HR & Employment Law Insights

Helping family businesses, start-ups, charities, social enterprises, and other growing or established businesses throughout the UK make sense of HR and Employment Law challenges.

There’s a perception that HR is all about compliance such as discipline and grievance and if you’re a small business or family business, you probably think you don’t need an HR Consultant. You probably think that because your staff don’t cause you any issues and if it’s a family run business, there’s a good chance the people working for you are family or friends.

So, why would you need an HR Consultant?

Firstly, HR is not all about discipline and grievance and I’ve touched on this quite a bit recently and will continue to do so over the coming weeks.

You would be correct to assume that HR does support with discipline and grievance issues, and with the changes to employment law, this is a bit of a minefield for small businesses. An HR Consultant can certainly support you with this and can also be on hand if things go wrong.

What else could HR do for your small business?

Recruitment – how do you recruit employees? You might be reading this and thinking I don’t have any recruitment concerns if someone leaves I can replace them quickly either through the job centre, on-spec applications or my existing employees recommend people to come and work for me. Does this work? Have you measured how effective this approach is and do you know your cost per hire? Have you worked out your training costs? What impact does replacing an employee have on your customers? These are areas that an HR Consultant can help with and add some value to your organisation.

Performance – how do you measure performance and productivity? Are your customers satisfied with the service you offer? How do you know and how do you measure this? How do you tackle poor performance, is this down to you as the business owner or does someone else do this for you? How effectively do you deal with performance concerns, does it resolve the problem? Is this why people leave because you’ve not coached and developed them to do a better job? If you’re concerned about performance, then think how your customers feel. If they’re unhappy, they’ll go elsewhere – this is why it’s crucial to ensure you manage performance and set objectives which are aligned to your business goals.

Engagement – is this something only the big companies do? Of course, it’s not, but how do you know what to do? HR can add real value here – whether it’s through traditional surveys or questionnaires, or more current thinking around facilitating focus and listening groups, getting to know your people, the challenges, the culture, and work with you to develop a plan that gets the best out of your people. Most people leave their manager and not the company – are you doing enough to retain your employees. What could you do differently?

Retention - do you measure staff retention? What steps do you take to improve this? If you recruit the right people, train and develop them, and create a positive environment where people are trusted, given an opportunity to flourish and make decisions, praise and recognise people who so consistently do well, you'll be doing a lot right which will improve staff retention.

As a small business or family business, you might not have anyone else to turn to in the business regarding your approach. Perhaps people around you don’t feel comfortable giving you honest feedback on the way you manage – a good HR Consultant will do this. Someone who is objective, not employed by the business and can offer feedback from what they’ve seen in other organisations (good and bad!)

If your workforce are engaged and motivated, this will result in happier customers, better profits for you and allow you to do the things you really want to do – the reason you got into business in the first place.

So, an HR Consultant for a small business is not only about dealing with problems – it’s about being proactive and working with you to avoid it getting to that stage. It’s about developing you and your people, and making you better at managing – all aspects that will help improve your bottom line.

Keep an eye on future blogs regarding the role HR has to play in an organisation.