An Ounce of Prevention

The top two troubles for today’s business owners – and the strategies to fix them

By: Connie Laughlin

Finding talent
A key advantage of successful leaders is bringing in the best talent to assist with growth of revenue through their experience, professionalism and leadership. An efficient use of time is finding talented people to assist in areas where you, the business leader, lack either sufficient knowledge or the time to devote to management. Do you know how to find and retain these key employees?

Mature professionals realize the lack of robust HR is a telltale sign of inexperienced or lackadaisical management. It goes a long way to have a business that’s professionally branded in a multitude of ways, one that’s legally compliant with the countless worksite laws and one that utilizes effective management tools and programs.

Per Wikipedia, “The professional discipline and business function that oversees an organization’s human resources is called human resource management (HRM, or simply HR).” HR refers to the body of individuals who make up a workforce; terminology varies as some refer to their workforce as human capital.

The fact of the matter is: Employees are an asset! The word, “asset,” is positive and refers to something or someone that’s of use, that’s valuable and that contributes to success. Employees are a valuable asset to be cultivated and protected.

Bersin, by Deloitte, delivers research-based people strategies designed to help leaders and their organizations in their efforts to deliver exceptional business performance. They’re one of the most highly noted and sought-after analysts to Fortune 100 companies.

Bersin’s research shows mature companies spent 34 percent more on training and other talent initiatives than companies at the lowest maturity level. Companies are investing more in their “human capital,” which is nothing but good news for today’s workforce. All businesses, from two employees to 20,000, should invest in their “human capital.”

Highly successful mentors with instinctual vision are a saving grace. Now more than ever, creative thinking needs to happen. Salespeople must use consultative sales techniques and be highly regarded in their communities, as the old methods are no longer useful. Finances need attention now more than ever. Don’t leave your assets hanging out there for someone to take a big bite. If you don’t have a strong HR and risk management background, you could be done on both sides pretty quick.

To some businesspeople, this could be an opportunity. Is opportunity knocking at your door, but you’re so busy with back office stuff you can’t hear it?

Today you may find yourself using more time to strategize and streamline your operation. Many businesspeople are not managing, but actually doing the work themselves because they had to let people go or don’t want to hire additional staff. So who’s effectively managing exposure to the liabilities associated with employees (workers’ compensation insurance administration, payroll taxes, safety programs and compliance with federal and state regulations)?

There are a multitude of areas where you need protection. I don’t care if you have one employee or 100. Beware of compliance issues such as sexual harassment and other EEO stuff that could empty your nest egg and fill someone else’s. Likewise, workers’ compensation insurance administration can be tricky even in white-collar companies. Keep in mind, significant trips and falls in the office could mean a huge increase in the experience modifier rating resulting in higher costs to you. You need a really good risk management program, regardless of your industry.

Try to find a way to provide yourself with a predictable cost for your worksite employees and reduce your liability. One alternative is to work with a professional employer organization (PEO). With a PEO, you are not going it alone. No longer do you have to worry if you are an incident or two away from skyrocketing cost.

You need to be focused on high performance – not the same old worries of the rising costs of everything. Keep rising costs at bay, do your homework and get on with business! As Benjamin Franklin said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Connie Laughlin is a business consultant for UniqueHR, which provides payroll administration, workers’ compensation insurance, safety programs, risk management, human resources programs and, optionally, benefits as a package. For more information, you may contact Laughlin at 361-852-6392 or