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Guide to a thriving HR Team

Article by Yossy Akinsanya

H1: A Small Business Guide to Having a Thriving HR Team In 2022
For many small business owners, hiring an HR (human resources) team seems like an unnecessary cost. However, hiring an HR professional could be one of the most important things you can do for your growing business.

With a human resources department, you can achieve more efficient payroll processes, better recruitment, more employee engagement and better protection from legal issues in the workplace. Overall, a strong HR team – whether this consists of multiple HR professionals or just one – will strengthen your company’s culture and working conditions.

But how can you run a successful HR team within a small business? In this step-by-step guide, you’ll discover what human resources entails, why it’s important to have an HR department and how to ensure its success in all areas.

H2: What Does an HR Department Do and Why Is It Important?
Human resources (HR) is all about managing employee relations. HR employees have a very wide range of responsibilities that are all related to managing an organisation’s staff. Here are a few examples of areas that HR departments deal with:

  • Payroll
  • Recruitment
  • Health and safety
  • Performance management
  • Employee engagement and retention
  • Training and development
  • Attendance and annual leave
  • Diversity and inclusion

Many small business owners choose to handle these things on their own or within the senior management team rather than hire HR professionals. However, if you handle HR procedures without a qualified HR team, you could run the risk of facing payroll issues or not knowing how to solve employee disputes effectively and legally. Furthermore, you may not have the HR knowledge and experience to think of the best employee engagement, retention and training strategies for your company.

H2: Small Business Guide to Having a Thriving HR Team
Now you’re convinced that having a dedicated HR department is the way to go, you need to know more about how to get the most out of your HR employees and processes. 

Here’s a list of the best ways you can build a successful HR team within your small business. 

H3: 1) Define the company culture and mission statement
One of the main things that HR departments handle is the recruitment process. It’s the responsibility of the HR team to find and attract the top talent in the industry, so your HR employee(s) will spend a large amount of their time writing job descriptions, conducting interviews, selecting the right people and finalising the onboarding process.

However, before they can succeed at this, your HR department needs to have a clear idea of the company culture and mission statement. What are the company’s goals? What’s the atmosphere like in the office? Are there any social/networking activities? All of these questions need to be answered so that the HR department can communicate the company culture and HR mission statement to job candidates during the hiring process. Ultimately, having a well-defined culture will be appealing to potential employees who want to find out if your company is the right fit for them.

H3: 2) Set clear expectations in job descriptions
In addition to defining the company culture, a successful HR department will set clear expectations in each job description. This involves listing the skills and qualifications required and discussing daily tasks.

To ensure your HR department sets clear expectations in each job description, you should always tell them what your requirements are for each vacant position. Not only will your HR team have a better idea of what to write in job descriptions, but job seekers will also appreciate the transparency and be more likely to apply.

H3: 3) Have a great onboarding process
Once a new employee has been hired, it’s time to get them settled into the company through a comprehensive onboarding process. If you want your HR department to truly excel, you need this process to be as smooth and clearly defined as possible.

A poor onboarding process can be a huge turn-off to new employees. They could feel completely overwhelmed and not know who to turn to for help, or they could lack support and training and therefore make costly mistakes before they learn the ropes. 

Your HR department should always have a clear and comprehensive onboarding process for each new hire. This should involve in-depth training for the role, introductions to other employees, health and safety training, a set onboarding timeframe and plenty of opportunities to discuss the onboarding process with an HR employee. You could even have a mentoring program where the new hire is partnered with a senior employee who can offer advice. 

H3: 4) Write all HR policies in an employee handbook
Your HR department will oversee a wide range of operations within your business, including payroll, annual leave, performance management and employee relations. To reduce confusion or any potential disputes, it’s important that all HR policies, such as sick leave procedures and attendance expectations, are communicated to employees.

The best way for your HR team to communicate policies to employees is for them to create a comprehensive employee handbook to be given to every new employee. If everyone has a printed or electronic copy of the handbook, this will ensure that all employees understand the office rules and expectations.

H3: 5) Understand employment laws
Naturally, your employees need to understand expectations in the workplace but don’t forget that your HR manager and leadership team also need to understand their legal obligations. If your HR department is unaware of certain employment laws, this could lead to legal trouble if an employee has a grievance relating to issues such as pay or discrimination.

This is why it’s always best to hire a dedicated HR team with well-qualified and experienced individuals. Your HR employees should be extremely familiar with UK employment laws and how to protect the company if an employee wants to take legal action. The best HR employees will understand the importance of documenting all important conversations to gather evidence if a dispute arises. 

H3: 6) Streamline HR processes through the use of technology
Nowadays, there’s a software solution for pretty much everything in the world of business. With VAT software, project management software, time tracking software, and CRM software, you can streamline a wide variety of tasks to increase productivity and efficiency.

So, if you want your HR department to be as effective as possible, they need to have access to all of the tools they need. For example, to aid payroll processing and reduce errors, your HR professionals should have access to accounting and payroll software, and to track employee performance, they should be able to look at time tracking software and other performance management solutions.

Technology can also help with employee engagement, which is a huge focus for HR departments. With software tools like Perkbox and Kazoo, you can offer employees recognition, rewards and even a social hub to increase employee satisfaction and engagement. Employees can also give feedback through surveys on these software tools, enabling your HR team to think of ways to reduce employee turnover.

H3: 7) Set up a performance review process
Unfortunately, there may be times when an employee doesn’t meet expectations. In this case, your HR leaders need a clear performance review procedure to either help the employee solve the issue or initiate the dismissal process.

Having a performance review process with an action plan and scheduled meetings will ensure that all employees have a fair chance to improve their performance at work. If the employee does end up being dismissed, they won’t have a case for unfair dismissal if they were given plenty of chances. Your HR team should always keep a written record of this review process in case a former employee makes a claim to an employment tribunal.

H3: 8) Invest in training
Training and development also fall within the HR department’s remit. Your HR team should make sure that all employees have the opportunity to develop their skills and progress within the organisation. Not only is this fantastic for moving the company in the right direction, but it’s also a huge bonus for workers, who’ll feel valued and appreciated.

Indeed, investing time and money into employee development through a training programme is a great way to both improve expertise within the company and increase employee retention. It’s far better to spend money on training your current team than to spend even more money on constantly hiring new workers.

H3: 9) Introduce new benefits for the workforce

In addition to training, employee benefits are absolutely essential for increasing employee satisfaction and therefore reducing employee turnover. These benefits can include remote or hybrid working, more annual leave, discounted gym memberships or even a 4-day working week.

To retain talented employees, the HR department must identify opportunities to introduce new benefits that will be well received by the workforce. One way to do this is by sending out surveys and asking for feedback on what could be improved in the company. By receiving direct feedback from employees, your HR team can learn exactly what would be the most popular employee benefit (and therefore the best benefit for retaining workers).

H3: 10) Listen to feedback
Overall, listening to feedback is a key part of an HR professional’s job. A successful HR department always strives to keep employees happy and productive in order to retain top talent.

As mentioned above, collecting surveys is a great way to gather direct feedback. Additionally, exit interviews present a fantastic opportunity to ask why an employee is leaving and what could be done to improve the company.

H2: How to Run a Successful HR Team
Every business needs a strong HR strategy and an experienced, well-qualified HR department, no matter its size. Indeed, without an effective HR department, your business will struggle to comply with employment laws, recruit top talent and retain the best staff.

Fortunately, to learn how to build a successful HR department within your small business, all you need to do is follow this helpful guide. By using technology, creating a great onboarding process, writing an employee handbook, listening to feedback and introducing new employee benefits, your HR department will truly excel.

    Yossy Akinsanya is a London-based content marketing specialist at Marketing Signals.

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