Standard Operating Procedures in Human Resources
Implementing standard operating procedures is important, because you want easy work routines for employees to follow. SOPs reduce the need for you and your employees to start from scratch every time you want to complete a task or make a decision. In human resources, SOPs help you treat employees fairly and maintain appropriate documentation for their personnel files.
A procedure includes steps involved in a task. Explain a procedure using a bulleted or numbered list of statements or using a flowchart. This latter diagram is a series of connected shapes, usually with arrows indicating directions. A numbered list is sufficient for procedures involving simple steps. A more complicated procedure with many steps could require creating a hierarchical list, such as letters and Roman numerals or drawing a flowchart. Use a procedure to document your hiring process, including a checklist of all documents that must be completed for a new hire.
Standard operating procedures are more helpful for HR staff when they include details on implementation. For each procedure, provide the title of the position responsible for overseeing the procedure, such as the director of human resources. Include a list of potential users who might complete the procedure and the approvals they must obtain at different stages of a procedure. Indicate the timelines that apply to a procedure and its component parts. For example, charge an HR specialist with completing a new hire checklist -- including all documentation of the hiring process -- within 30 days of a new employee's hire date.
In preparing SOPs, analyze all HR-related tasks in your small business. Many small businesses outsource one or more traditional HR functions. Your hiring procedure might include steps to complete a new hire's file that aren't performed by internal staff, such as sending all payroll documentation to an outsourced payroll company and sending an employee's records release and fingerprint card to a company that performs criminal background checks.
When you hire employees, you assume responsibilities as an employer. In addition to becoming responsible for documenting employees as legal workers in the U.S. and withholding income taxes from employee wages, you want to demonstrate other types of accountability. SOPs help you keep track of ways your company complies with federal and state laws -- especially in areas of equal opportunity, workplace safety, compensation and benefits and privacy.
Use standard operating procedures as training tools for people who join the HR department. Because government laws and rules are always changing, update HR procedures over time and share those updates with affected personnel. Employees may recommend improvements to SOPs based on prior HR experience and ongoing professional development in the field of human resources.