Andy Ault, president of Little River Carpentry, in Laurel, Md., wanted to grow his company but knew that managing an expanding staff would be a significant challenge. So he began gathering information and researching the most common issues of employee management. As he talked to various acquaintances, one suggested that he reach out to the Society for Human Resource Management.

Ault reviewed the membership options at SHRM’s website (, expecting the investment to be more than he could afford. “But it was ... less than $200 a year,” he says. “Considering the other investments I was making for my business success, this was a no-brainer. Since I’ve joined, it’s paid for itself in spades.”

In one example of receiving value, Ault talks about a past employee. “This guy smoked all the time, which translated into tons of time standing around smoking instead of working,” he says. “After dealing with this problem, I thought ‘What if I could hire only nonsmokers?’”

Ready Resource

Ault believed that employment law had made that an impossibility — until he asked the experts at SHRM, through its Express Report service. “You can submit specific questions via e-mail ... or call and actually talk to a live person,” Ault says. He submitted his question and almost instantly received a reply, along with back-up reports indicating that, in the state where he has his business, he could legally limit his employee search to nonsmokers.

Next, Ault read an article about drug testing and the use of hair versus urine to test. He believed it was illegal to use hair, he says, “because hair also has DNA.” He asked SHRM. Again, the organization delivered an array of resources that helped the remodeler to understand the law and how to implement a legal policy. SHRM even sent Ault a drug testing template for his employee handbook.

“Every year I have at least one, and usually multiple, questions about some employee issue,” Ault says. “Without this resource, I would be calling my lawyer and paying thousands of dollars. When I receive help from SHRM, I can count on it because they are staffed by certified experts in human resources. I’m confident they’ll steer me in the right direction.”

—Victoria Downing is president of Remodelers Advantage, a national company that gives remodelers the tools to achieve consistent profitability and success through one-on-one consulting, the Roundtables peer program, and an online learning community, Advantage Associates, 301.490.5620.;