When it comes to revenue, startups tend to know what they’re doing. However, they don’t always give a lot of consideration to the human resources aspect of the business. And if you want your business to have a future, you need to attract and retain talented employees.

Unfortunately, a startup doesn’t always have a huge amount of money or resources to invest in HR. But creating your human resources policies doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated - you simply need to sit down and get organised! To help you get started, we’ve explored four main considerations below:

1. Make Sure You’re Compliant

The first question you need to ask yourself is whether your employee contracts and other paperwork are up to scratch. Many startups simply find a free template online, but there’s no guarantee that these will be fully compliant, or that there won’t be any legal loopholes. The last thing you want is to find out a few years down the line that all your employees are technically working in breach of contract!

Your contracts should document the employee’s start date, full job title, as well as information on termination. You furthermore need to include details about intellectual property, confidentiality, and an employee’s right to compensation. It may be a good idea to work with an HR profession to draft these contracts, to give yourself peace of mind. 

Other paperwork you’ll need includes comprehensive policies on things like health and safety, grievances, and a policy for disciplinaries and dismissals. Your employees should have access to all this information - preferably via an online portal, so that they can view it at any time. 

Paperwork for New Starters

Once you’ve got the above policies in place, you then need to consider what paperwork you’ll need when you hire someone new. There are the obvious details, like their full name, address and contact information, but you mustn’t forget things like their P45 and form of identification, such as a passport. 

It’s best to collect this information as soon as possible, as this not only ensures that you won’t have to retrospectively ask for it, you’ll also be reassuring the employee that they’re in good hands. A delay could furthermore mean your new hire is put on an emergency tax code, which is far from ideal. 

2. Focus on Wellbeing

A huge consideration when it comes to HR is the wellbeing of your employees. This doesn’t just mean their current wellbeing - you also need to focus on your staff’s progression and development. This will mean regularly reviewing each person’s performance and checking in with them, as well as offering training workshops and courses. This training doesn't have to be expensive either. You can simply get different members of your team to teach others about an area they’re particularly proficient in.

Another great thing to offer your employees is a benefit package. Like the training, you don’t need to spend loads of money on perks, as even small benefits can make all the difference. From validated parking to a free breakfast, perks can help with staff retention as well as recruitment. 

Startups should additionally consider setting up regular employee engagement surveys. It’s important to know what your staff has to say, and making the feedback anonymous ensures that you get honest reviews. 

startup business

3. Consider Your Company Culture

Company culture greatly influences employee engagement. If you have a positive working environment, your retention rate should be much higher, and hiring new staff will hopefully be much easier! But creating such a culture is harder than it sounds - you may have to trial a few different policies before you find the perfect balance.

For instance, you may wish to consider mental health sick days, or offering flexible working hours. Think about what you’d like as an employee, and then see whether it’s feasible to implement these policies. 

Once you think you’ve found the right balance, you can check whether your company culture meets expectations by:

  • Asking your staff what company culture means to them, and what policies are need to reflect this
  • Making sure all your policies are outlined in a document people can refer to, so that everyone is clear about the goals and direction of the business
  • Providing staff with measurable targets that can track the company’s progress towards an ideal culture

And just remember, company culture is always a work in progress, so you don’t have to achieve the perfect harmony straight away.

4. Scrap the Paperwork

While it’s incredibly hard to have a completely paper free office, paper can be easy to misplace. And if disaster should strike, such as a water leak, you need to have a backup. It’s therefore a good idea to keep most of your paperwork stored digitally. 

There are all sorts of ways you can store this data - the main thing is that the details are comprehensive and easily accessible. And whether the information can be found in a few spreadsheets or via a bespoke HR system, make sure that you’re fully complying with GDPR and that everything is kept secure.

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