Church HR requires a specific balance between compliance and culture and having gaps
could cost you money and time, not to mention staff morale and relational capital with
your congregation. If you’re juggling 17 different hats (including “HR” anything) but don’t
have the time or experience to figure out what church HR actually looks like, we’ve got
HR Ministry Solutions makes church HR simple and we want to share the 7 most common
HR misses we see in churches today:
1) Assuming the Rules Don’t Apply to Churches
Churches often shy away from anything that feels too corporate, but HR is one of
those areas that MUST be buttoned up–even for churches. Having both compliance
and culture ducks in a row safeguards your staff and organization against the
aforementioned fines, fees and penalties.
2) Mishandling I-9s
Errors on your I-9’s could cost you over $2000 PER I-9 and the government does
not allow “do-overs”. The most common issues include viewing the ID’s in person,
completing within 3 days of hire, and keeping all I-9’s files separate from employee
3) Underpaying Staff
Make sure your staff members are properly categorized as exempt or non-exempt.
Know and meet hourly and salary minimum wages and be familiar with when you’re
required to pay overtime. Yes, there is a ministerial exception but if you are not
sure about the rules and how they apply, this could cost you back pay, taxes, and
4) Hiring Too Quickly
Hiring well leads to healthy and successful ministry, but often churches rush the
process. Make sure to cast a wide net for candidates by having them complete
skills tests and personality assessments to find out if they’re a good fit. Don’t skip
checking references or background checks. If you are hesitant about a hire, trust
that instinct! Poor hiring practices can lead to inevitable challenges and even
firings which may disrupt or even derail your team.
5) Skipping Sexual Harassment Training
Sexual Harassment is one of the top topics we get questions about. Training against
it is legally required in many states, but we think ALL organizations–especially
churches–should train their staff regularly. Providing training to your staff and
managers prevents and protects your staff from harassment by helping them
recognize it early. In the event an incident does occur, it could even protect your
church from liability.
6) Not Investing In Your Staff
Investing in and developing your staff should be a top priority for all church
leadership. The health and wellness of your staff trickles down to the congregation.
Jesus spoke to the masses, but personally invested in his twelve which helped
drive and spread farther and wider then he could alone. Have a formal
training/development plan, communicate it regularly, and review and revise it as
needed. Document both accolades and coaching moments and, most importantly,
make sure your staff knows you care about their growth and well being.
COMPLIANCE + CULTURE ISSUE:
7) Non-Compliant or Outdated Staff Handbook
We come across many churches that don’t have one, have one that hasn’t been
updated in years, or simply don’t know where to start. A compliant staff handbook
should include all policies, benefits and legally required statements (both federal
and state-specific). Make sure to include your statement of faith, core values, and
lifestyle expectations complete with Biblical references. This process may seem
daunting, but once you have a complete and compliant staff handbook, it’s
relatively easy to maintain.
Now that we’ve made your head spin and doubled your to-do list, take a deep breath. We
can also help! Whether you need an HR Audit to determine how healthy your church HR
actually is, a custom Staff Handbook to keep you compliant, or free resources like
webinars or blog articles to get you started, HR Ministry Solutions makes your church HR
simple. Set up a free consultation call today at hrministrysolutions.com.