As a business owner, the ‘red tape’ behind people management may start off at the forefront of your mind as issues arise, but slip to the bottom of the to-do list. These are the top five HR challenges that businesses ask me for support with, and how to tackle them.
1. Calculating holiday
Problem: It’s simple when you have a full-time employee working for a full holiday year: 28 days including bank holidays, done deal. Factor in part-time workers, mid-year joiners, and maternity returners, and you may find it more complex.
Solution: Ensuring holiday entitlement is clearly specified in contracts of employment and communicated to all staff is key, along with an effective way of logging holiday accrued and taken (this could either be paper-based, cloud-based or using a devoted HR system).
2. Anti-discrimination law.
Problem: You know you’re not meaning to discriminate, but indirect discrimination is usually unintentional and it’s important to know how to keep on the right side of the law. The Equality Act (2010) lists protected characteristics, and there are obligations on employers to ensure fair treatment.
Solution: Ensure that managers are effectively trained on equal opportunities. Issue policies and procedures for conduct and dignity at work, which promote positive behaviours and respect to all. If you come across a contentious issue and are not sure, seek advice from an employment lawyer or HR expert.
3. Contracts, policies and procedures
Problem: “I think I found one on the internet.” “We forgot to issue a contract – but they have an offer letter.” “What’s in the contract is different to what’s in the absence policy.”
Solution: It might seem like an unnecessary expense at the time, but in HR terms, the contract of employment and associated policies and procedures underpin everything. They are the holy grail, so make sure they’re done right.
4. Managing Absence
Problem: You might not have an absence problem as such, but as the business grows and your employee base expands, it’s useful to know how to handle attendance (or lack of it). When do you need to pay someone or not? How do you tackle persistent non-attendance?
Solution: Appropriate clauses in contracts of employment, communication of absence policy and procedures so that staff know what is expected and ‘what happens if…’ (and clear conduct and capability procedures in case it goes further).
Problem: In a start-up or small business, your first employees really are crucial to your success. As that success skyrockets (you hope!) you’ll need to ensure you’re creating a working environment that people want to stay in. The last thing you want is your top performer being poached by a competitor.
Solution: Ensuring that you have a strong employer brand, a wellbeing strategy, remuneration packages, performance incentives and staff benefits that compete with the opposition and make your company an employer of choice.
Whether you need ad hoc advice or a retained HR service, The HR Place can help.
You can either have all your HR support covered for a monthly fee, or simply procure one-off advice.
We don’t tie you into a long contract because we hope the quality of support you get from us will keep your custom.