By Bryan Orr

In a small business, “HR” is often more of a joke than an actual department. When you have 10 or fewer employees you are lucky if you have someone where even a PART of their job description includes HR.

Luckily, there are some online HR tools available that can make your HR tasks easier.

Background Checks and Drug Testing

Background checks are important for two reasons: 1. Confirming you aren’t hiring an untrustworthy and dangerous person,  and 2. To insure that you have documented due diligence to insulate the business from liability in the future.

What many small business owners don’t realize is that doing a background check without proper consent and documentation can result in big fines and legal exposure.  

I use for all of my background checks. They have a simple interface and they handle getting the sensitive data and proper legal approval from the employee or prospect. They also offer additional services such as drug testing, terrorist watchlist check, and driving record check.

Employee Surveys

No matter the size of your business, there is stuff going on inside your organization that you don’t know about. Doing regular employee surveys can be a great way to get a look inside the policies, procedures and morale of your business. CultureIQ helps you do this; not only by gathering the info from you,  but also by reminding your staff via email to take the survey as well as benchmarking you against other businesses and showing trends over time.

Safety Training

My business is in the construction services industry, so safety is a daily concern. Every business owner should make employee safety a priority — from fire safety to emergency procedures to proper lifting techniques. is a free resource that provides you with points and topics to cover; it creates easy attendance forms so you have documented evidence that safety training was performed.

Tests and Quizzes

There are many critical training areas in every small business, not only in the performance of tasks, but in important areas such as harassment policies, safety, healthcare procedures, injury reporting, etc. You can hand out manuals and send emails but these are usually ignored. I have experimented with online quiz tools like that allow you to easily create and administer quizzes and tests online. The benefits not only insure that your staff knows the policies and procedures, but it also provides you with documentation that proves they were properly trained should an issue arise.

Do you have an HR staff? If not, how do you handle HR?