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Human Resources – Managing your company's greatest assets

AUGUST 24, 2021

DAVE MAREELS

In the first blog in this series, we talked about the fundamentals of employing people in your business. In this blog, we’ll dive a little deeper in to people management. The effort required in this area should not be underestimated, especially if you are a growing team. You will likely need to take on some of the more administrative tasks, as well as looking after employee wellbeing and personal development. 

When you start to employ people, you will not only need to determine what you want to pay individuals, but also what benefits you want to provide, to attract and retain people within your business. You will have statutory obligations as an employer around pension, paid holiday, sick pay, maternity, paternity and adoption pay and leave, among others. You may choose to enhance these, as well as providing additional benefits such as private medical, income protection, life assurance and critical illness cover. If you do want to provide some of these additional employee benefits, I would recommend engaging a third party, such as an insurance broker, to help source, set up and manage these.

A quick note on pensions. As an employer, you have an obligation to provide a workplace pension for your employees, with minimum contributions, for both you as the employer, and your employee. Bear in mind, you can, as an employer, contribute more than the statutory minimum, to further incentivise your employees. Once your workplace pension is in place, you also must declare compliance with the Pensions Regulator. The Pensions Regulator has some great resources for employers. 

All of these things, along with the terms of employment should be set out in an employment contract. There are plenty of templates available online, however, I would recommend getting your lawyer to help you draft a template employment contract which is in line with current employment law and tailored to your specific needs (e.g. any intellectual property or share incentive scheme requirements).

The recruitment process itself can be incredibly time consuming; reviewing and responding to applications, interviewing candidates and making offers to successful candidates. This will take up not only your time but that of others in the teams you’re recruiting in to. In the first instance, do not underestimate the power of your network to find suitable candidates, I would estimate over half the new members to our team to date, have come via this channel. You will, however, find that to be a finite well to tap, and you will then likely need to utilise job adverts on LinkedIn, specialist job boards, and potentially even utilise recruitment agencies for more specialist roles. I would also add that one of the most important things you can do when recruiting people is to do things in a timely manner and take the time to respond to all applications. Not only is it important to recognise the time and effort people put into their applications, it can be hugely powerful for your brand. Even if people aren’t successful, or choose to take a position elsewhere, they are hopefully left with a sense that your business is a great place to work.

In a similar vein, when people join your business, the onboarding process, can leave a lasting effect on individuals which reflects on the professionalism and culture of your organisation. We found that using a Trello board to manage the process to be highly effective. It sets out all the activities that need to happen prior to, and after, the candidate has joined the business. It includes administrative tasks on the business side like ID checks, IT setup and benefits enrolment, to things the candidate needs to do like background reading and meeting other members of the team. We give candidates access to this board so that the whole process is transparent and they take some responsibility for the process. 

You will, inevitably, also have to manage people leaving your business, and we use a similar method, utilising a Trello board, to manage this process.

You will also want to establish some policies and procedures for your staff. At a minimum you should have a grievance and disciplinary procedure for your employees, You may also want to supplement this with a Health & Safety, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, Expenses, Learning & Development and IT Acceptable Use policies. These can be separate documents, or all brought together in a unifying Employee Handbook. ACAS provide some great resources for employers (and employees), including template policies, terms of employment and checklists.

Depending on the size of your organisation, you may want to put a HR system in place. My  recommendation would be that this is not necessary until you reach ~15 employees. Until that point, you can manage employee records using a combination of your payroll system, a file storage system, and password protected spreadsheets. 

Beyond your employee benefits and pension, employee share schemes are a great way to incentivise your team. This is a complex subject area, but there are some great resources available to help you understand the options (pun intended). If you do want to put a scheme in place, I would highly recommend getting your lawyers to help you get this set up and meet your obligations as an employer.

There are lots of other things you might want to consider as part of the people management within your business, including performance management, employee wellbeing, company culture, and setting objectives to name a few. I’ve tried to identify the basics here, and once you reach a certain size, you may wish to hire a HR professional to help you mature your capability.   

People Management checklist

  • Get an employment contract template(s) in place.
  • Define your process for joiners, and when needed, leavers.
  • Decide on, and put in place, your Employee benefits.
  • Set up your workplace pension scheme and declare pensions compliance.
  • Put required HR policies in place.
  • Optional – Put HR system in place (not required <15 employees).
  • Set up and administer Employee share incentive scheme.
  • Employee well-being and mental health first aid.

 

In the next series of the blog, we’ll talk about Sales Operations and provide you with a downloadable checklist for all the things we’ve discussed in this series of blogs.

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