HR Tips

Key HR Tips For Start-Ups | Aparna Sharma | Consulting Editor | The People Management

HR TipsHuman Resources encompasses all things relating to the recruitment, support and training of employees within a business. With little time and resources, it can be easy to put off HR responsibilities but if you ignore the HR basics in the very beginning, your business may be negatively affected. Nurturing your employees is equivalent to nurturing your business.

You will most likely find, you are covering some of the HR basics naturally but as your business grows, it can become a more demanding task. You may even decide to consider hiring an HR professional or outsourcing your HR needs, but there’s a lot you can do yourself. From hiring to payroll and training, here are some of the HR basics you should be aware of to help your Start-up grow.

1. Onboarding

When you’re a Start-up, your next hire could help shape the future of your business. Therefore, its one area you may not want to outsource. That said, you can learn from what an HR professional does. They will make sure a candidate is hired fairly, and without bias. They’ll also take on the logistics of getting a new hire up and running. They’ll organise any paperwork, ensure contracts are signed and payroll is set up. This part of their job is particularly important, as a new hire needs to feel comfortable and confident in starting their new job role.

As employees and salaries are likely to be one of your biggest costs, knowing when the right time to hire has come is also important.

2. Team structure

As more employees start to join your business, you’ll find that you may need more structure. An HR specialist will usually take on the responsibility of organising teams. From managers to assistants, they’ll typically organise direct reports to make sure all employees are supported. With a tree structure in place, they can start to build in performance management techniques where employees can set goals, be assessed to improve work focus and create a plan for their career. Depending on the size of your business and resources, you may lean towards an HR Information System (HRIS), which utilises technology to support HR responsibilities.

3. Training and development

With any Start-up, it’s critical and cost effective to retain employees with the company for as long as you can. This is because recruiting can incur direct and hidden costs. A business is only as good as its employees and with this in mind, it’s important to develop their skills to help them flourish along with your company. You should offer all employees a Personal Development Plan (PDP). While helping individuals take control of their development, it is an opportunity to focus individual growth on meeting the goals of the company. Without the option for training, you may see employees leaving to go somewhere else where they see a future.

Initially, without an HR professional, you may want to delegate the responsibility of training to one of your senior employees. They should assess which areas would benefit from training and set up training days, either online or in an external seminar environment. By keeping a watchful eye on the industry, they’ll be the first to know of any upcoming news or developments in technology that can help the business grow.

4. Compliance

One of HR’s main responsibilities is to keep the business compliant with any statutory laws or regulations. From general work behaviours to health and safety, it’s important that everyone is on board with any rules that are in place.

As HR are the gatekeepers to employees’ personal data, including bank details, medical forms and passport information, the responsibility of compliance has naturally fallen on them. They will make sure rules are followed and will take responsibility for keeping a check on other mandatory requirements.

5. Employee Relations

Ensuring all employees are engaged & happy in their workplace is a big subject to tackle. But, it’s where HR professionals can really use their people skills to ensure all employees feel supported at work. From mental health workshops to wellbeing, a business, no matter what its size, should encourage a healthy working style.

Of course, not everyone can be happy all of the time and with tight deadlines and targets, there may be some clashes in the office. HR will often be there to listen to grievances and resolve any issues. As a Start-up with no HR professional to lean on, it’s up to you to create a culture where feedback is welcomed and problems can be solved.

Key Takeaways –

Handling HR responsibilities can be pretty overwhelming especially when you’re already juggling multiple tasks. As a Start-up you will, of course, struggle to do everything straight away, but your business will benefit if you spend some time on nurturing HR skills early on. Here are some key takeaways to get you started:

a) Invest in personal development. If your employees thrive, your business will thrive.
b) When your business starts to grow, make sure everyone has a line manager to feel supported.
c) Create a culture where feedback is welcomed and issues can be resolved effectively.

Note- My book “Reality Bytes – The Role of HR in Today’s World” , (Foreword by Dr.T.V.Rao) ( ) is a great ready reckoner for Start-ups, who have no HR person/team or even those who have only one person army in HR or only a few. It helps with essentials that you need to bear in mind while setting up & also scaling up the organisation.