Top 10 HR tips


For many businesses, people are the most important asset; smallbusiness.co.uk's Top Ten HR Tips provide advice on how to find and keep the best employees and offer hints on helping them develop.


How to employ and manage staff

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For many businesses, people are the most important asset; smallbusiness.co.uk’s Top Ten HR Tips provide advice on how to find and keep the best employees and offer hints on helping them develop.

For many businesses, people are the most important asset; smallbusiness.co.uk’s Top Ten HR Tips provide advice on how to find and keep the best employees and offer hints on helping them develop.

1. Draw up a job description, no matter how simple or low-level the job
The more information you put down, the better your chances are of getting the right person for the right job. Cover areas such as the level of skill needed, whether training is necessary, and how much experience or responsibility the job requires.

2. Use specialist or trade publications to target your ads
If you are looking to fill a particular position, consider advertising in specialist or trade publications. Find out from people who work in that area what publications they read. If the job is not that specialised, consider advertising in a local newspaper, which will be cheaper. Word-of-mouth can also be useful and cost-effective.

3. Always take up references
Before someone joins your company, ensure you get references. It can be a good idea to contact a referee direct on the phone as they are often more responsive than in a letter. Ask questions such as: ‘Would you re-employ this person?’

4. Get help from your friends and family
Recruiting employees is a costly exercise, both in terms of time and money. Think about whether you need someone full time. Help from your friends and family is also an option, and it won’t cost you a penny to advertise. If you need someone specialised for the short-term, it’s worth paying that bit extra for contract or temporary staff.

5. Make your employees feel welcome
First impressions count and the first three months of employment with a new company are important. Make your new employees feel welcome. Consider setting up an induction into the company with on-the-job training and a buddy system to help a new recruit with any questions.

6. A business is only as good as the people who work for it
As a small business, you can be closer to your staff, suppliers and customers than larger ones. Involve your employees in the work culture from day one and keep them up to date with the progress of the company and any developments that may take place in the near future.

7. Use incentives other than money
A competitive package need not only be about money – flexible working such as job-share and flexi-hours can give you the opportunity to tailor benefits more suited to the individual. Look carefully at what motivates each employees – some may be driven by security, others by ambition. Group days out, or brainstorming sessions combined with a fun activity can also work well.

8. Appraise your staff regularly
An effective appraisal system should allow for realistic, but challenging objectives. There should also be interim reviews to ensure objectives have not changed and to give an opportunity to identify training and development. Consider who is best placed to carry out the reviews – in some cases it may be more appropriate to use a middle manager.

9. Enforce strict ‘absence’ procedures
In order to deal effectively with absenteeism, staff should be very clear about the company policy. A staff handbook is an ideal way to state policies clearly. Areas such as holidays, sickness and absenteeism should be included and clearly outlined.

10. Create a culture of good leavers
Hold exit interviews, particularly for key staff, which will help you identify any problems going forward. The aim is to create a culture of ‘good leavers’: this is the type of person who will flag up any problems beforehand, tell you about concerns with work, and once they’ve left, will not say negative things about the company.

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