| 03 December 2019
HR Basics for your Business
Written by Nick Rance
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
- 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:
- 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:
- Health and Safety
- Standards of performance
- Use of company facilities
- Right to be accompanied at formal hearings
NB. Most organisations cover many more areas than those covered above
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.