People – Fantastic assets or worst nightmares?
It’s almost impossible to grow without taking on more people. They should be your biggest asset, but – thankfully far more rarely – can sometimes be your worst nightmare. That’s why we’re increasing the support on GrowSmart to help you get the most of out of your people and avoid adding to the things that keep you awake at night!
Why is getting HR right so important?
In the current economic climate, companies need to be adaptive, resilient, customer–centred and quick to change direction. It is to your advantage to ensure you are able to adequately manage your employee’s expectations, create a more positive environment at work, fostering high performance and ensure employee engagement at all levels of the organisation. People are much more mobile than ever before, but having opportunities to learn and grow, as well as the ability to advance, are still top of the list. It’s your job to keep people motivated, happy, learning, engaged and contributing to your company success.
The recruitment process, finding the right people, and retraining or letting go of the wrong people – often takes up a lot of time, money and effort. Finding and retaining skilled employees is one of the main challenges faced by UK small firms, and they are also much more likely to experience employee claims against them and to lose cases at employment tribunals. In fact many swallow a settlement cost pre–tribunal rather than risk higher fines.
As well as the good motivators, there are also strong negative drivers for doing HR well.
Here’s just four reasons for doing HR right:
1. Creating Growth foundations
No matter how early you are in the growth cycle, you must understand and implement statutory and regulatory requirements regarding record keeping, information gathering and reporting, as well as basic HR information, for example, relating to what you can and can’t ask at interview or be disclosed on an application form. Systems and policies are a critical element in protecting your company and you in the event that an employee decides to take some form of action against you.
2. Hiring the best possible talent
The success of any company is its people. Having the right recruitment procedure in place, and systems for filtering CVs and carrying out informative and meaningful interviews will make the process much smoother, and you are likely to appoint the right candidate as a result!
3. Ensuring they share your values
Openly communicating your values and goals, and walking the talk, helps to ensure employees are all heading in the same direction. It also helps to build a positive company culture where everyone likes to work. This will lead to greater people engagement, and ensure they remain committed to your company.
4. Staying ahead of the game
Having the right HR policies and procedures in place will help you run your business smoothly. Having great people development commitment, policies and processes help you build your people. Show you are serious about this at every stage from recruitment onwards. Happy, motivated people perform much better, stay longer and contribute more to achieving your business goals.
What are the basic HR practices you need to think about now?
HR policies equip your business to handle a number of common workplace issues. If you’re unsure where to start, here are the top must–have policies for small businesses:
1. Code of Conduct
A Code of Conduct is important for setting the standards of behaviour you expect from your employees. This may include things such as mobile phone use, dress, punctuality and the use of company property. By outlining unacceptable behaviour and educating employees on business values through a policy, you are in a better position to manage unacceptable conduct in the workplace if and when it arises.
2. Work Health and Safety Policy
WHS policies highlight safety procedures and the responsibilities of all employees to keep the workplace safe. Workplace injuries can affect your business in a number of ways including decreased productivity, sick pay obligations and the cost of finding a replacement, let alone claim and legal costs.
3. Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination Policy
Did you know that you could be held legally responsible for acts of discrimination or harassment in your business? In order to minimise this risk, you must show you have taken all reasonable steps to prevent discrimination or harassment from occurring. Having a policy in place communicates clearly to employees what constitutes bullying, sexual harassment, discrimination and any other form of inappropriate behaviour at work. A good policy will also outline procedures for dealing with complaints.
4. Leave Policy
For businesses that experience seasonal busy periods, a leave policy can be extremely valuable, ensuring you are never understaffed. You can also include in here things like additional discretionary leave for bereavement, marriage, or the sickness of a close family member.
5. Grievance and Disciplinary Policies
Performance management is a common practice within any business, but can often be a delicate process. A policy will assist you in remaining compliant with requirements of procedural fairness and provide guidance on how unacceptable conduct or performance will be dealt with. Having a grievance policy in place also acts as a clear and transparent tool for employees to understand what steps they should follow.
6. Internet/Email/Social Media Policies
An Internet and email policy will define what is inappropriate use of company computers and Internet resources, as well as the consequences an employee may face for breaching the policy. A social media policy is essential to protecting your company’s reputation, letting employees know that how they behave on social media reflects on the business, and therefore will be regulated.
In summary, investing time in establishing HR processes and policies will help with recruiting people, getting the best out of your staff, ensuring their wellbeing and safety, ensuring they have the rights skills to perform well in their roles, and aspire to do more. Good HR helps protect you from insomnia and drives higher contribution and commitment from people through investing in their development.
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