You’ve got your idea, you’ve got your funding, you even have some customers and your startup is beginning to grow. Fantastic! You now need to hire employees to meet the demands of your customers and to begin to expand your fledgling business. Employees are your most important asset (bit of an overused phrase, but a true one never the less) and can grow your revenue as well. From sourcing, interviewing, writing job specs and hiring to contracts, policies, procedures, employee files and benefits the list goes on and on, but these are all things any startup that has visions of grandeur, and what entrepreneur wouldn’t have them, need to be compliant and have engaged, efficient and great employees.
With a daunting task like this it is critical to start with the five most important tasks and get those done first… This is where HR REV steps in. Here are our 5 first steps:
1. Employee Handbooks – Startups are fun and innovative, and handbooks are boring and outdated and so corporate right?! WRONG! From an HR point of view, a handbook is necessary, regardless of the company size. A handbook lets a company lay out what they expect of the employee and what benefits are offered. This is important to have as a reference for any situations that may arise down the line and offers protection for both the employer and the employee and they are easily changed as the company evolves.
- Culture! Culture! Culture! This is extremely important in any startup. As HR professionals we often think of ourselves as Chief Missionaries of Culture. It is part of the job of the HR team to make sure that the company stays fun and innovative by maintaining a great culture. It is important that even though we are in HR, people know they can come and talk to us about anything. Make sure people know that they can make suggestions about improvements or new benefits. Quite often the people on the shop floor have the most practical ideas.
- Recruiting the Right People is one of the most important things for any company. I can’t stress this enough. As a startup when you have only a few employees, hiring the right people is especially critical. They need to have the right experience, the right mentality and be a culture fit based on what you are trying to build. This is the time to find and implement great talent management practices and software.
- Documents – Once you start hiring people you’re going to quickly notice paperwork, everywhere! It’s time to create some personnel files!! We are strong advocates for a paperless office by the way, as lots of trees can be hurt in the making of an employee file. Get everything online in a secure place such as DropBox. I can’t stress enough how important your Contract of Employment is. It is a legal document first and is the protection you afford yourself and your business if something should happen between you and your employee and if it is badly written then your legal protection can go out the window before you even have time to blink. There are also specific legal requirements when storing personal data, ever heard of the Data Protection Act?
- Attraction – How do you compete with other startups to get the best employees? Remember you are competing with some of the big players for the best talent out there. Providing amazing benefits is a good way to start! Employees aren’t just looking for monetary reward; they want to know about your work-life balance. Benefits in the standard sense are great, for example medical benefits – this is a benefit most employees look for, but if you really want to draw people to work for you offer other things like gym memberships, lunches, versatile working environment, flexible working, holiday allowances; the list goes on and on! Some benefits can be very costly, especially for a startup, so think outside the box when considering your benefits offering and consider what packages go with what roles.
It can be daunting to start any company and have to be responsible for sales, IT, marketing, design and HR as well. But as a startup you probably won’t need an HR Manager as a full-time employee (you don’t want the salary, the NI payments, and them sitting twiddling their thumbs for half of the month), but you will need their expertise so what do you do? Contact us at HR Revolution, that’s the first step. We can offer all the support your growing business needs, but offer it flexibly so you don’t have all the costs of a permanent employee and don’t have an employee who is only productive half of the time they work.