3. Top HR Tips

Top 5 Tips for employing people
Employing people can be a bit of a minefield!  How do you make sure you comply with legal requirements, and how do you protect your organisation? What happens if things don't work out or something goes wrong? How do you 'exit' someone in the right way in order to minimise any risk of being sued and being taken to an employment tribunal? 

To help you get started we have set out the TOP 5 must do's when you employ someone. These are the priority areas and by addressing these you will reduce your risk and also provide employees with information that will help them perform and conduct themselves how you want them to! 

TOP 5 Tips
1. Have a Written Contract of Employment 

The contract is the foundation on which the employment relationship is built. A good contract will give the business flexibility and protection. It will save you money, time and a whole lot of grief! Read the section on Contracts and make sure you put one in place with every employee. Send the contract BEFORE they start so the terms are clear from the outset. There is also a legal requirement to issue employees with written terms of employment from day one of employment and a good contract will also ensure you meet these legal obligations. 

Further information: there is a full section on Contracts of Employment that also covers the written statement of terms.

2. Have a Clear Job Description 

Be clear about what you want someone to do. A clear job description will clarify for the business and your employee what you want and expect from them. It will allow you to measure whether they are doing the job well. You can then take this further and include performance indicators to measure how well they are doing and help them focus on the priorities. Only YOU can decide what the overall priorities are and if you don't make this clear, your employees will make up their own priorities (well, wouldn't you?). 

Further information: Read the guidance notes on Job Descriptions for further information. 

3. Confirm Things in Writing 

The problem with verbal agreements is that they are open to interpretation and people can become very selective about what they heard or understood. Confirming things in writing will prevent this from happening. Putting things in writing starts with the contract of employment, but then you need to document any changes in terms (e.g. change of hours, change in job role or duties; bonus schemes or additional payments); resignations (if an employee resigns or says they will be retiring, ask them to confirm it in writing - or write to them to confirm what was said); any areas of concerns - you can express your concern about someone’s performance or conduct using a 'File Note for Improvement' or letter of concern. 

Further information: Look at the section on HR Administration as a starting point.

4. Have Procedures and Follow Them  

Employment law and HR is all about procedures. You should have relevant procedures in place (e.g. disciplinary, grievance and equal opportunities) and you should FOLLOW the procedure should you need to. For example, there is no point in having a disciplinary procedure and then ignoring it! You will end up in all sorts of trouble that could have been avoided. 

Further information: the template policy documents will help you put procedures in place, so you meet your legal requirements (and more) and provide clarity in other areas.

The Family Friendly policies (e.g. maternity, flexible working, paternity etc.) set out all the current statutory requirements with a step-by-step plan for you to run through for the most common situations. 

5. Never Dismiss Someone on The Spot 

There is no such thing as instant dismissal. If you dismiss someone on the spot - for whatever reason - you will probably lose an unfair dismissal claim. If in doubt suspend the employee and then follow your procedure.  (for times when you may not need to follow a procedure, please see unfair dismissal and qualifying period).

Further information: the section on disciplinary gives comprehensive notes on how to prepare for and manage a disciplinary situation (and also how to help avoid disciplinary situations). 

And one for luck... 

6. Communication and keeping up to date 

There is no point in putting all the right documents and policies in place if you don’t communicate these to employees. Find an effective way to do this (e.g. an employee handbook).

And finally make sure you keep everything up to date. Employment law changes, and you cannot afford to be relying on out of date policies or procedures. Our updates will keep you informed, or for a solution that does it all for you, take a look at the ultimate HR compliance system YourHR.space.


The different sections and categories on this site will take you through each step of employment in more detail... start with the Step by Step HR and work from there...

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