BLOG: Common HR hurdles for growing companies
As companies grow, often so do their people challenges.
Small businesses in particular can manage for quite some time without formalised structures or processes around people and their activities. Usually, at some point, a tipping point is reached where businesses realise they need more robust processes. Sometimes this tipping point is the first time an organisation needs to carry out a disciplinary hearing or receives a grievance.
Alternatively, it might be the first time that they need to undertake a strategic piece of recruitment or when they are required to comply with new employment legislation.
When I am talking to the leaders of SMEs in particular, these are the key challenges they report:
• Which HR policies they need – and what they should say.
• How to comply with employment legislation.
• How to recruit the right talent for their business without engaging expensive recruitment agencies.
• How to manage underperforming employees.
• How to develop employees and retain their talent.
It is tempting for me to suggest what they need is someone to do all of this for them…. but I will save the sales pitch for another time! Instead, my top dos and don’ts for growing companies are:
• Do refer to the various ACAS codes of practice (on their website) when dealing with employee relations issues – they will keep you legally compliant.
• Don’t use other people’s policies and procedures or just download templates from the internet -they need to reflect your organisation and what you are trying to achieve.
• Do address employee performance issues promptly – often, taking the ostrich approach will make it more difficult when you do have to take action.
• Don’t overreact if tempers get short over a performance issue: however persuasive the case against someone might seem, you still have to follow a process and there may be a different side to the story of which you aren’t aware.
• Do give staff the time and space to develop their skills, even (especially!) if you can’t afford to send them on expensive courses. Development opportunities could include getting involved in another aspect of your business or assigning them a new project to research.
• Don’t assume you need a lengthy annual appraisal or performance review process: regular, meaningful conversations with staff are usually more productive.
• Do take appropriate advice when you need it – especially with complex legal issues.
• Don’t automatically assume that you need to make expensive recruitment arrangements – you know your brand best and it’s likely you will know where to find people who can help you develop it.
If you need any help with your HR challenges, you can contact me.