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The Ultimate Guide to Human Resources

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The Ultimate Guide to Human Resources

Remarkable Human Resources (HR) employees are critical at every company. They handle all employee relations so you can focus on your side of the business.

Before we discuss more reasons why your company needs an impactful HR department and how you can go about building one, let’s talk more about what human resources actually means.

Based on this definition alone, you can see how it would be difficult to run your operation successfully without the assistance HR provides. That’s why even small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have HR departments with employees who oversee all management, engagement, and development between the company and its employees. HR departments exist to support you and your employees so you can continue doing your jobs successfully.

The work and responsibilities of a human resources employee will touch a large portion of your business every day. So what does that mean for you? Let’s review some of the most common responsibilities these employees have so you can better understand the impact HR will have on your company.

HR Responsibilities

Handle employee relations

HR handles the employee-to-employee relationships as well as the employee-to-company relationship. This means they work to develop positive interactions and treatment among all employees within your company so they feel good about coming to work, are committed to their jobs, and are invested in the growth of the business.

Whether it’s a personal matter or a work-related issue, human resources will handle all issues with care and keep the best interest of both your company and employee in mind.

Create an employment structure

Your HR department will handle your entire staffing plan — meaning they’ll identify the gaps in your current employee structure and fill them by acquiring new talent. They’re also in charge of firing any existing talent that isn’t meeting company standards. Your company’s HR team will ensure you have the right people to help you grow your business.

Manage employee job satisfaction

Once your employees have begun work, you’ll want to make sure they’re excited to come to the office every day and add value to your company — their excitement is directly related to their level of job satisfaction. If your employees are happy in their roles, feel as though they can grow at your company, and can change departments down the road if they choose to, they’re more likely to be productive team members. Your HR team ensures your employees really do feel satisfied in their roles and will work with them if they feel unhappy or unsatisfied at any point in time.

Manage employee benefits

Your HR department will handle the amount and type of employee benefits your company offers. Providing good employee benefits is critical to the success of your business because they’re proven to attract and retain talent and increase employee productivity. Benefits keep employees satisfied by giving them a variety of perks and making them feel secure in their roles.

Handle compensation

HR manages all payroll and compensation work, including employee salaries, payment schedules, W2s, and all other tax-related paperwork. If an employee is offered a promotion — or awarded a bonus — HR will handle all changes in their regular payment schedules.

Maintain the company business plan

Your HR department will help you create, distribute, and maintain your company’s business plan — this serves as an overview of your company’s organizational structure. It covers your company’s philosophy and culture code, how you manage your employees, and how you’ll distribute your resources.

Handle new hire training

When an employee is hired, HR will often take them through the necessary training they need before diving into their everyday tasks. Whether one day or six weeks, new hire training is critical to making that person feel comfortable in their new role. It’s also a great way to set expectations early on and get them prepared so they can make an impact as quickly as possible.

Screen job candidates

In the beginning of the hiring process, you may be tasked with screening job candidates. In this initial screening, you have the opportunity to ask candidates about their previous roles, core qualifications, and salary expectations.

Keep in mind that as you evaluate each job candidate, they’re also evaluating you. Presenting yourself — and your company — in a good light is crucial, especially considering that 67% of job seekers have had at least one negative experience in the hiring process, and more than half have declined an offer because of a poor experience.

Create company culture standards

HR is in charge of helping you create and maintain your company culture — this includes your philosophy, mission statement, and work environment. It also includes your company’s ethical standards, values, goals, and expectations. HR may implement programming, activities, check-ins, or events at your office so your employees can learn and develop a better understanding of the culture.

Maintain a healthy work environment

Your HR team will assist you in creating a healthy and safe work environment for all employees. Their role includes setting health and safety standards in the office, communicating these standards to all employees, and upholding them as the business grows. These standards should be written so they can reference them at any point in someone’s time at your company.

Handle necessary administrative work

A lot of your company’s administrative work is handled by HR. This includes paperwork related to federal and state tax laws, job applications, time-keeping and payroll information, and employee contracts.

We’ve put together a list of 10 steps — not listed in any specific order — you should take to build a successful HR department. Whether you begin working through this list with or without your company’s first (or first few) human resources employee(s), all 10 items on this list should be thoughtfully considered.

1. Create a company-wide staffing plan

Create a company-wide staffing plan so you can identify all positions you’ll need to fill with your new hires. This may also include moving current employees into new roles or even removing employees and/ or their roles entirely from the company.

2. Set an HR budget

You’ll need a budget for your human resources department to cover the costs of building the department and hiring your HR team. The budget will also go to company-wide programming, and culture and team building activities HR may organize. 

3. Make a payroll and compensation system

You’ll need to ensure you have payroll and compensation plans in place for all types and levels of employees. Your employees will want to know how, when, and the frequency in which they’re going to be paid the moment they receive their job offer. You’ll also need this information to determine salary ranges for all of your employees.

4. Write job descriptions

Job descriptions posted on your website and job sites such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor are how you’ll attract applicants. You’ll want to create job descriptions for all of the HR roles you need to hire for. Then, as you fill some of these HR openings, those new hires should be able to assist you in creating all other job descriptions for your growing company.

 

5. Lay out a clear benefits plans

A clear and thorough benefits plan is crucial for attracting and retaining talent. You’ll want to lay out all of the benefits you offer to your new hires so they can feel good about their decision to join your team as well as secure and supported in their roles.

6. Create an employee handbook

An employee handbook (whether print or digital) is a great way to set clear expectations from day one about workplace behavior, safety, health, and culture. Your handbook should include answers to all the questions your employees may have about these topics — and any others you see fit — as they go through training and begin work at your company.

7. Set safety procedures

Your employees are most likely in the office for approximately eight hours per day — meaning it needs to be a healthy and safe place for them to spend large amounts of time. If one of your employees ever felt unsafe or at risk of mental or physical harm at the office, it’d be very difficult to expect them to be productive.

To avoid this, you should set workplace health and safety standards, which you can include in your employee handbook. State your safety procedures for different types of personal altercations and procedures for emergencies and other potential unexpected or dangerous situations so everyone can handle them appropriately.

8. Collect administrative records

Although you may have an executive assistant who collects and organizes a lot of your company’s administrative records, plenty of documentation should be collected, organized, and managed separately by your HR department. These items may include job applications, benefit plans, tax documents, and compensation and payroll details.

9. Display necessary employment posters

State and federal laws require companies and their HR teams to hang specific employment posters around their offices so they’re visible to everyone who enters the space. Some of these required posters change over time, so be sure to keep up with the laws and requirements of your state and country.

10. Create performance and feedback processes

Employee success and satisfaction are major components of a prosperous company — without these two things, it’d be challenging to retain your best talent. In fact, companies that implement regular employee feedback have turnover rates that are 14.9% lower than companies who do not.

You’ll want to create company-wide performance and feedback processes to ensure everyone is held to a specific standard that you and your HR team set and maintain.

Employee performance evaluations ensure all employees are working up to their full potential. This time should also be spent making sure your employees are satisfied with their jobs, feel as though they can grow with your company, and enjoy being a member of your team.

What to Look For in an HR Candidate

Now that you have a better understanding of HR’s responsibilities and how you can start building your own department, let’s review some of the things you should identify in potential HR candidates, including education type and work experience.

HR candidate

Human Resources Candidate Education and Background

It’s no secret that many people often “fall” into the human resources field. By this I mean a lot of people who end up in the field don’t necessarily go into their undergraduate education thinking they want a career in HR. If this is the case for some of your HR applicants, there are a few indicators that you’ve found a great candidate despite their educational background.

  • HR certifications, such as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) certification or one of the various others offered by the HR Certification Institute.
  • Great work ethic, personality, and ability to be strategic. It’s key to find a candidate that will represent your company well and has the adaptability to grow into their role. If you see promise, you might also provide this type of candidate with the opportunity to earn a certification and/or postgraduate education in the field as they begin work at your company.

If you’re considering slightly more experienced candidates for your HR department, here are some indicators to look for:

      • Bachelor’s degree in Human Resources Management, Business Administration, or a closely related field.
      • Master’s degree in Human Resources or Human Resources and Employee Relations (HRER), or a closely related field such as Business Administration.
      • Prior HR experience, whether it’s an internship or job(s) at another company.

Roles in Your Human Resources Department

Now that we’ve covered general requirements and characteristics that you should consider looking for in your HR candidates, let’s dive into some of the actual roles you’ll need to fill within the department. 

We’ll start with your HR department structure. Depending on the size of your company, you may or may not need all of these positions and levels in your own HR department. Another important thing to note is that the titles of these roles and the level in which they’re placed also vary based on the company, but this diagram will provide you with a general idea of an HR department structure.

human-resources-department-structure

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So what do HR employees in these roles actually do? And what are the differences between each position? We’ll cover the answers to these questions below.

Entry-Level Human Resources Roles

Entry-level HR jobs are fit for people in school, have recently graduated, or are entering the field for the first time. Their roles may include assistants and HR interns, specialists, generalists, or recruiters.

HR Assistant/ Intern

HR assistants and HR interns are typically in charge of the administrative work — such as organizing paperwork, completing the employer portions of new hire information, and other work their higher-ups ask of them — that needs to be done so everyone else in the department can remain productive and focus on more complex tasks.

HR Specialist

HR specialists focus on one specific department or discipline within human resources. These specialties include HR development, HR management, and organizational development. Their goal is to become an expert in their chosen specialty. For example, a benefits specialist would be required to know and understand the intimate details of a company’s benefits plan and be able to explain that information to new hires and current employees.

HR Generalist

HR generalists have knowledge that covers multiple different areas of the department and its needs. People in this type of role will work on the more typical tasks you may think of regarding HR, such as compensation, employee relations, and workplace environment.

Recruiter

The sole job of a recruiter is to bring in impressive talent for the company. They find new people to fill the gaps in the company’s staffing plan so the business can continue to grow and remain as productive as possible.

Mid-Level Human Resources Roles

As those in HR work their way up the ranks and acquire more experience, they’ll likely move into a mid-level HR role. Examples of these jobs include advanced specialists, HR managers, and senior recruiters.

Advanced Specialist

An advanced specialist is typically someone who was promoted from an HR specialist role. Their work might include developing job descriptions for specific, technical roles within their specialty and training entry-level specialists  in their chosen discipline. Advanced specialists serve as a company’s high-level experts regarding their specific topic within HR.

HR Manager

An HR manager might oversee a group of entry or even mid-level HR employees. They’ll typically handle more of the complex HR tasks such as creating and managing company-wide policies, values, and culture.

Senior Recruiter

Senior recruiters function as your very own staffing service. They may oversee a team of entry-level recruiters who work to identify ideal candidates for open positions at your company. Senior recruiters may work for your company, or you might hire them as a third-party service depending on your budget and resources.

High-Level Human Resources Roles

If someone ends up staying in the HR field for most of their career, they may move into a high-level position at your company. These roles may include an HR consultant, HR director, recruiting manager, or vice president of HR chief of human resources officer (CHRO).

HR Consultant

An HR consultant typically oversees all HR administrative work and makes sure you’re meeting all company, state, and federal policies and laws. They can be subject matter experts on a particular HR-related policy. People in this role may be hired as third-party help depending on your budget and resources.

HR Director

If an HR manager is promoted, that person might move into an HR Director role. In most SMBs, the HR Director typically oversees all departmental activities and reports directly to the CEO.

Recruiting Manager

Recruiting managers oversee your company’s recruiting teams. They sign off on your staffing plan and ensure all of your role gaps are filled and talent needs are met.

Vice President of HR or Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO)

In a larger company, you may have a vice president of human resources or a chief human resources officer. This person reports directly to the CEO, oversees the entire HR operation, and creates overarching department goals.

Back To You

Having a fantastic human resources team is essential to the success of your business. Your HR department will manage your employee relations, hiring, training, career development, benefits, and company culture. Without HR, your employees simply wouldn’t be able to do their jobs. Start by thinking about the number and type of HR employees you’ll need and start building your department so your company can continue growing.

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4 Common Mistakes E-commerce Websites Make Using JavaScript

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4 Common Mistakes E-commerce Websites Make Using JavaScript

The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

Despite the resources they can invest in web development, large e-commerce websites still struggle with SEO-friendly ways of using JavaScript.

And, even when 98% of all websites use JavaScript, it’s still common that Google has problems indexing pages using JavaScript. While it’s okay to use it on your website in general, remember that JavaScript requires extra computing resources to be processed into HTML code understandable by bots.

At the same time, new JavaScript frameworks and technologies are constantly arising. To give your JavaScript pages the best chance of indexing, you’ll need to learn how to optimize it for the sake of your website’s visibility in the SERPs.

Why is unoptimized JavaScript dangerous for your e-commerce?

By leaving JavaScript unoptimized, you risk your content not getting crawled and indexed by Google. And in the e-commerce industry, that translates to losing significant revenue, because products are impossible to find via search engines.

It’s likely that your e-commerce website uses dynamic elements that are pleasant for users, such as product carousels or tabbed product descriptions. This JavaScript-generated content very often is not accessible to bots. Googlebot cannot click or scroll, so it may not access all those dynamic elements.

Consider how many of your e-commerce website users visit the site via mobile devices. JavaScript is slower to load so, the longer it takes to load, the worse your website’s performance and user experience becomes. If Google realizes that it takes too long to load JavaScript resources, it may skip them when rendering your website in the future.

Top 4 JavaScript SEO mistakes on e-commerce websites

Now, let’s look at some top mistakes when using JavaScript for e-commerce, and examples of websites that avoid them.

1. Page navigation relying on JavaScript

Crawlers don’t act the same way users do on a website ‒ they can’t scroll or click to see your products. Bots must follow links throughout your website structure to understand and access all your important pages fully. Otherwise, using only JavaScript-based navigation may make bots see products just on the first page of pagination.

Guilty: Nike.com

Nike.com uses infinite scrolling to load more products on its category pages. And because of that, Nike risks its loaded content not getting indexed.

For the sake of testing, I entered one of their category pages and scrolled down to choose a product triggered by scrolling. Then, I used the “site:” command to check if the URL is indexed in Google. And as you can see on a screenshot below, this URL is impossible to find on Google:

Of course, Google can still reach your products through sitemaps. However, finding your content in any other way than through links makes it harder for Googlebot to understand your site structure and dependencies between the pages.

To make it even more apparent to you, think about all the products that are visible only when you scroll for them on Nike.com. If there’s no link for bots to follow, they will see only 24 products on a given category page. Of course, for the sake of users, Nike can’t serve all of its products on one viewport. But still, there are better ways of optimizing infinite scrolling to be both comfortable for users and accessible for bots.

Winner: Douglas.de

Unlike Nike, Douglas.de uses a more SEO-friendly way of serving its content on category pages.

They provide bots with page navigation based on <a href> links to enable crawling and indexing of the next paginated pages. As you can see in the source code below, there’s a link to the second page of pagination included:

Moreover, the paginated navigation may be even more user-friendly than infinite scrolling. The numbered list of category pages may be easier to follow and navigate, especially on large e-commerce websites. Just think how long the viewport would be on Douglas.de if they used infinite scrolling on the page below:

2. Generating links to product carousels with JavaScript

Product carousels with related items are one of the essential e-commerce website features, and they are equally important from both the user and business perspectives. Using them can help businesses increase their revenue as they serve related products that users may be potentially interested in. But if those sections over-rely on JavaScript, they may lead to crawling and indexing issues.

Guilty: Otto.de

I analyzed one of Otto.de’s product pages to identify if it includes JavaScript-generated elements. I used the What Would JavaScript Do (WWJD) tool that shows screenshots of what a page looks like with JavaScript enabled and disabled.

Test results clearly show that Otto.de relies on JavaScript to serve related and recommended product carousels on its website. And from the screenshot below, it’s clear that those sections are invisible with JavaScript disabled:

How may it affect the website’s indexing? When Googlebot lacks resources to render JavaScript-injected links, the product carousels can’t be found and then indexed.

Let’s check if that’s the case here. Again, I used the “site:” command and typed the title of one of Otto.de’s product carousels:

As you can see, Google couldn’t find that product carousel in its index. And the fact that Google can’t see that element means that accessing additional products will be more complex. Also, if you prevent crawlers from reaching your product carousels, you’ll make it more difficult for them to understand the relationship between your pages.

Winner: Target.com

In the case of Target.com’s product page, I used the Quick JavaScript Switcher extension to disable all JavaScript-generated elements. I paid particular attention to the “More to consider” and “Similar items” carousels and how they look with JavaScript enabled and disabled.

As shown below, disabling JavaScript changed the way the product carousels look for users. But has anything changed from the bots’ perspective?

To find out, check what the HTML version of the page looks like for bots by analyzing the cache version.

To check the cache version of Target.com’s page above, I typed “cache:https://www.target.com/p/9-39-…”, which is the URL address of the analyzed page. Also, I took a look at the text-only version of the page.

When scrolling, you’ll see that the links to related products can also be found in its cache. If you see them here, it means bots don’t struggle to find them, either.

However, keep in mind that the links to the exact products you can see in the cache may differ from the ones on the live version of the page. It’s normal for the products in the carousels to rotate, so you don’t need to worry about discrepancies in specific links.

But what exactly does Target.com do differently? They take advantage of dynamic rendering. They serve the initial HTML, and the links to products in the carousels as the static HTML bots can process.

However, you must remember that dynamic rendering adds an extra layer of complexity that may quickly get out of hand with a large website. I recently wrote an article about dynamic rendering that’s a must-read if you are considering this solution.

Also, the fact that crawlers can access the product carousels doesn’t guarantee these products will get indexed. However, it will significantly help them flow through the site structure and understand the dependencies between your pages.

3. Blocking important JavaScript files in robots.txt

Blocking JavaScript for crawlers in robots.txt by mistake may lead to severe indexing issues. If Google can’t access and process your important resources, how is it supposed to index your content?

Guilty: Jdl-brakes.com

It’s impossible to fully evaluate a website without a proper site crawl. But looking at its robots.txt file can already allow you to identify any critical content that’s blocked.

This is the case with the robots.txt file of Jdl-brakes.com. As you can see below, they block the /js/ path with the Disallow directive. It makes all internally hosted JavaScript files (or at least the important ones) invisible to all search engine bots.

This disallow directive misuse may result in rendering problems on your entire website.

To check if it applies in this case, I used Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. This tool can help you navigate rendering issues by giving you insight into the rendered source code and the screenshot of a rendered page on mobile.

I headed to the “More info” section to check if any page resources couldn’t be loaded. Using the example of one of the product pages on Jdl-brakes.com, you may see it needs a specific JavaScript file to get fully rendered. Unfortunately, it can’t happen because the whole /js/ folder is blocked in its robots.txt.

But let’s find out if those rendering problems affected the website’s indexing. I used the “site:” command to check if the main content (product description) of the analyzed page is indexed on Google. As you can see, no results were found:

This is an interesting case where Google could reach the website’s main content but didn’t index it. Why? Because Jdl-brakes.com blocks its JavaScript, Google can’t properly see the layout of the page. And even though crawlers can access the main content, it’s impossible for them to understand where that content belongs in the page’s layout.

Let’s take a look at the Screenshot tab in the Mobile-Friendly Test. This is how crawlers see the page’s layout when Jdl-brakes.com blocks their access to CSS and JavaScript resources. It looks pretty different from what you can see in your browser, right?

The layout is essential for Google to understand the context of your page. If you’d like to know more about this crossroads of web technology and layout, I highly recommend looking into a new field of technical SEO called rendering SEO.

Winner: Lidl.de

Lidl.de proves that a well-organized robots.txt file can help you control your website’s crawling. The crucial thing is to use the disallow directive consciously.

Although Lidl.de blocks a single JavaScript file with the Disallow directive /cc.js*, it seems it doesn’t affect the website’s rendering process. The important thing to note here is that they block only a single JavaScript file that doesn’t influence other URL paths on a website. As a result, all other JavaScript and CSS resources they use should remain accessible to crawlers.

Having a large e-commerce website, you may easily lose track of all the added directives. Always include as many path fragments of a URL you want to block from crawling as possible. It will help you avoid blocking some crucial pages by mistake.

4. JavaScript removing main content from a website

If you use unoptimized JavaScript to serve the main content on your website, such as product descriptions, you block crawlers from seeing the most important information on your pages. As a result, your potential customers looking for specific details about your products may not find such content on Google.

Guilty: Walmart.com

Using the Quick JavaScript Switcher extension, you can easily disable all JavaScript-generated elements on a page. That’s what I did in the case of one of Walmart.com’s product pages:

As you can see above, the product description section disappeared with JavaScript disabled. I decided to use the “site:” command to check if Google could index this content. I copied the fragment of the product description I saw on the page with JavaScript enabled. However, Google didn’t show the exact product page I was looking for.

Will users get obsessed with finding that particular product via Walmart.com? They may, but they can also head to any other store selling this item instead.

The example of Walmart.com proves that main content depending on JavaScript to load makes it more difficult for crawlers to find and display your valuable information. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean they should eliminate all JavaScript-generated elements on their website.

To fix this problem, Walmart has two solutions:

  1. Implementing dynamic rendering (prerendering) which is, in most cases, the easiest from an implementation standpoint.

  2. Implementing server-side rendering. This is the solution that will solve the problems we are observing at Walmart.com without serving different content to Google and users (as in the case of dynamic rendering). In most cases, server-side rendering also helps with web performance issues on lower-end devices, as all of your JavaScript is being rendered by your servers before it reaches the client’s device.

Let’s have a look at the JavaScript implementation that’s done right.

Winner: IKEA.com

IKEA proves that you can present your main content in a way that is accessible for bots and interactive for users.

When browsing IKEA.com’s product pages, their product descriptions are served behind clickable panels. When you click on them, they dynamically appear on the right-hand side of the viewport.

Although users need to click to see product details, Ikea also serves that crucial part of its pages even with JavaScript off:

This way of presenting crucial content should make both users and bots happy. From the crawlers’ perspective, serving product descriptions that don’t rely on JavaScript makes them easy to access. Consequently, the content can be found on Google.

Wrapping up

JavaScript doesn’t have to cause issues, if you know how to use it properly. As an absolute must-do, you need to follow the best practices of indexing. It may allow you to avoid basic JavaScript SEO mistakes that can significantly hinder your website’s visibility on Google.

Take care of your indexing pipeline and check if:

  • You allow Google access to your JavaScript resources,

  • Google can access and render your JavaScript-generated content. Focus on the crucial elements of your e-commerce site, such as product carousels or product descriptions,

  • Your content actually gets indexed on Google.

If my article got you interested in JS SEO, find more details in Tomek Rudzki’s article about the 6 steps to diagnose and solve JavaScript SEO issues.

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