Establishing Manual HR Systems

The devil is in the details someone once said, and this is certainly true with respect to designing an HR system. The HR manager may talk in broad terms about the recruiting, selection, and other HR functions he or she wants to install. But eventually, creating the HR system requires translating the HR manager’s broad preferences (for “a selection program that produces more qualified candidates,” for instance) into specific, “how exactly will we do this” policies, guidelines, tools, and paperwork or computerized processes. This means actually creating the infrastructure of the HR system.

Doing so is not easy. Consider the paperwork required to breathe life into a company’s HR system. Just to start with, recruiting and hiring an employee might require a Notice of Available Position, a Help Wanted Advertising Listing, an Employment Application, an Interviewing Checklists, various verifications of education, and immigration status, and a Telephone Reference Checklist. You’d then need an Employment Agreement, Confidentiality and Non-compete Agreement and an Employer Indemnity Agreement. To process that new employee you might need a hiring Authorization Form, an Employee Background Verification, a New Employee Checklist, and various forms for withholding tax and to obtain new employee data. And to keep track of the employee once on board, you’d need – just to start – an Employee Changes Form, Personnel Data Sheet, Daily and Weekly Time Records, an Hourly Employee’s Weekly Time Sheet, an Overtime Permit, an Expense Report a vacation Request, an Absence Request, an Affirmative Action Summary, and an EEO Policy Statement and Analysis of promotions . Then come the performance appraisal forms, a Critical Incidents Report, Notice of Probation, First (or second) Warning Notice Form, a Disciplinary Notice, a New Employee Evaluation, a Performance Evaluation and a Letter of Commendation , and (eventually) a Retirement Checklists , Notice of Dismissal Reduction in Workforce Notice, Employee Check – out Record, Separation Notice, and Employment Reference Response.

The preceding list barely scratches the surface of the policies, procedures and paperwork needed to run the HR system part of a business. This has several implications. First, you obviously can’t wing it. Perhaps with just one or two employees one could keep track of everything in memory, or just write a separate memo for each HR action, and place it in a folder for each worker. But with more than a few employees one needs to create a human resource comprised of standardized forms.

Very small firms can handle all or most of this sort of HR record keeping through manual paper and pencil forms and systems. But as the company grows, various parts of the HR system – payroll, or appraising, for instance – will have to be computerized if the firm is to remain competitive. After all a HR manager probably don’t want to spend twice as much money and time on HR as their competitors.

Very small employers (say, with 10 employees or less) will probably start with a manual HR system. From a practical point of view, this generally means obtaining and organizing a set of standardized personnel forms covering each important aspect of the HR – recruitment, selection, training, appraisal, compensation, safety process – as well as some means for organizing all this information for each of your employees.

The number of forms you could conceivably need even for a small firm is quite large. A reasonable way to obtain the basic component forms of a manual HR system is to start with a compilation of forms book like that one. The forms required can also be adapted from standard sources for a particular situation. Office supply stores (such as Office Depot and Office Max) also sell packages of personnel forms. For example, Office Depot sells packages of individual personnel forms as well as a “Human Resources kit” containing 10 copies of each of the following: Application, Employment Interview, Reference Check, Employee Record, Performance Evaluation, Warning Notice, Exit Interview and vacation Request, plus a Lawsuit Prevention Guide. Also available and highly recommended is a package of Employee Record Folders. Use the folders to maintain a file on each individual employee; on the outside of the pocket is printed a form for recording information such as name, start date, company benefits, and so on. In India most companies, design their own formats (except statutory requirements) get them printed and use them.

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