People documentation – getting the ‘brilliant basics’ in place

I know, I know, talking about HR policies sounds all very dull and boring! However, they are vital to your growing business for so many reasons. Let’s run through them so you can see for yourself why getting these people fundamentals in place, is so important.

As your company grows and develops, it’s key to introduce people policies to ensure a consistent and fair approach for everyone – your people want to know what’s expected of them and where they stand.

As well as your team being clear, having formal people processes and policies will help you and your managers to deal with any issues that come up in a consistent and coordinated way. No business wants their people wasting time and effort, so avoid that by ensuring everyone knows where they stand with a robust policy.

A lack of structure when it comes to people is all fine when things are going well, but the moment there is an issue – think under-performance, grievance, sickness issues, all very normal people challenges that managers face regularly; without a robust policy to outline the process to be followed, somewhat run of the mill issues will become all the more tricky to navigate.

Team motivation

If you like to base your business decisions on robust evidence, the extensive studies carried out by Frederick Hertzberg will provide you with the reassurance you need to understand why getting the basics right when it comes to your people is so important.

Small business leaders often think of things such as recognition and career advancement as the key motivators for their staff. However, if the very basic HR fundamentals like workplace policy aren’t in place, your people will rarely be motivated by the bigger stuff like promotions and fancy benefits packages.

Employment law

There is of course the requirement to take account of employment law and it is much easier to do this if you create and introduce policies that meet all these requirements. The last thing any business needs is a grievance or even worse an employment tribunal claim so can save yourself a lot of time and effort by having clear workplace policies and procedures on the everyday issues your people and managers need to navigate.

Contracts of employment

In a new employment relationship, the contract of employment is often the first document your new employee will see and is an opportunity for you to make a good impression and reassure the new recruit that they’ve made a great decision in joining your company.

Make the contract too long and it will likely put people off and will include a bunch of usually, irrelevant clauses that aren’t applicable, or that can be covered in your policies or handbook.

Make the contract too short and your put the business at risk of not having the protection needed, should an issue such as sickness, performance, anti-competition, etc, come up.

Employee handbook

We always recommend that a contract of employment is followed swiftly by an engaging employee handbook (or ‘How we work guide’), and that you have robust people policies in place to supplement this. Your handbook should address key employment issues and explain how you onboard new employees, your rules on employee behaviour and how you deal with absence, so your employees understand their responsibilities and the company’s expectations.

Business risk

Without solid contracts or policies in place, a business is left open to all kinds of risks. Employment law is a complex area that is full of pitfalls. Getting your people documentation right involves keeping in touch with developments, thinking out your policies and implementing them with care. Getting this wrong can be extremely expensive.

Want some expert help?

With our People Documentation Package, we will review your current documentation and either recommend and implement changes with you or develop a fresh suite of documents that are right for your business and for your people – no boiler-plate documents, they are all bespoke to you, in your language, with imagery that reflects your organisation.

For an obligation-free chat, get in touch. Or view our HR services for small businesses.

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