Top HR Best Practices to Manage a More Efficient SMB in 2024


  • Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) deal with too many administrative HR tasks and find it hard to center on revenue-generating activities.
  • To stay competitive, businesses need to improve their recruiting process, offer attractive benefits, and enhance communication in the workplace.
  • Sheakley-HR partners with SMBs to manage payroll processing, benefits administration, and compliance for them, so they can focus on growth. Contact us to get started!

Managing a small and medium-sized business (SMB) comes with many daily HR tasks. Businesses need to be efficient while working towards long-term growth. How to keep up with the challenge? Defining your company’s HR best practices can set you off to a good start.

HR best practices synthesize how you hire, manage, and retain top talent. With so many changes affecting the way we work, it’s clear that expectations have shifted, and businesses need to adapt. With this in mind, it might be just about time to update your HR best practices. Read this article to find out where to focus your SMB’s HR efforts this year.

Let’s dive in!

1. Improve your Recruiting Strategy to Attract More Talent to your SMB

SMBs are a vital part of the U.S. workforce and economy.

“Small businesses employ almost half (46%) of America’s private sector”.
— U.S. Chamber of Commerce

However, in a competitive labor market, small businesses need help to stand out among large companies.

If you are struggling to find qualified candidates, it might be time to redesign your recruiting strategy. How? Keep these best practices in mind:

  • Build a compelling employer brand. Your employer brand is the way employees perceive your company. Showcase your brand values and culture through your website, social media channels, and job descriptions to attract like-minded candidates. Responding to reviews on sites like Glassdoor can also reveal information on your approach to feedback and continuous improvement.
  • Craft a graduate recruitment strategy. LinkedIn Insights shows that 80% of small businesses hire graduates but only 12% have formal graduate recruiting programs. Tap into the potential of young talent by creating a targeted strategy for recruiting graduates. Highlight how SMBs are a great place to get hands-on experience and be more involved in the company. Also, make sure to connect directly with academic departments and career advisors.
  • Leverage technology. Use applicant tracking systems and AI tools to automate tasks like creating and managing job postings, gathering candidates’ information, and communicating throughout the hiring process. That way, you can save time and improve efficiency.
Partner With a PEO to Unlock Efficiency and Follow HR Best Practices This Year

2. Partner with a PEO to Enhance your HR Operations

Handling payroll, calculating benefits, and keeping up with compliance can take away precious time from growing your business. By outsourcing some of your most time-consuming HR activities to a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) you can go back to focusing on core operations.

One of the most common myths about PEOs is that they replace your HR staff —but that’s not how it works. PEOs alleviate the burden of administrative tasks, freeing up time for your HR team then dedicate to more strategic, revenue-generating initiatives. Rather than taking over HR functions, a PEO works with your internal team in a collaborative partnership.

Consider this when choosing a PEO this year:

  • Evaluate your options. Choose a PEO that aligns with your business goals, offers customized HR solutions, and can adapt and scale as you grow. Look for a PEO with a proven record of success and positive reviews from their clients. You can even contact businesses like yours and ask for references.
  • Delegate administrative tasks. Use the PEO’s expertise to handle HR tasks like payroll processing, benefits administration, and compliance. When it comes to benefits, a PEO can help you get more competitive healthcare benefits.
  • Evaluate services beyond payroll. Make sure your PEO can handle a wide array of HR outsourcing services like defining an employee policy, processing unemployment contracts, or maintaining employee records fully compliant.

3. Offer a Competitive Employee Benefits Package

Employee benefits are essential for attracting and retaining top talent. For candidates searching for jobs, healthcare benefits are a #1 priority. However, as the costs of benefits increase, small businesses (and even large companies, too) struggle to offer competitive packages.

“Only 39% of organizations with 3-9 employees and 67% of organizations with 10-199 workers offer health benefits.”
— Kaiser Family Foundation

If you are planning to re-evaluate your benefits package this year, consider this:

  • Get affordable healthcare plans for your employees through a PEO. Providing healthcare benefits can be very expensive for small and middle-sized businesses. But if you partner with a PEO, you can get access to affordable health insurance, dental, and vision benefits. At Sheakley-HR we represent over 50,000 employees, which allows us to negotiate Fortune-500 level benefits for SMBs.
  • Provide flexible work arrangements. Offer benefits like flexible work schedules, remote work options, and wellness programs to accommodate diverse employee needs.
  • Add retirement savings benefits. Offering a 401k plan allows employees to save for their retirement with a reduction in their taxes. This can be a great way of retaining employees for the long term and give you an advantage as an employer when looking for new talent.

4. Stay Compliant with Government Laws and Regulations

Running an SMB involves keeping up with a handful of federal, state, and local regulations. To ensure your business (and your employees) are always on the safe side, you need to stay on top of the latest regulatory changes — and that requires both time and knowledge.

Here’s what you can do to stay up to date with laws and regulations this year, and protect your business from legal issues:

  • Stay informed. Regularly monitor changes in labor laws and safety regulations to ensure your policies remain compliant.
  • Document everything. Keep thorough records of employee information, safety protocols, and compliance measures to demonstrate due diligence if needed.
  • Partner with a team of experts to ensure compliance. Manage business risks and make sure you stay compliant at all stages of the HR process, from payroll tax compliance to workplace health and safety, and loss prevention plans.

5. Enhance Communication with your Employees

Transparent and effective communication is the key to a healthy work environment. When employees feel valued and listened to, their motivation and engagement increase.

With the rise of remote work, digital communication channels have become the main focal point of communication in the workplace.

“Workers are spending an average of 20 hours a week using digital communication tools.”
— Forbes Advisor

So, how can you improve employee communication this year? Here are a few ideas:

  • Implement regular check-ins. Schedule regular one-on-one meetings to discuss goals, address concerns, and provide constructive feedback.
  • Use multiple channels to communicate. Provide different ways of communicating as a team and with other employees, like messaging apps, intranet platforms, and project management tools.
  • Encourage feedback. Create a culture that values open communication, encouraging employees to confidently share their thoughts, ideas, and concerns without fear of being judged or criticized.

Running a small or middle-sized business can be very challenging. HR teams need to manage very sensitive tasks, from finding and hiring qualified candidates to ensuring paychecks arrive every month with no errors.

Identifying what employees value and expect from their employers — whether it’s related to benefits, training opportunities, or communication — is key to keeping them by your side. HR best practices provide guidance and help businesses navigate everyday challenges with confidence.

At Sheakley-HR we provide tailored HR solutions to help busy SMBs handle HR tasks like payroll, benefits administration, and compliance.

Contact us to learn how we can fit your business needs and follow HR best practices so you can focus on growing your business!

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