Human resources is probably one of the more complicated aspects of running a food truck. The complexities of hiring and supervising employees doesn’t fit nicely on a spreadsheet. Yet human resources are incredibly important; employee pay and benefits make up a large percentage of a food truck’s operating expenses.
Your employees are one of your greatest assets. You must protect and manage that asset. Today we’ll teach you everything you need to know about human resources.
What Is Human Resource Management?
Human Resource Management deals with your employees, whether in regards to recruitment, management, or other forms of direction and assistance. HR will often be in charge of…
- Performance management and reviews.
- Employee development, motivation, and training.
- Safety and wellness.
- Communication between employees and management.
Human resources is a huge responsibility. Some food trucks prefer to outsource a lot of their human resource responsibilities, but there is no getting around human resources completely.
Basic Human Resources Requirements
Human resources is littered with laws and regulations. This is why many food truck vendors often put off dealing with it. For any mobile food business with fewer than 50 employees, there are three basic things you must implement to cover the bases.
Keep three specific files for each employee in your food truck business.
- I-9 – Federal law requires employers to verify an employee’s eligibility to work in the United States. Within three days of hire, employers must complete Form I-9, employment eligibility verification. It requires employers to examine documents to confirm the employee’s citizenship or eligibility to work in the U.S. Employers can only request documentation specified on the I-9 form.
- Employee Records – Maintaining a complete and comprehensive set of employee files is one of the most important things a food truck owner can do to limit their liability as a small business owner. Properly kept employee files can help you stay organized, reduce workers comp claims, lawsuits and even decreases in your insurance premiums. This includes resumes, reviews, disciplinary action, training verification, evaluations, W-4 forms, payroll details, and so on. You’ll use this file often.
- Employee Medical Records – These files contain notes from doctors, disability information, and any medical information that you have on an employee. This information needs to be separate from general files. Keep them in a locked and secure place.
Every food truck must have an employee handbook. Your handbook serves two important purposes: letting your employees know what you expect of them, and protecting your business in case there is an internal or legal dispute.
Make sure you follow the Small Business Administration suggestions for what your handbook might include.
- NDA: If you have employees sign non-disclosure agreements to protect trade secrets include it.
- Anti-Discrimination Policies: Include documents showing you comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act, as well as with other employment discrimination laws.
- Safety: Lay out your policies on how you will keep employees feeling safe at work, both physically and emotionally. U.S. businesses should discuss compliance with OSHA, as well as your own policies on bad weather and emergency situations.
- Compensation and Benefits: Define the benefits that you provide your employees, both those required by law and others that are unique to your business. Let them know how to receive the benefits, and what is required of them.
- Work Schedules, Vacation, and Leave: Outline your food truck’s policy on schedules, absences, lateness, vacation and leave, absenteeism, special requests, and so on.
- Standards of Conduct: This might include dress code, behavior, online and computer use during work hours, use of mobile devices during work hours, ethics, legal aspects, and other similar topics. Outline the repercussions of breaking the standard of conduct so employees see it in writing.
Be sure your employee has received a copy, reads it, and signs a statement acknowledging that they received, read, and understand the employee handbook. Put that statement in their employee file. Keep a copy of the handbook on your truck for reference when needed.
Display Required Posters
Depending on the laws of the state your food truck operates in, you may be required to post information in an easily accessible place. These vary from place to place, so you will want to work with your state government to make sure you have met the requirements. Check out some of the many online shops that sell these posters.
Human Resources Mistakes To Avoid
It’s easy for vendors to sometimes ignore the human resources side of business when things are running smoothly. However, doing so can lead to costly mistakes like employee turnover or even legal issues. These mistakes can lead to serious consequences for the future of these mobile food businesses.
- The hiring process is overlooked. When it comes to hiring workers for a food truck, mistakes are all too common. From poor job descriptions that attract poor candidates to a hurried interview process that results in hiring the wrong people can be detrimental to business.
- Employee handbook is outdated. To reduce employee violations, employers must have, update and communicate work-related policies. Food truck businesses of all sizes need to have some form of an employee handbook. Not having company policies in writing is just asking for trouble.
- Employee training is ignored. Vendors who invest in their employees, in turn invest in the food truck. This investment is most clearly demonstrated by providing various training opportunities for food truck staff members. These opportunities should begin with a thorough onboarding process for new hires. This training should continue with development programs and events for current staff.
- Performance issues aren’t documented. The finale of our human resources mistakes to avoid is related to tracking employee performance. Messy terminations can lead to unwanted lawsuits. While no firing is a positive one, it can be easier when planned for. Your prep work begins by addressing and documenting performance related issues. When performance problems come up, nip them early by discussing them during performance evaluations. This gives your food truck employees an opportunity to correct the issue.
Being proactive in the area of human resources, identifying and correcting human resources mistakes before they become serious problems, can save you countless headaches and protect your food truck against costly legal claims.
The Bottom Line
Employees are critical for any business. Successfully managing the human resource aspect of business can be important, even for very small businesses. After all, in a service economy, employees are part of the delivery of the product and service. Their performance, commitment and loyalty to the job are critical and can be boosted through successful HR management.