If you employ someone, you need to have an employment contract. There are no two ways about that. It’s part of UK law, and is the way that the government makes sure businesses treat their employees fairly and legally (and the other way around). But for small businesses, employment contracts can seem like a bit of a minefield – particularly if you don’t have a swanky legal department on staff to help you write it. So how then, do you make sure you have a good employment contract in place, and how do you know what to put in it? 
As an employer, your employee handbook is one of the most essential tools in your arsenal. This simple booklet can save you a lot of time answering the same questions over and over again simply by detailing your company’s policies, practices and employee benefits all in one place. By investing some time into your employee handbook, you can effectively communicate what an employee should expect from your company, and what you expect from them. But when you sit down to write your employee handbook, where on earth do you start? As a starting point, we recommend covering the following areas in your handbook: 
When your business reaches a certain size, you will find yourself needing some help managing your team. It’s a great stage of growth and a really exciting time for businesses. But it also means you need to make some tough decisions. For example, do you hire an internal HR manager for your business? Or do you outsource the function to a HR company? 
Whichever avenue you go down, it’s important that you find a HR solution that is proactive, and not passive. By definition, passive HR is when you have an HR function, but they only really come into play when something goes wrong. This is sadly quite a common occurrence in smaller businesses, and often happens when the HR function is mixed with another function, like accounting or management. This arrangement might sound ideal for the budget conscious business, but in reality, a passive HR function can do more harm than good. 
Recruitment is one of the most important parts of growing a business. It gives you more resources, frees up your time as the owner and helps build a strong, stable business. But it’s also one of the most intensive, complicated things you can do, and getting it wrong can cause all sorts of problems for your business. That’s why it’s important to have a robust recruitment process in place – before you start hiring anyone. Today, we have 4 tips to help you start building that process and take the next step towards hiring your new staff. 
When your business started out, it was probably just you striving to make it a success. But after a while your efforts paid off, and now you have a team of people working together to make your business a success. But when you start to bring other people into the business, your company will develop a culture – a way of working and behaving that is unique to your business. Most of the time it’s great, but sometimes company culture can turn bad, tainting the effectiveness, motivation and happiness of your employees, as well as projecting a negative image into the marketplace. It’s not really something any business wants. That’s why it’s important to spot the designs of a bad company culture early, and know how to fix it before the change becomes permanent. 
When you hire a new employee, you might think that signals the end of the hiring process. But you couldn’t be more wrong. You see, the hiring process doesn’t really end until the employee has started, settled into their new job and shown no signs of leaving at the end of their probation period. Instead, once you’ve made the offer and it’s been accepted, you move into the onboarding process. This is the phase where the employee will transition into working for your business. There’s a lot that goes on here, and if you want to make sure you keep that employee for longer than 3 months, you need to have an onboarding plan. If you’re not sure what that should look like, we have a couple of tips for you. 
If you employ people in your business – even just one person – or you’ve been employed by a business before, then you’re probably familiar with the performance review. For most businesses, they’re treated as a once annual meeting between employee and manager to discuss performance and suggest improvements. But here’s the thing. A lot can happen in a year and having saved up 12 months’ worth of comments and improvements for that one review isn’t actually that useful to anyone. Which begs the question, what is the point of performance reviews, and what could you do to improve them in your business? 
Generally, businesses with under 50 employees rarely have HR support in-house. In fact, they rarely have HR support at all. That’s because the CEO, who is also the CFO, doing the work and being the dogsbody, sees it as another extra cost. But without expert HR support, a business can run into a lot of problems, no matter how small they are. They can even fail because of them. So we wanted to drill down into that, and examine 3 reasons why your small business would benefit from HR support. 
Did you know that last year over a third of workers admitted that office politics would be a main cause for leaving their jobs? Not only that, but 68.9% of workers cited ‘office gossip’ as their pet hate in the workplace. And yet, these workplace environments continue to grow, with toxic office politics becoming a real problem for a lot of business owners. So the real question is, how can you tackle toxic office politics head on, and create an open and healthy workplace culture in your business? 
If you asked a business owner about their business plan, pricing strategy, marketing plan or even their social media approach, most would be able to give you a fairly detailed answer. This is because they are considered ‘essential’ business practices (and they are). But if you ask them about their plan for HR and how they’ll be managing their human resources, most will probably say ‘I’ll worry about it at the time’. Despite being one of the most critical elements of running a business, HR is often the thing that’s left until last, and only implemented when it’s needed and not a moment before. But many smaller business owners aren’t sure how to manage an HR function – so we’re here to help. 
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