Human Resources for small businesses. Cue the horror movie music. When a yoga or fitness studio opens, the last thing most owners want to deal with is HR. In fact, many studios I’ve worked with have avoided the subject and the proper processes completely. For some it is lack of understanding, for others it is simply too much work. Unfortunately, the IRS won’t really like those excuses, so it’s time to take action and get organized around HR. Keep in mind, HR is a huge black hole of laws, regulations and requirements, and many small businesses aren’t able to understand or comply with all of them! (Disclaimer: I am not an attorney, so please do check with yours to understand your specific circumstances).
So what do you really need to make your studio operate in a lawful way while keeping things simple? Leave the fear and intimidation at the door and check out my list below to see where you can enhance your studio’s HR efforts….
- Locked Employee Files (virtually or physically): For W2 employees, this file should include their I9 (this can be kept in a separate file with copies of either their passport or driver’s license AND social security card), W4, signed offer letter, other employee documents and payroll information.
- Locked Independent Contractor Files: IC’s should include their W9 and any paperwork/contracts or agreements that state the terms of their contract with your company.
- Hiring Procedures: Do you have an interview system, distribute offer letters and have an established training program? It might not be a bad idea. It keeps the process simple each time you have to hire, and avoids issues on the back end if you have to let an employee go.
- An Employee Handbook: A document that describes your company policies and procedures. It will help free up your time! Your staff can reference it for answers to basic questions rather than constantly asking you.
- State and Federal required labor notices posters hanging where employees can see them.
- Break Policy: Each state is different, but check it out! California Example: If your desk staff is on the clock for more than 3.5 hours, you are required to offer them a 10 minute break. If they are on the clock for 5 hours straight or more, you are required to give them a 30 minute break. It can be unpaid if the staff member is relieved of all of his/her duties during that time.
- An Open Door: Your non-exempt W2 employees must have the opportunity to speak with you about workplace issues, environment and job duties. Let communication be a retention tool! You will be amazed what you learn and how much more loyal your employees will be.
- Understand your state’s laws around Independent Contractors vs. W2 employees. In some states it is actually not legal to have your instructors employed as contractors. It is a hot button issue right now, so do your homework! Be sure to connect with an employment attorney to find out if you are operating lawfully.
So, those are the must haves….and for some businesses more “must haves” exist. Many studio owners are not aware of changes in labor laws or how to keep up with state and federal government requirements. So, it is extremely important that you stay in touch with an employment attorney from time to time. You could even research some of the local HR networking organizations to see when they have “legal update” events.
The good news is that all of the above will end up making your life easier. You will have all of your information in one, easily accessible place when you need data. You will also have a much more open relationship with your employees! If you are interested in learning how to create lasting systems and organization around your studio’s HR policies, Schedule your free consultation now!