Sally Mae is more than happy to work as an independent contractor—until an accident happens and she doesn’t qualify for worker’s comp. If the case goes to court and the employee is found to have been incorrectly classified as an independent contractor, you may be forced to pay the worker’s comp benefits, unpaid overtime, penalties and more.

To avoid these costly repercussions, take into consideration these distinctions and make sure you’re in compliance with the law—before hiring someone under the wrong classification. Unlike an employee, an independent contractor minimally:

  • Advertises his or her services,
  • Works for more than one client,
  • Sends client an invoice for work completed,
  • Keeps his or her own records,
  • Sets his or her own hours and terms.
  • Is responsible for his or her own business gains or losses

3. Flexibility With Schedules
You think you’re being nice by giving employees a bit of freedom with their schedules, and they likely thank you for it. But this kind of flexibility often comes with a whole set of problems. For example, if you allow employees to work longer days but fewer of them each week, you may be breaking overtime laws.

Some states only allow workers to be on the job for a certain number of hours each day without incurring overtime, so the best way to counter this issue is to familiarize yourself with your state’s specific requirements. Otherwise, you may be held responsible for lost overtime pay.

4. “Use It or Lose It” Vacation Time
Many employers seek HR solutions for small business that include a policy stating that if paid vacation time isn’t used within a year, the employee loses it. This is an effective policy for saving employers money, but may actually break the law in your state.

Some states require all earned but unused vacation time to be paid upon termination of the working relationship. So before enforcing the “use it or lose it” rule, find out what the legal requirements are in your area.

5. Harassment and Discrimination Training
Not all states mandate harassment and discrimination training (although some, like California, do), but training your first-line supervisors on what to do in certain situations can save you from lawsuits. If you’re not sure what to do or where to start with this training, check with the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunities Commission) for resources. Also, consider human resources management solutions outside your office.

HR for small business can be overwhelming at times. Knowing what the law says about everyday activities is crucial to your success. To make sure you’re in compliance and to eliminate the risk of repercussions, reach out to an HR solutions professional today. Schedule a consultation online or call 480.924.6101 to learn more about safeguarding your business from legal troubles today.

This article first appeared at M.J. Management Solutions, Inc.

MJ Management Solutions, Inc., is a human resources consulting firm that provides small businesses with a wide range of virtual and onsite HR solutions to meet their immediate and long-term needs. From ensuring legal compliance to writing customized employee handbooks to conducting sexual harassment training, businesses depend on our expertise and cost-effective human resources services to help them thrive.

With little exception, every small business owner moves expeditiously from one event to another throughout the day. There’s little or no time to grab a cup of coffee, let alone give your brain a chance to recovery. Is this a good thing in the high-performance world in which we live?

We don’t think so! 

If you’ve been in business for any amount of time, you know the kind of grueling schedule to which I’m referring. You go from one meeting into another – immediately. You move from one call to another – with nary a breath in between. You toggle between one project and another – with just enough time to relieve your bladder – if you’re lucky. And you’re surprised when you fall into your Lazy Boy at the end of day – utterly exhausted – barely able to string two words together?

You shouldn’t be. Your brain is toast! 

Whether it’s decision fatigue, spontaneous juggling of multiple activities, overwhelm and overcommittment, or all of the above, its eminently apparent – someone needs a nap. 

Busier is Not Better

In fact, on any given day, there’s so much coming at small business owners, its difficult to process. This continual inundation of information is attention draining. Always being “on”…

  • kills creativity,
  • dampens decision making,
  • impairs memory,
  • diminishes performance,
  • slows response time, and
  • destroys focus.

Yet, we continue to forge ahead even though we know we’re on empty.

No surprise there! We’ve become accustomised to working through dulled senses and stagnant energy. Unless we’re willing to replenish our ability to work, performance will lag behiind what we want – or need. 

Take a Brain Break

More and more studies explain how some of the most gifted artisits and athletes sustain high levels of performance.

For instance, Psychologist K. Anders Ericsson, who studied high performers for over 30 years, discovered that most people can push themselves beyond their limits for only about an hour without rest. In fact, Ericsson stated, “Unless the daily levels of practice are restricted, such that subsequent rest and nighttime sleep allow the individuals to restore their equilibrium, individuals often encounter overtraining injuries and, eventually, incapacitating ‘burnout.”

Ding! Ding! Ding! Does that ring a bell? Of course, it does…and we’ve known it for years.

Giving your brain an occasional break throughout the day refreshes and energizes you. It improves concentration, relieves stress, and promotes creativity. And, with motivation and energy restored, high levels of performance become sustainable.(Just ask any 2 year old!)

My advice for small business owners? Give your brain a break. Downtime means more uptime.

What strategies do you follow to ensure you maintain high performance?

When you run a small business, human resources can often be the bane of your existence. And HR paperwork? Forget it! There go hours and hours of valuable time and resources. What you need is a simple, cost-effective solution. Enter: HR WebForms®.

The Solution to HR Documentation

HR WebForms help to effectively manage the day-to-day needs of your company, keeps all necessary human resources information organized, and ensures your organization remains compliant with state and federal regulations.


Ready to save time and money? Head over to HR Webforms
for all your HR document needs in both English and Spanish.


Not convinced? Here are three ways they save you time and money:

  1. Pre-Designed and Professionally Crafted. HR WebForms already include all the info you need for managing the HR side of your business. There’s no time spent researching what to include in each form, and no money spent hiring someone to carefully design forms from scratch. Everything is there—created by human resources professionals who know the ins and outs of all things HR.
  2. Conveniently Customizable and Easy to Use. Although pre-made, they are easily customized to meet the needs of your organization. And customization is simple. Just fill in a few blanks, add your logo, and print. And, voila! You’re done. No formatting, no writing, no designing—no hassle.
  3. Legally Compliant to Save You from Penalty Fees. Legal requirements must be considered for various forms. Our webforms are inspected for compliance and updated as laws change. It’s one less thing you have to worry about, giving you peace of mind so you can sleep better at night.

If you’re overwhelmed and drowning in human resources paperwork, HR WebForms is your new best friend. Cost-effective, comprehensive, and simple—these documents offer everything you need to efficiently manage your company’s HR.

Choose from eight different packages, or select individual HR WebForms, based on your needs. Each document is available in both English and Spanish for your convenience.

Give us a call to learn more—and simplify your work life.

This article first appeared at M.J. Management Solutions, Inc.

MJ Management Solutions, Inc., is a human resources consulting firm that provides small businesses with a wide range of virtual and onsite HR solutions to meet their immediate and long-term needs. From ensuring legal compliance to writing customized employee handbooks to conducting sexual harassment training, businesses depend on our expertise and cost-effective human resources services to help them thrive.

In March of 2000, my husband reluctantly drug me to a Lexus dealership to purchase one of the most advanced cars (at that time) on the market. Needless to say, I was less than impressed by the nonnegotiable (overly) priced vehicle. None the less, it possessed one of the first navigation systems.

Finally! I could ditch the small encyclopedia called the “Thomas Guide” that required a PhD in map reading in order to get to your destination a mere 20 miles away. How cool was that!

Fast forward sixteen years…

An automobiles navigation system is practically obsolete. Although a standard feature in most cars, smart phones and apps are now doing the lion’s share of the navigation. Why? Because it’s better, faster, and more reliable, in most situations.

Technology: A game changer for small business

Without a doubt, technology continues to change the landscape of our business.

  1. Technology improves productivity. When the right technology is used for such functions as sales, marketing, and operations, your business enjoys greater performance. Technology reduces paperwork, eliminates redundancy, and frees you up to attend to the core services on which your business growth depends. Don’t spend your time pushing paper; spend your time pushing profits.
  2. Technology enhances relevance. Have you seen a business without a website or online payment ability? We all have—which is hard to believe in this day and age. Although you may not think it negatively impacts your brand, guess again. Savvy consumers question the pertinence of a business who has not unleashed the power of technology in their business.
  3. Technology simplifies the consumers buying process. Buyers rule! And, what they want more than anything, is to reach their desired outcome in as few steps as possible. Technology affords them the opportunity to achieve their outcome.
  4. Technology gives back your time. Ask any small business owner to identify their most critical resource and you’ll likely hear one word—time. It’s the one precious commodity we wish we had more of. And, now we can. For instance, rather than being consumed by traffic, technology is used for “face-to-face” meetings across town or time zones.
  5. Technology expands brand awareness and reach. Gone are the days for small business growth to be limited by geography. Through the use of technology, today’s business growth is only limited by one’s imagination.

Even so, it can all be a little overwhelming—especially for a small business owner.

Start small—Finish big

You don’t have to be Google, Apple, or Amazon to take advantage of technological advancements for business growth.

Start small by replacing redundancy with automation. Connect people and processes where possible. Eliminate (or dramatically reduce) costly paper transactions. Use software as it was intended—as a solution. And, most importantly…just start.

The business world has changed. Have you?

Are your small business tools and technology contributing to your productivity, performance, and profitability? If not, let’s chat about how to use the right technology to support your business goals for growth.

Contact Us

Core Business Assessment


Brooke Billingsley

Vice President
Perception Strategies

Synnovatia is a strategic coaching firm that is detailed and knowledgeable about business. i have a small business that grew from $150K to $750K because of the goal setting and resources that Synnovatia provided. It saves me years of learning on my own.

Search The Blog