Are you a HR hero?
HR Consultant Samantha Moxham shares her top tips for small businesses looking to keep on top of their people practices and responsibilities.
Employment law can move quickly, with changes to regulation and legislation being made on a regular basis. Most small businesses, especially those without a dedicated HR resource, can little afford to spend precious time understanding the complexities of employment legislation.
However, getting it right can make all the difference and it is definitely time well spent. If I had to choose between employment practices that underpin the success of my business or potential legal action from a disgruntled (ex) employee, I know which way I would go.
And with employment tribunal compensation payments running into tens of thousands of pounds, it’s even more worthwhile taking the time to minimise the likelihood of ever finding yourself in such a situation.
So what can you do? There are three key elements you can prioritise to make sure your business is achieving compliance from an HR perspective and these cover contracts, handbooks and seeing them through.
Contract of employment: Timing is everything. Ensure all of your new starters have a contract of employment within eight weeks of their start date. The contract doesn’t necessarily have to be a lengthy document, but it must contain essential information such as start date, job title, work location, hours of work, rate and frequency of pay. It should also include confirmation of holiday entitlement, pension provision and notice period.
Handbook: This is your employee’s “go to” guide, a handbook that supplements their contract of employment. Small businesses will only need a few employment policies and procedures, but they are invaluable in providing your managers and employees with guidelines regarding expectations at work. Make sure it is available and regularly refreshed with everyone in your organisation made aware of any updates.
Implementation: Whilst having a contract of employment and handbook will ensure structure is in place, they won’t have the intended effect if your employees don’t understand or follow it as they go about their work. Make sure good people practice is an embedded part of your culture – it will not only ensure legal compliance but will also help you to build and maintain employee engagement.
To sum up, your greatest asset is your people. Without good employment practices, you could be missing your chance to develop and improve – and worst case scenario, breaking the law.
With confidence in your HR practices, you’ll be better equipped to anticipate, work through and ideally avoid any employment issues in the future.
If you are looking for more support or an objective review of your HR practices, we can help. Our HR Healthcheck is specifically designed to help small businesses review their practices, looking at what is already in place and what could be improved to ensure good practice and legal compliance. You can find out more here.