Today’s blog sets out the benefits of investing in external HR support to help you grow and develop your business and I share my experience in the sorts of HR problems business owners face. If you are undecided on whether this would be right for your business, this blog will help.
Here are some of the concerns and thoughts owners of small businesses have expressed to me over the years:
“We don’t need a fulltime HR person”
“We are a small company, this doesn’t apply to us”
“We got basic contracts of employment off the internet, they will be do”
“We don’t need policies and procedures and clear job descriptions, everyone knows what they are doing and as long as they act in the interests of the company, it will be fine”
“Everyone gets on, we don’t get poor performance or bad behaviour”
“We are all grown ups”
“We don’t need performance appraisals and regular one to one meetings, after all people talk to each other every day”
“There is no need for training and development, learning can’t be avoided it just happens on the job anyway”
“We pay a fair wage we won’t need an employer brand, if talented employees are as good as they say they are, they will find their way to us”
“We have a settled and stable workforce, we don’t need to worry about succession planning”
Now I can’t say I worked with all of these people because it’s really important to me that I work with businesses that are open to exploring the benefits of great HR. But here’s the really important thing you need to know – employment law applies to small and large companies alike, and by even having one employee, you will have legal obligations and a duty of care to that employee. Furthermore, if you get it wrong and end up in a tribunal, the costs of a tribunal and any awards given to an employee that wins their case aren’t reduced because you have a small business.
In my experience a small business can muddle along for a while without expert HR support until there is a difficult people problem:
- A key employee falls ill or leaves.
- An employee is on long-term sickness.
- Employees fallout or raise grievances.
- An employee does something that needs to be dealt with formally under a disciplinary procedure.
- There seems to be confusion and maybe even conflict about task ownership, accountability and responsibility and the business isn’t really hitting its targets.
- There could be one employee that is causing all sorts of difficulties in the business with their behaviour, attitudes and performance.
- The business needs to be re-organised or restructured.
- The business owner simply finds they are spending an increasing amount of time on HR admin and matters when they don’t want to and it isn’t their area of expertise.