Growing your Business and Dealing with the Growing Pains, Part 1: HR Policies

Michelle Branigan

Sept 15, 2019

By Michelle Branigan

Business is good, the orders are rolling in, and you’ve hired enough staff to keep up with demand. When business is going well it can be an invigorating and exciting time for all employees — those who have been around for quite a few years and those who are just kicking off their careers, perhaps are even in their first job. As the business grows there is a need to ensure that your HR policies reflect expectations for how things are done at your organization. They provide employees with guidelines as to best practices, help ensure that staff are treated fairly, and allow managers to make decisions that are unbiased, consistent and transparent.

Don’t create policies for the sake of it, but in response to a real need. For some organizations the changing work environment will dictate policy changes. More and more companies are allowing employees to work remotely, necessitating the need for a policy that informs staff of the details of the agreement. This could include the criteria for approval to telecommute, the use of equipment and technology, required response times, as well as accountability and monitoring of the arrangement. Other companies allow for a compressed workweek, or have volunteer days available to encourage support to give back to their communities or charities.

Ensure that any policies you implement are in line with what your company values, how work should be accomplished, and then train your managers on how to implement and monitor them. It’s important that everyone is treated equitably and there is no perceived bias as to how fellow workers are treated.

Having well documented policies will also ensure that the organization is in compliance with legislation and provide protection against employment claims. Make sure that you are up to date with the relevant federal and provincial employment legislation to understand the policies that are required for compliance in your jurisdiction. Regardless of the size of your organization this is a must-do activity, not an “I’ll get to that eventually” activity.

As you grow you need to ensure that you review — or develop — an HR plan that will support how you grow the company over the coming years, and have the right people in place to do it. What’s your talent strategy? Do you know what job seekers are looking for in an employer?


Get it right and the rewards can be immense: increased productivity, a great team culture, less turnover etc.

Get it wrong and that mistake can be oh so costly. Not only does the wrong hire cost you money (think of all the time spend on interviews and onboarding), it also puts pressure on the staff already in place who are now expected to carry the load.

Don’t skip references. They are not a fail proof way to ensure you get the right candidate but the right questions can uncover a lot. Sometimes it’s what is not said that is as important as what is. Many companies have specific tests that apply to the role, be it communications, tech support or business development. Investigate if this would be of use. You don’t want to hire somebody to manage your growing social media presence only to discover they can’t spell.

Review your jobs descriptions. Are they accurate? Up to date and in line with the actual job? I’ve seen a lot of situations where the job description has not been updated in a decade, and some of the “necessary requirements” are no longer valid, or the job has evolved so much it’s not a true reflection of the actual job function. That’s a recipe for disaster, as you now have new employees coming in expecting to do one thing, while you’re expecting them to do something quite different. If folks will be expected to wear many different hats be upfront about it. For many individuals this can actually be a draw.

Finally, communicate, then repeat.

When reviewing your HR policies with new staff make sure that you do it more than once. This has to go beyond the first orientation on day one of an employee’s orientation (because let’s face it, they are being hit with so much information it’s not all going to sink in). It’s also a useful reminder for existing team members. Here at my own organization we have grown our team substantially over the past year and we make sure that we revisit this on a planned basis.

Ideally your HR policies are best practices that exemplify the values and culture of your company — and remind your employees of why they accepted that job offer in the first place.

Michelle Branigan is CEO, Electricity Human Resources Canada.


Related Articles

Latest Articles

  • Comprehensive Energy Savings Incentive Program for Alberta Businesses

    Comprehensive Energy Savings Incentive Program for Alberta Businesses

    Through additional financial incentives for participants bundling efficiency measures and new technology types, the Comprehensive Energy Savings (CES) stream supports facilities that are aiming to achieve deeper emissions reductions and energy savings. Participants that bundle smaller capital investments into a bigger investment package will benefit from increased incentives and greater long-term results, such as increased… Read More…

  • ECAO Anti-Racism Toolbox TalkAnti-Racism Toolbox

    ECAO Anti-Racism Toolbox TalkAnti-Racism Toolbox

    February 7, 2023 Racist actions, activities, tones, or remarks have no place in Ontario workplaces including construction sites. The ECAO not only have zero tolerance for any form of racism or intimidation, they are taking responsibility to stand up and be actively anti-racist in policy and action. To assist and educate member companies and their… Read More…

  • 2022 Electrical Contractor Survey: Material Availability and Price Volatility Increasing Risk for Electrical Contractors

    2022 Electrical Contractor Survey: Material Availability and Price Volatility Increasing Risk for Electrical Contractors

    February 6, 2023 By: Blake Marchand There are several factors that have led to uncertainty when it comes to material availability and product prices fluctuation in the electrical market. Primarily, those factors stem from global events that influence the broader market – the value and demand of raw materials, the cost of shipping, the cost… Read More…

  • Guide to the Canadian Electrical Code, Part 1 , 25th Edition – A Road Map: Section 80

    Guide to the Canadian Electrical Code, Part 1 , 25th Edition – A Road Map: Section 80

    Rule 80-000 notes that this is a supplementary or amendatory section of the code and applies only to the installation of impressed current cathodic protection systems. Appendix B and the CEC Handbook have additional information and descriptions of Cathodic Protection. This Section considers that the wiring methods used in installing such systems are sometimes inconsistent with the requirements of other Sections of the Code. Read More…

Changing Scene

  • Arlington Presents National and Regional Sales Awards at NEMRA 2023 Conference

    Arlington Presents National and Regional Sales Awards at NEMRA 2023 Conference

    February 7, 2023 Arlington Industries Inc. is pleased to announce the recipients of their annual representative sales awards – for 2022 sales of Arlington’s MADE IN USA and many patented, innovative and labor-saving products. Presented to firms representing Arlington at the recent 2023 National Electrical Manufacturers Representatives Association (NEMRA) meeting in Las Vegas, the awards… Read More…

  • Westburne Announces Three New Appointments in Quebec

    Westburne Announces Three New Appointments in Quebec

    February 7, 2023 Westburne has announced three new appointments in for their Quebec division. Stephane Lepage has been appointed Director of Sales – West effective January 10th. “With over 25 years of experience, Stephane started his career with Westburne, where he held several positions within the company. He then moved to other distributors and manufacturers…. Read More…

  • Acuity Brands Announces Licensing Agreement with BIOS

    Acuity Brands Announces Licensing Agreement with BIOS

    February 7, 2023  Acuity Brands, Inc. announced today that its subsidiary Acuity Brands Lighting, Inc. has entered into an agreement to participate in the BIOS ILLUMINATED™ partnership program. In connection with this agreement, BIOS will sell to Acuity Brands certain human-centric LED lighting components for use in its architectural lighting fixtures for wellness. Acuity Brands will… Read More…

  • FLO Introduces FLO Ultra™: a New DC Fast Charger Designed to Provide the Ultimate Fast Charging Experience

    FLO Introduces FLO Ultra™: a New DC Fast Charger Designed to Provide the Ultimate Fast Charging Experience

    February 7, 2023 FLO introduced FLO Ultra, an ultra-fast charger engineered to maximize energy delivery with future-proof performance and smart design that enables the ultimate EV charging experience. “EV demand and sales are topping all industry expectations and are now forecasted to exceed more than 45% of U.S. light duty vehicle sales by 2030,” said Nathan Yang,… Read More…