HR Advice For Start-Ups

With any young business, there comes a time when you need to expand and take on new people. It’s possible that as a start-up, you don’t have a dedicated human resources department, and as a result, advertising, interviewing and recruiting can be a time-consuming business, taking you away from your core functions.

It’s tempting then to try to get this over as quickly as possible, maybe by relying on word of mouth to bring in vaguely suitable people and hoping that they’ll eventually adjust and pick up the job as they go along. Another common mistake is to be too perfectionist and expect too much of a new employee. Here are some tips to help start-ups go through the HR process smoothly and with the best possible results.

Make sure you hire someone who’s right for your business, not just their job 

Be clear about your business identity and culture. Is your workplace relaxed or formal? What is your ethical stance? When taking on a new employee, it’s important that they fit in personally with your existing team and share an enthusiasm for the same goals. A small start-up is like a family, so the smaller and younger the company, the more important it is that everyone is on the same page and pulling together.

Be clear about the job role 

With a start-up, it’s often the case that what you need is another person who can do a bit of everything. The problem with this approach is that you’re looking for a Renaissance man but often end up with a Jack of all trades.Be clear about the specific job role that needs filling and get the person who’s the best possible candidate for doing that job. If they have other useful skills, then that’s a bonus. They should be prepared to muck in, but the most important thing is that they can do the job that they’re hired for.

Use an umbrella company for temps 

Although an umbrella company can’t help you with finding the right person, they can take on a lot of the HR responsibilities when it comes to employing temporary contractors such as utility tradespeople, short-term office or shop floor cover, IT specialists, graphic designers and so on.

An umbrella company looks after the relationship between a self-employed contractor and their client (that’s you) by collecting their payment, extracting PAYE tax and national insurance, and then passing it on to the contractor. Using an umbrella company is a guarantee that everything is above board. This is especially important with long-term or regular contractors as it makes it clear that the contractor isn’t your employee for tax purposes.

Work with equals, not clones 

When hiring senior staff or management, look for passion and an ability to lead and innovate. A candidate might have a great CV showing plenty of experience as a company man, but what you need is a fellow entrepreneur. They should be closely aligned with your vision but also able to bring something new to the team. Don’t look for another you – look for a strong individual whose personality and skills will complement your existing team.

Ultimately, take your time, find the right person, and encourage them to feel like part of the family.

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