New business owners face stress at every stage of the process. From making decisions regarding day-to-day operations to developing a proactive succession plan as the company matures, owners must balance their organizational goals with the rules and regulations applicable to their business. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for new business owners to get overwhelmed attempting to follow local, state and federal compliance regulations.
Fortunately, while every situation is unique, there are some common tips that new business owners can follow to ensure their organization is compliant:
- Develop a strong employee policy handbook: Not only is this a chance to develop your organizational rules such as acceptable computer use and workplace conduct, but you can deliver clear messages regarding the company’s culture and mission. Additionally, the employee policy handbook can cover topics such operational by-laws and how employee data will be stored.
- Work proactively to prevent harassment: While Pennsylvania currently does not require non-government workers to complete harassment training, it doesn’t mean you cannot choose to over-prepare. Mandatory training can become a preventative measure.
- Make a compliance calendar: While people stay organized in many ways, it might be easiest to follow the simplest path. Keep a single calendar, either electronically or on a wall in your office, where you can track deadlines, progress or any type of updates regarding human resources, risk management or any other compliance matter.
- Centralize company communications efforts: Unfortunately, even smaller organizations face communication challenges. Too often, important messages can get lost in a shuffle or buried in various programs. Organizations typically will use an email server as well as an instant message program for chatting, but then also face many business systems such as task managers, scheduling systems or customer portfolio managers that rely on their own communication applications. By controlling the use of these systems and centralizing communication, you can limit your exposure to compliance issues.
- Avoid employee misclassification: By correctly classifying employees, you avoid numerous compliance issues. While it might be tempting to classify employees as exempt or freelance, based on how your business operates, this decision could be illegal.
Whether you are initially developing your organization or have run the organization for years, it is wise to seek the guidance of a legal professional for your business law matter.