When you’re starting your own business, HR may well be the last thing on your mind. However, it should be at the top of your list of priorities! Typically, start-ups with strong HR policies and practices are better positioned to attract and retain employees, which can only be a good thing for business growth.
To ensure business success, HR policies and procedures are absolutely essential for your start-up and should be established from the outset.
Having HR policies and procedures in place will ensure that:
- The right employees are selected and recruited
Recruiting candidates and selecting the best ones to come and work for your start-up is a key HR responsibility. You may be inundated with applications for an advertised job vacancy or you may be struggling to fill a role – in either case, a good HR team can successfully pre-select, shortlist, interview, assess and check references, to ensure you find the right person for the job.
- Your business is compliant with Australian awards and employment standards
Many Australian workers, including those in hospitality, retail, trades and clerical roles, are covered by modern awards. A good HR department will ensure you’re meeting your minimum obligations under the applicable award, especially with regards to overtime and penalty rates, annual leave, allowances and meal break provisions.
- Employment contracts are correct and appropriate
Your employment contracts and on-boarding processes should be regularly reviewed to ensure they are compliant with any changes to Australian law and the National Employment Standards. All new employees need to be provided with the most recent Fair Work Information Statement.
- Employees are fairly compensated
Fair compensation is the key to motivating and retaining employees. Compensation takes the form of directly paid money for work (salary and performance-based pay), as well as non-monetary awards such as extra holidays, flexible working times and days, and a company car, for example.
- Employees are performance managed
Keeping employees motivated and achieving their goals is crucial to the success of a start-up. Regular feedback, training and encouragement can ensure this happens at your start-up.
- Workplace policy manuals and codes of conduct are in place
A policy manual which can also be known as a staff handbook and code of conduct should cover critical areas such as harassment, discrimination and bullying, occupational health and safety, social media use, drug/alcohol use, performance management and termination. Your start-up needs to have established policies in place to handle complaints and concerns.
- Training programs are implemented
Regular training ensures that employees are up to speed on OHS and inappropriate workplace behaviour. An important part of building your start-up is giving your employees the chance to grow and develop their skills and providing them with appropriate feedback. This can be accomplished by learning and development programs.
- Your workplace culture is positive and inclusive
When you put all these factors together, the end result is a workplace that is positive and inclusive, with all members of the team working together to achieve a common goal. Employees are fairly compensated and suitably motivated, receiving appropriate training and regular feedback.
The HR Dept can step in early on to put these policies and procedures in place and keep things ticking over smoothly as your start-up grows.