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  • Sally Brandon

What is HR?

In the words of Maria Von Trapp….


Let's start at the very beginning. It's a very good place to start. When you read you begin with A-B-C, when you hire employees you start with, no,  not Do-re-me, you start with  HR (I know that doesn't rhyme or flow but it leads me nicely into discussing what HR actually is).






HR generally gets a bad rap and is known as the department of doom or the department that will discipline or fire you.  But that is not true…


In this blog I cover:


  • What is HR?

  • The 8 main areas HR supports

  • Why HR is important

  • Consequences of poor HR

  • But I only have a few do I really need HR?

  • Using an external HR Consultant


What is HR?


Fundamentally,  Human resources (better known as HR) is the department / person within your business that is responsible for all things Worker / Employee / Independent Contractor related. 


There are 8 main areas HR covers:


  • Legal Compliance

  • Recruitment

  • Onboarding/Offboarding

  • Employee Relations

  • Learning & Development

  • Reward

  • HR Data  and Admin

  • Reward & Recognition 


Other specialist areas that HR can support with are 


  • Visa Sponsorship

  • Payroll

  • Mediation

  • Coaching

  • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion 




Why HR is important


As a small business it can be very easy to overlook.  Once your business is off the ground and growing you will have to get to grips with managing your employees.  As well as the day to day HR operations in any one of the 8 core areas above, HR also plays a significant role in developing a positive business culture and improving employee engagement and productivity as well as taking the lead on employee wellness and personal development.


Managing employees is time consuming and may not be something you envisaged doing when you started your agency and HR is an area of expertise many business owners lack through no fault of their own. It is also important to remember that the value of HR in business isn’t always immediately evident.


Your focus is on your clients and their needs so who is focussing on your team? 


The consequences of poor HR


An unhappy team leads to an unhappy culture. If your employees don’t feel supported, are not being given opportunities to develop, or maybe working long hours their motivation to be productive is affected.


If you fail to manage HR effectively,  you will see a knock-on effect on your bottom line. People, culture, and business success are deeply interconnected. Your company's reputation as an employer really does impact its ability to attract the best internal talent.


There are also financial considerations to think about.


If you fail to complete the right to work checks correctly  you can face a jail sentence of up to 5 years and or a fine of up to £60,000 per employee for repeat offenders.


Unfair dismissal claims can run into thousands of pounds and discrimination claims are unlimited. 


Not managing your employees can lead to a world of stress and can be expensive.  Even if you don’t end up in a tribunal, Settlement Agreements to end employment can be costly, not to mention the cost in your time and energy managing the situation.


 

But I only have a few employees, Do I really need HR?


As a small business if you are comfortable and have time and skills to properly manage your team and make sure you are legally compliant you may feel you don’t need HR but did you know that every company in the UK (no matter how small) is legally required to have three specific HR policies on file for HR compliance reasons. If your small business or startup doesn’t have these policies in place, then your company is already in breach of employment law.


These policies are:


A Health & Safety Policy

A Disciplinary/Dismissal Policy

A Grievance Policy


They need to be tailored specifically to your business and – most importantly – you also need to understand how to use them.


There are a number of other policies that you may find useful to communicate the company standards and procedures.  These will save you time as you won’t have to keep answering and employees will have the answers at their fingertips.  The most useful are:


  • Holiday

  • Sickness

  • Other Absence

  • Family Friendly (Maternity, Paternity, Adoption, Shared Parental and Time off work for bereavement and Carers Leave

  • Social Media


Think about the cost in time and energy involved in writing policies or dealing with an employee situation.  Is that time you want to spend away from your clients?


Using an external HR Consultant


Having access to an HR expert is not as expensive as you might think. 


An HR consultant can bridge the gap between needing HR but not having enough employees to warrant hiring a permanent employee.


An HR Consultant is a cost effective way of accessing expert advice without adding to your headcount and payroll budget. You don’t have to worry about the added costs associated with an employee such as deskspace and equipment and employers NI and pension contributions


Entrusting your HR function to an HR expert enables you to focus on other areas of your business, with the comfort of knowing that your employees (the heart of your business) are well-cared for.


Minerva HR Consulting works on a retained, project or ad hoc basis to suit your requirements


In summary


If you have employees then you need HR because your employees and workers are the heart of your business.  By investing in them and making your business a great place to work you will have their loyalty, they will be more productive and are less likely to jump ship thus keeping turnover rate and costs low.


If you want to know more lets chat




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