HR Basics to Avoid Labor Woes

Last Updated on October 9, 2020

HR basics help avoid employee turnover &
avoid costly penalties

It may be tempting to gloss over the importance of HR basics such as hiring procedures, I-9 procedures, handbook review and more, however, buying into the 3 common myths about HR compliance and ignoring these HR basics will mean financial risk for many employers in 2 major areas: 1) Increased labor costs due to employee  turnover and 2) Fines, lawsuits and audits due to labor law non-compliance.

HR Basics Help Avoid Turnover & Compliance Calamities

Hiring and keeping the right employees and maintaining compliance are still among the top 5 challenges that independents say are affecting sales growth and profits.

By ignoring the HR basics, independent grocers can open themselves up to issues such as:

  • Increasing worker turnover, which drives up labor costs and reduces customer service. For example, the estimated cost of turnover for a $12/hour employee can run upwards of $12,000 per employee – 30-50% of their pay!
  • Running afoul of I-9 requirements, which can be particularly risky as worksite investigations have continued to increase (up 255% 2018 v 2017). Employees can have fines of over $2,000 per form for simply not properly filling out the forms.
  • Risk from Worker Employment Claims, which can lead to claims such as sexual harassment, wrongful termination, discrimination and others. In today’s environment, these types of claims continue to rise. In fact, sexual harassment lawsuits filed by the EEOC were up 50% in 2018 v 2017.

3 Simple Ways to Avoid HR Calamities & High Turnover

Here are 3 simple HR practices to help hire the right people, reduce costly worker turnover and avoid HR compliance calamities:

  1. Pave the way to hire the right people
    • Create and update job descriptions. Use them to:
      • Match the right person with the job
      • Justify overtime exemptions and ACA classifications. This helps to ensure the employee, hiring manager, co-workers and employer are on the same page about the role. Job descriptions are also key to employee reviews as well as for performance improvement, termination and unemployment claims support.
    • Employee screening. Be diligent about running background checks to:
      • keep your workers and business safe
      • confirm the applicant’s identity
      • avoid expensive hiring mistakes

Fill out I-9 forms completely and accurately to avoid costly penalties.

  1. Create a culture of respect and equality
    • Review & update your Employee Handbook. Use it to:
      • Communicate company policies to promote fairness and consistency in the workplace
      • Demonstrate your intention to comply with federal, state and local labor laws
      • Defend your business against employment complaints and lawsuits.
    • Train workers & managers to behave in the right ways. Many workers need training on the specifics of fair and respectful behavior in the workplace to meet labor laws. Managers often need guidance on the right way to handle and escalate sticky worker situations.
    • Investigate all complaints and grievances. Start by giving workers a safe way to report unfair or disrespectful behavior. Anonymous tip lines work great for those concerned about retribution or being labeled a “snitch.” It builds trust and encourages calls to the tip line instead of going to the EEOC.
  1. Evaluate your HR compliance in 7 key areas:


Chris Cooley is co-founder of MyHRConcierge and SMB Benefits Advisors.  MyHRConcierge specializes in helping small to mid-sized grocers throughout the U.S. Chris can be reached at 855-538-6947, ext. 108 or at