| 03 December 2019

HR Basics for your Business


Written by Nick Rance

PNC HR Nick Rance HR Basics

The basics of HR

Running your own business is exciting and can be full of many challenges. At some point you may want to share those challenges and decide that doing everything on your own all the time isn't achievable, at which point you may want to bring on a member/members of staff. Although this will help with the challenges you are already facing, it may bring with it some new ones that you weren't expecting.


We've pulled together a quick guide to cover off some of the HR basics, which will hopefully help in your task of becoming an employer.

1) Know the law - protect yourself

When you engage people to carry out work within your organisation, there are a number of aspects of employment law you must be aware of. These primarily include:


  • Unfair dismissal
  • Notice
  • Wages
  • Holiday entitlement
  • Maternity leave
  • Flexible working
  • Agency workers

2) Register with HMRC as an employer

If you want to start employing people, regardless of your type of organisation you will need to inform HMRC and register as an employer. This includes yourself, even if you are the only one receiving a salary.


You must register with HMRC before the first payday. You need to be aware that it can take up to 5 working days to get your employer PAYE reference number. You cannot register more than 2 months before you start paying people.


More information on this process can be found on the Gov.uk website.

3) Employment Contract – avoid misunderstanding

Do not rely on verbal agreements or make assumptions that your people will understand what is expected of them. To ensure everyone is pulling in the same direction:


  • Put it in writing
  • From day one of employment (or before) issue Written Statement of Main Terms of the Contract

4) Pay Rates – the balance between market rates and affordability

You stand a greater chance of getting the right people into your organisation if you can pay the going rate, but this has to be tempered by what you can afford. Things to consider:


  • “Total pay” as compared to straight salary
  • National Minimum Wage
  • Living Wage

5) Recruiting Right – understanding and articulating what you need

Not as easy as it sounds – try to strike the balance between what your organisation needs right now and your perceived aspirations for the future:


  • Job Descriptions and Person Specifications
  • Advertise effectively – where can your target people be found e.g. job boards or Job Centre Plus?
  • Avoid discrimination

6) On-boarding – a good entrance will lead to a better quality of relationship

However good your initial candidate selection was, it won’t count for anything unless you settle your new team member in effectively. They will quickly need to be familiarised with their:


  • Role
  • Colleagues
  • Work environment
  • Training opportunities

7) Set your boundaries – quickly establish company rules

Your team is made up of human beings and as such, a time will come when something goes wrong. You can minimise awkward and damaging disputes by having policies/rules and procedures in place to cover:


  • Absence
  • Health and Safety
  • Standards of performance
  • Timekeeping
  • Use of company facilities
  • Right to be accompanied at formal hearings

NB. Most organisations cover many more areas than those covered above

In summary

As much as possible try to be a good and consistent communicator as an employer. Everything set out above should be commonly understood by the whole team, making day-to-day management an easier part of your working life.


Do also regularly review what you have in place, making changes as and when the law or developments in your business dictate. On this basis, expansion should also be a smoother process.


Find out more about PNC HR or if you want to find out more about HR for small businesses then why not check out the CIPD website.