Many smaller employers operate day-to-day without any specialist HR support and usually quite successfully. They seek advice when they need to and otherwise spend their time getting on with running their business.  We would argue that the key to their success is ensuring they have good HR practices and procedures in place from the outset. So this our 6 point checklist that should help you get the most from your staff and in turn see an improvement in your business.

  1. Do you carry out any pre-employment checks? Do you request references; check your employees’ right to work in the UK; and carry out any other relevant checks to make sure that you are recruiting the right people for the business and staying on the right side of the law? 
  2. Have all your employees been issued with up to date contracts of employment? It may be that the contract you use needs reviewing if it has been some time since it was created. You might also consider whether your staff are all employees. Maybe some are being treated as workers or self-employed/consultants but should really be engaged as employees and issued with proper contracts of employment.
  3. Are your HR policies and procedures also up to date? Importantly too, are they somewhere where all staff can readily access them?  
  4. What is your staff retention rate like? Do you lose employees regularly? If so, you may want to look at why this is and try to address the causes. Recruiting new staff can be costly and time consuming and building up expertise within your business is often key to its success. It may be that you need to introduce an annual appraisal process, part of which involves looking forwards at what your employees want from their careers and supporting them to achieve their goals where you can.
  5. How well are your staff managed? Managing staff can be a headache! However, it can also be very rewarding and good management certainly helps to minimise employee disputes in the workplace which can be a real distraction from running the business and making it a success. Training your managers where needed to tackle poor performance and long and short term sickness absence, for example, can be a good use of resources in the long run.
  6. Do you reward your staff properly? Employees rarely simply move jobs just for the money but paying the market rate is also an important step towards retaining good staff. It may also be that introducing a clear, achievable and affordable bonus or commission scheme will encourage improved performance and a more productive workplace.