For many start-ups and small businesses, it’s not uncommon for HR functions to take a back seat. As a Technology start-up business, your primary concern is likely making sure you are innovative enough to scale up your business for rapid growth in a fast-paced industry. When every hour is critical, you may feel that taking some operational shortcuts early on, will help you stay afloat, especially with competitive tech products out there which feel like they are closing in fast.
Early on, start-ups rely on having a flexible business culture, and the thought of bringing in HR to your recruitment or training processes may feel like you are killing the innovative culture you have created. However, when you don’t include HR in the running of your business, it can cause more harm than good. Having HR processes in place shows prospective and existing employees that you care of and value your workforce. This article will explore ten ways HR can help your tech start-up level up.
Small business founders tend to adopt a too small to matter attitude to recruitment. As a result, the recruitment process can lack structure, and legal issues can often be easily overlooked. As a tech start-up, you’ll want to hire top talent, including developers, designers, and other technology experts, to help your business achieve rapid growth. By utilising an HR function, you can ensure that the whole process is handled professionally. That includes everything from writing an inclusive job description that attracts qualified and experienced individuals to holding structured interviews to rate interviewees in a fair and predetermined way that doesn’t allow room for bias that often comes with an unstructured interview process.
Whether you have one employee or five hundred, the same laws apply to all businesses. So, for every employee, you take on, it’s important to formalise a contract right at the start. Firstly, because it’s a legal requirement and the UK government requires you to define your company’s relationship with any new employee. In addition, a formal working agreement is the first stage of any positive employee/employer relationship. It’s a clear picture of their salary, benefits, working hours and job responsibilities which makes them feel valued and gives them a basic understanding of what is expected of them, and what they can expect from you. Employee contracts are also an opportunity for you to protect your intellectual property by including non-disclosure and non-compete clauses. This will ensure any employee you take on cannot start working for a direct competitor of your tech business.
When start-ups, without an HR function, try to onboard new employees, the process can be complicated and start your latest recruit off on the wrong foot. Onboarding should give a new employee the best possible start in their new role. It acclimatises them to the culture, helps them understand their responsibilities and where they fit in and above all else, makes them feel welcome. If your start-up business structure means a high-level executive or the director is responsible for the onboarding of new employees, they may see it as a burden on their workflow rather than the chance to bond with their new colleague that it should be. As a tech start-up, you may be tempted to test your recruits’ ability to take the initiative and work proactively from the start and skip the initial onboarding process to help accelerate your business growth. However, the best working relationships start with a solid onboarding process. You’ll get plenty of opportunities to test your recruit’s competence later, but to begin with, it should be about making them feel welcome and valued.
Once you’ve recruited and onboarded a new employee, you also have to keep them engaged and help them feel valued enough that they don’t want to leave. Your employees are all individuals who will be driven by different things. Some need to make a difference in their role, while others are driven to develop and better themselves to climb the corporate ladder. HR can help your business assess if you are fulfilling their needs and ensuring your employees know that their work matters and rewarding them for achieving their goals.
It’s wise not to let how much an employee gets compensated for their work, to come down to how you feel about them or what you assume their position is worth. Fair HR policies around compensation will ensure everyone is paid fairly for their job and reduce the chances of your business developing issues, such as; a gender pay gap.
The growth and development of your employees should be at the heart of your company culture. Good employees now expect to be nurtured throughout their employment. They want, and expect training and opportunities in return for working hard for your business. It’s also important to remember that by training and developing your team, you are equipping them with the tools they need to perform better and work more productively, which will equal greater success for your business in the long run.
Leading on from encouraging growth and development. Companies who set up a performance management process can monitor and review their employee’s progress over a set period. Usually annually and at the half-year mark, set targets to achieve and identify training gaps, look at ways to fill them, and monitor their progress. Performance management reviews are a time that you and your employee can talk through how things are going, what can be done better and identify where help is needed or understand when an employee is ready for the next step. Using the same HR process for all employees will ensure everyone has a fair and consistent performance management experience.
All businesses, from start-ups to big corporations, face challenging moments. It’s part of running a business. How you handle those moments is important, and when it comes to your people, any issues must be handled with compassion and understanding. There will be times when you will need to carry out a disciplinary hearing, make someone redundant or discuss performance issues. Having an HR expert to advise and support you regarding these sensitive topics can make all the difference in how it affects your team’s well-being and morale.
The best talent out there wants to work for an employer that makes them feel valued and appreciated. This means doing more than just paying their wages on time. If you can afford to enrol in an employee benefits programme offering them discounts and deals on things they need or help with their general wellbeing. Also, offering little perks, employees appreciate remote-working, or an office snack box goes a long way.
Every company registered in the UK that employs people needs to have specific HR policies on file. Without these, your business is in breach of employment law leaving your business open to a whole host of legal issues. You’ll need a health and safety policy, a disciplinary and dismissal policy, and a grievance policy to be fully compliant. While you can download templates from the internet, these tend to be patchy at best. An HR advisor will be able to help you develop a range of policies designed to protect both you and your employees.
Every tech start-up needs an effective HR function to recruit, retain and motivate the top talent out there. The job market is competitive, and a company with solid HR policies in place shows that they are serious about looking after their workforce and remaining compliant will attract a better calibre of candidates than one that doesn’t emphasise the importance of HR.
If you would like further support on this for your individual business, please get in touch with a member of the team who will be able to support your further email@example.com or 01223 641 017.