Ten essential people practices for your small business
By Natashia Variava, theguardian.com
Moving from entrepreneur to employer can be an intimidating step. These structures and processes will help to ease the transition
Your business is up and running. You are starting to grow and need to get people on board. This may be exciting, but it can also be extremely stressful.When you become an employer, you are opening the doors of your company to a plethora of different needs and values, not to mention the complexity of ever-changing employment law.
While it can seem daunting at first, taking on staff doesn’t need to be a complicated endeavour. Here are 10 essential people practices that you should consider before taking the leap from entrepreneur to employer:
1. Contracts of employment
Protect your commercial interests with well-drafted contracts of employment that include robust clauses to uphold confidentiality when employees move on.
2. Pay and benefits
It’s worth investing in market data, because a well researched pay and benefits package is key for attracting good people. Creating a simple pay model for different roles is useful to create consistency. It’s also important to be very clear about timescales and criteria for pay reviews.
Under UK employment law, you need to offer full-time workers a minimum of 28 days holidays per year. Bank holidays can be included in this. Be clear about the rules around when holidays can be taken and how many days can be taken at a time.
4. Health and safety
It’s a legal requirement to ensure your workplace is free of hazards. At the very least, you need to have an accident book, a first-aid kit, and all workstations need to be ergonomically designed.
It is now a legal requirement to enrol employees automatically into a qualifying pension scheme, which you then contribute to. Further information can be found on the Department of Work and Pensions website.
6. Employer’s liability insurance
You must have employer’s liability insurance (so you could compensate an employee if they were injured or became ill because of their work). Fines for not having insurance can be as much as £2,500 per day.
7. Guidelines for employees
A well defined set of guidelines for your workplace is vital, so everyone is clear about where they stand. You can make them as creative as you like, but they should always reflect your culture and founding values.
8. Keep records
You need to record employee data securely for at least seven years. It is a legal requirement to record sickness absence and any accidents at work.
9. The first 100 days
Research shows the first 100 days are crucial when deciding if an employee is right for a role – and vice versa. Put a bit of structure around this by clarifying objectives during this time period (or probationary period), have fortnightly check-ins, and confirm employment in writing at the end of 100 days.
10. Performance reviews
This process shouldn’t be complicated. In an entrepreneurial environment, it should be handled with a light touch and in the spirit of encouraging people to thrive and contribute to your business.
It may seem contradictory to have too many processes in place in an innovative entrepreneurial environment, but these structures play an essential role in any thriving business. The right people processes won’t stand in the way of building your business, they will strengthen it and drive future growth and success.