Write a value proposition

What is a value proposition?

A value proposition in HR is the key message to employees about why they should want to work for your company. It is a way of attracting the kind of talent that will make your company thrive. It is also the way to focus your strategy more and improve your business.  Remember: the  best employees solve problems and follow your strategic direction and to get them, you need to find them, and keep them.  The best way to do that?  Give your employees what you want.

To give you an example of a value proposition, I’ve pulled a snippet from Deloitte’s careers web page.  While they are by far not the only company with a good value proposition, they are one of my favorite.

Deloitte’s value proposition states:

We seek professionals who see differently, who find opportunity where others don’t, who look within themselves and know that with the right support and team they can impact the world.

This is an excellently targeted message with several key points:

  1. You as the employee make the impact: you are Deloitte
  2. Deloitte wants to hire you if you think differently

These key points are specially designed to attract a certain kind of person, a visionary who wants to make a difference.  Deloitte isn’t looking for people that are ready to accept status quo, they want “A+” players.

If you want good employees, you need to have the right value proposition

Small businesses that want to stand out in the job market must take the time to consider what their value proposition is to employees.  This is more than just the benefits your company offers: it’s the reason that working for your company matters.

When you write a value proposition, you must consider the following questions.
  1. What kinds of skills must your employees have to make your company better?
  2. What are the personality traits that you want in your employees?
  3. How can you attract these kinds of people to your company?
  4. Why would someone want to work for you?
  5. What does your ideal employee value the most in this world?
  6. How will you motivate your employees?
  7. What is your philosophy about employees and how you should treat them?
  8. What will you do if an employee doesn’t meet your expectations?
  9. What can you do to keep an employee like the kind that you are imagining?
  10. How do they spend their days/what is the best way to reach them?
Final words on your value proposition

In general, it is best to keep your value proposition between 2-4 sentences.  Short, sweet, and memorable. You want to communicate your value and convert the employee to applying for your organization, but you also don’t want employees to read a dissertation before applying.  You want to be remembered. Write for impact.

Additionally, you want your value proposition to work well with your overall mission. So make sure you don’t write a value proposition that simply cannot align with your company goals.

Harassment policies and small businesses

2018 was a year that brought to light workplace harassment issues more than ever.  Now, people are aware of workplace harassment. People come forward and report issues. Harassment in the workplace has never been acceptable, but it has often gone ignored by business owners in the past. This can no longer be the case in today’s business environment. As a business owner, you must react quickly to any and all reports.  You must also prevent future incidents in your workplace. In today’s business world, ignoring harassment in your company will result in negative publicity and lawsuits.  Instead, business owners must be willing to proactively protect their employees or face expensive consequences. So far, in 2018 alone:
  • The EEOC filed 66 harassment lawsuits, including 41 that included allegations of sexual harassment. That reflects more than a 50 percent increase in suits challenging sexual harassment over fiscal year 2017.
  • In addition, charges filed with the EEOC alleging sexual harassment increased by more than 12 percent from fiscal year 2017.
  • Overall, the EEOC recovered nearly $70 million for the victims of sexual harassment through litigation and administrative enforcement in FY 2018, up from $47.5 million in FY 2017.
Employers big and small must step forward and make sure that workplace harassment stops.  There is no excuse for a failure to properly train and monitor your workplace for potential predators. The costs to your business goes far beyond lawsuits. Although just one lawsuit could ruin your business, you must consider the costs of reputation, productivity, and employee morale as well. The best thing you can do for your business is to establish clear and specific harassment policies, provide consistent training, and carefully investigate any and all claims. For more resources and assistance, check out our tips on writing policies and procedures. Additionally, make sure you establish a good training program for your employees.  To get started, you can check out the EEOC Training Institute.

Payroll Pros and Cons

Payroll is a vital operation. Most business payrolls account for 30-50% of operating expenses.  While there are many options when it comes to business payroll, there are three major categories to choose from: Payroll Providers, Accountants, and Certified Public Accountants (CPA). Each option comes with its own pros and cons.

Payroll Provider

A payroll provider is a person or company that provides a software for you to run your own payroll in-house.  Usually these companies will have lots of handy automatic tax submissions and calculations as well as bookkeeping features.

Pros: This software is usually great for automating your payroll tasks, tracking your annual payroll, and simplifying the process.  It is also extremely cost-effective. Prices range anywhere from $20-$150 a month for a business of 10 employees or less.

Cons: These softwares are not infallible. Even with this software, someone must run the payroll, check for mistakes, and submit taxes properly. If you’re ignorant when it comes to employment and tax law, then you should hire a trained individual to manage your payroll.   Tax mistakes can cost you thousands later on.

Accountants and Bookkeeping Services

Accountants and bookkeepers are experienced tax professionals. If you know you’re lost when running payroll, one option is to hire a bookkeeper or accountant to run your payroll for you.

Pros: These firms have a reputation to uphold and  a trained staff.  They’re going to catch many mistakes that you will make. Additionally, accountants will be able to do other tax and accounting tasks. This can save you hours of time.  Good accountants save you money because they prevent costly fines for tax mistakes.

Cons: Accountants and bookkeepers are more expensive than a payroll software.  Also, if accountants make a mistake, the liability still falls on you (per the IRS and most state rules). If you get a bad accountant and they intentionally commit fraud, the tax liability still falls on you to correct the mistake and pay any fines.  (Do rest assured though, in cases of fraud, accountants who intentionally made these errors will usually go to jail.)

CPA (Certified Public Accountants)

Pros: A CPA has more education than an accountant or a bookkeeper. They can run your payroll and do all of your taxes. Also, there’s a hidden bonus: liability for tax mistakes fall on the CPA.  Because of their additional qualifications, if a mistake is made, then the liability falls on the CPA and not on your business.  Additionally, a CPA is more knowledgeable of tax law and can help you save a lot of money with tax breaks. Also, if you are in trouble with the IRS or another tax organization, a CPA can go to court for you and talk to the IRS on your behalf.

Cons: These are usually the most expensive options. A CPA has to charge higher prices because of the extra service they provide.  You pay for the experience as well as the security of knowing that the liability is off of your business.

Be careful to check all CPA licenses.  Someone could falsely claim to be a CPA or lose their CPA license.  It is illegal for anyone to claim falsely to be a CPA, but can still happen.  Do your homework before hiring anyone!

Resources to help you make a final decision

To learn more about Payroll Providers, check out our reviews of some of the top 2018 Payroll Providers.  Be aware that not all payroll providers are equal.  If you go this route, do your research and choose the best for your business.

If you’re interested in an accountant, you can help mitigate the risk of getting a bad accountant by searching for one that is registered as an e-file provider with the IRS. The registration processes is highly stringent. This stringent screening process lowers the risk of getting a bad accountant who will mess up your payroll or taxes. Check out the free IRS e-file provider search.

Finally, if you’re interested in checking out a CPA and making sure that they are verifiable, use this free CPA verification website. You can look up CPAs by state and verify they are in good standing and have active licences.

Policies and Procedures Writing Tips

Every employer should take the time to develop good policies and procedures for their business.  Consolidate these policies in the form of a document or handbook.  This provides employees with guidance for their work.  While you can purchase a handbook, you can also write your own. So,  follow these tips for developing a good policies and procedures for your company that will improve your business.


Think about limiting your liabilities.

First, consider ways in which you need to protect your business from negative behaviors and risks.  Prepare for the following risks:  turnover, bad customer service, employee mistakes, product returns, and customer or employee lawsuits.  Consider all the ways in which your business faces these risks.  Come up with a list of these risks.  Use this list to write policies that prevent problems before they occur.

Find ways to inspire good behaviours in your employees.

Make your policies and procedures reflect a positive work culture.  This should include good training, consistent messaging, and employee rewards systems.  You should always consider writing in rewards policies and find ways to inspire good behaviours with your policies and  procedures. These don’t have to be expensive rewards: something as simple as an extra day off a year or a company trip may be value needed to inspire employees with, rather than torment them.

Strive to be simplistic.

Make your policies and procedures clear and concise.  Take the time to consider the limitations that are necessary and recognize that your policies and procedures aren’t meant to be a great work of literature.  They are meant to be a communication tool.  Make your document a way to connect and  help your employees perform their work.

Start with a policy and procedure template

Don’t try to write everything from scratch. This will waste your time. Cut down on your time spent writing and start with a template.  This template provides a baseline for your overall document.

From there, you need to write your policies and procedures carefully.  Also, make sure you write policies that fit with your local state laws and don’t violate any legal requirements.   Carefully edit your document and make it match your business. For example, only includes official policies that directly relate to your operations.  For example, if you’re a service business, writing rules about how to serve food will not be beneficial to your employees.

So, there you have it:  tips for writing good policies and procedures.  If you find that you’d like some extra assistance figuring out what key risks your business faces , contact us . We will schedule a phone call with you for a free consultation and business health check-up.  Then you can better write your own document.  We’re happy to help and want to see you succeed.