human resources management / entrepreneurship small business startup advice

Fear and Fun: Free Human Resources Consulting at Alexandria SBDC

Español: Peter F. Drucker, padre de la adminis...
Peter F. Drucker (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Did you even know that the SBDC is providing free Human Resources consulting to its clients? I am having great fun meeting the many different businesses and non-profits coming in. But for many of them, the main reason to sign up for a consultation is fear. Fear of hiring, perfomance issues, employee lawsuits, terminations gone bad, the unknown legal risk, or change.

Happily we have had some pro-active folks who know what their strategic goals are but need some help with what that means in HR terms. And others who are solo now but want to be prepared to add staff in the future. Now you might think those would be the most fun discussions. They often are the most pleasant.

But the great fun of those who come in with a problem – often one they have been worrying about or hoping would disappear for some time – is to make the fear disappear. I love the look of relief or the kind comments when that happens.

Dealing with people issues is difficult for most of us. We avoid conflict. We wonder why others are not aware of goals and needs we see as obvious. We fear legal risks that are rare or quite unlikely. We lay awake wondering how to resolve an ‘employee problem’ or deal with a ‘problem employee’ – especially when the person is family, friend, or has long service. We want to hire but fear our ability to find the ‘right person’ quickly and easily. And we are overwhelmed at the thought of fast growth. We may have tried policies or procedures from a past employer but found that they did not work or are ignored.

Many entrepreneurs have had little management training. Others have had some but in a large bureaucratic system that they hated. Most want to create a great environment so that their organizations can thrive, but few know how.

Often, the presenting problem is not the actual problem. Peter Drucker wrote of how almost all employee failures are actually system failures. System failures are often hard to see. And when it is your system, you do not even think of it as a possible problem. None of us ever thinks we are the problem either, but sometimes we are at least a part of it. Many entrepreneurs have high control needs.

In the first seven months of HR Consults, we have dealt with all these issues and more. Marketing, strategic planning, finances, and partnerships have been other common themes.

If you are interested in an HR Consult, contact Gloria Flanagan at the SBDC for an appointment. Give her some idea of what your concerns are so we can provide the most help in the hour consult time.

And go back to your work with actionable ideas and information to help reduce the fear, enhance your organization’s success, and be on the road to thriving.

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