Human Resource Management


The success of all organizations is largely a product of the talent and motivation of its employees. Building a team of skilled, committed employees requires careful planning and good management ability. A successful entrepreneur does not necessarily make a successful manager, but with some basic preparation and the assistance of a host of small business service providers most can effectively assemble a workforce that will help their business grow. The process of human resource management can be divided into three stages: recruitment and hiring, training and development, and employee motivation and retention.

Throughout this process the employer must take care to comply with employment law. These laws bar discrimination in employment decisions such as hiring, promotion, and termination on the basis of age, gender, race, familial status, national origin, color, or religion. Legislation aimed at protecting persons with physical and mental impairments not only prohibits discrimination against these individuals but also requires an employer to make reasonable accommodations to enable the worker to perform the job. The law further protects employees against workplace harassment, unsafe work conditions, and retaliation for filing a complaint against the employer as well as guarantees fair compensation for work performed. For more information about employment law and regulation visit the Business Regulations section of this website.

Recruitment and Hiring is the process of identifying and specifying the need for certain jobs or positions, advertising a job vacancy, and selecting the candidate that will best meets the needs of the organization. The first step in the recruitment and hiring process is determining the strategic needs to be met by hiring. While the organizational needs may seem straightforward -- you need a clerk to run a cash register -- upon closer examination other requirements are revealed -- you need an assistant manager who can manage the store in your absence, lock up, and deposit daily receipts at the close of the day. By first determining your strategic needs you can tailor the rest of your recruitment process to find the individual best suited to your business.

The next step in the process is to write a position description that includes the basic job duties and responsibilities, the minimum qualifications in terms of experience or education needed to adequately perform the job, the working conditions including hours and physical demands, and the range of compensation and any benefits. Taking the time to write a job description for each position will help clarify expectations of both employees and management. The position description can also serve as the basis of the job posting. The U.S. Department of Labor's CareerOneStop website has a helpful Job Description Writer that guides employers through the process.

Jobs can be advertised in a number of venues. Your goal should be to cast a net wide enough to attract the best and brightest while minimizing your time and effort.

Newspaper classifieds remain one of the most cost effective ways to reach a broad audience.

The N.C. Employment Security Commission has local offices in every county in the state and provides several employee recruitment services.

    The Internet is now considered an indispensable tool for recruiting prospective employees. Job positions can be posted on the organizations own website, on university and community college job boards, or on a commercial website.

    Once a pool of potential applicants is formed the employer must make an initial determination regarding the eligibility of the applicants and identify the most qualified candidates in order to conduct one-on-one interviews. The purpose of the interview is to determine if the individual posses the knowledge, skill, and abilities to perform the job and if they will be a good fit with the organization. In conducting the interview the employer may not ask questions related to age, national origin, disability, familial status and so on. In order to provide useful information on which to make a decision all candidates should be asked the same questions and responses judged on predetermined criteria. A check of references typically follows the conduct of an interview. Based on this process a favored candidate typically emerges and an offer made for employment.

    The U.S. Small Business Administration's guide, How to Select the "Right" Person offers more insights in the conduct of personnel interviews and the website,, provides hundreds of sample interview questions.

    Training and Development builds the knowledge, skill, and abilities of staff in order to enhance job performance and build organizational capacity. The level of type of programs offered to employees will vary by organization but in order to remain competitive in the face of constantly shifting business environments all organization need some type of workforce training and development plan.

    At a minimum, new employees should participate in an orientation program that explains organizational policies and procedures, introduces them to key employees and coworkers, and welcomes them into the organizational culture. Most employers utilize "on-the-job-training," where a new employee learns by doing under the supervision and guidance of an experienced employee. Other approaches include role-playing and simulation exercises, instructional workshops, and multimedia presentations.

    N.C. Department of Commerce sponsored JobLink Career Centers assist employers with a variety of workforce development needs.

    • Ashe County JobLink Career Center  
      The Ashe County JobLink Career Center provides innovative and effective market-driven services to businesses and job seekers.

    • Avery County JobLink Career Center  
      As a JobLink Career Center we desire to provide excellent customer service to our customers so that the economy of Avery County will be enhanced through a quality labor market.

    • Caldwell County JobLink Career Center  
      Provides citizens with employment and training opportunities, career exploration and planning, and support services in a customer driven one-stop setting.

    • JobLink Career Center, NC Department of Commerce  
      Offers labor market information, provides access to career training and job placement services, and serves as the connection between employers and qualified workers.

    • Mitchell County JobLink Career Center  
      The Mitchell County JobLink Career Center will provide a comprehensive system of career development, training, placement and supportive services to both employer and job-seeker customers in Mitchell County through the combined effort of Agency Partners.

    • Watauga County JobLink Career Center  
      The Watauga County JobLink Career Center is part of the network of one-stop career centers developed throughout North Carolina to assist people in making informed choices about their careers and to assist employers with making informed choices about their workforce needs.

    • Wilkes County JobLink Career Center  
      Our primary business objective is to provide an information and resource center to serve dual customers; individuals seeking employment and training and businesses needing qualified applicants. The Wilkes County JobLink Career Center will serve as a one-stop service center with a comprehensive range of services to job seekers and businesses, providing training and job placement.

    • Yancey County JobLink Career Center  
      The Yancey County JobLink Career Center provides quality career planning, training, placement, and supportive services, through the collaborative efforts of all our partners, to develop an effective and comprehensive workforce system for the local community and county.

    Area community colleges also provide workforce development assistance

    The key to Employee Motivation and Retention is job satisfaction. When work goes unacknowledged, suggestions and opinions are ignored, and employees feel underpaid resentment and animosity spreads like wildfire, undermining performance. But when employees feel valued, empowered, and fairly compensated they tend to be happier and more productive. Businesses can take some simple steps to encourage job satisfaction.

    While compensation is not the only factor in job satisfaction it is a big one. You can ensure you are providing competitive pay by comparing wage and salary information. You can obtain this data by visiting the N.C. Employment Security Commission Occupational Employment and Wages website or by contacting your county office directly:

      Programs that recognize and reward employee performance help communicate management's appreciation and commitment to its workforce. The sophistication of these programs ranges from the informal to the elaborate. Often all it takes is a casual, timely thank you. Other simple techniques include employee of the month programs, bonuses, or a holiday party. More elaborate programs might entail profit sharing or other sales incentives.

      To learn more about human resource management consider enrolling in a continuing education class at a local Community College.