Time flies when you’re running your own business. One minute it’s January and you’re hiring your first few team members, telling yourself you’ll align their progress with the rest of the business, and then the next, you find it’s Summer already and all your good intentions have never not quite translated into any sort of strategy ….
Very Few Startups & SMEs Allocate Time Once A Month To Focus On HR
And whilst it’s likely that you’ve kept a regular eye on your sales and finance tasks in a structured way every month, when it comes to your people, chances are that any structure has been left to happen ‘naturally’. If you’re close to the team, check in regularly as a matter of course and have spent time building relationships with them from the word ‘go’, then this is all good news as you’ve built some really strong foundations already despite no mention of the words ‘HR’. However if you’ve left all checkups and communications aside as you have your head down, there not only may there be a risk that the next “have you got a quick minute?” directed your way, might just be a complaint or – worse still – the dreaded resignation letter, you will also be missing a trick in planning and investing in your biggest asset: your team.
Our Monthly HR Checklist For Startups & SMEs
To help you structure what can sometimes seem a daunting task, we’ve created a monthly HR checklist for you, designed to make sure you keep your business and your people on track. Nothing heavy. And nothing daunting. But a few things that – if you review on a regular monthly basis – will significantly help boost your team’s productivity and your overall leadership, saving you oodles of time and hassle in the long run.
1. Step back and do a quick people overview (as you would your sales or finances): What are its strengths and weaknesses? What does your team look like this year in size, shape, roles and productivity? More importantly, what do you want them to be doing differently in the next 6 – 12 months to meet your own overall goals?
2. With 1) in mind… how you want to develop the team and what are the 1, 2 and 3 priorities you will be looking at for the coming 6 months with them?
3. Set up some simple KPIs to track in relation to your team. Basics ordinarily will include things such as headcount, salary bill, absence rates etc (which track directly to your finances), right through to those which might tell you a little bit more in the long run & will take a bit of time to start yielding the insight you’re after. In this latter category, you need to put your thinking cap on about what you want to measure (employee satisfaction, time you spend with each employee, number of new ideas/ initiatives generated by the team etc) and why it’s important.
4. Clarify to the team what the company goals are and what progress is being made towards them. Too busy for an All Hands/ Town Hall/ Company Meeting? Whilst face to face is often best in this regard, we find that the ‘little and often’ approach works best to get the message across and make people feel involved, so just make sure that there is some communication on this each month, even if via Email/ slack/ video etc
5. Get feedback from the team on how they are finding each project/ progress against the goals. Whilst there are now many different software programmes which can help do this for you in a regular and structured way, at the very least, add on a question to all at the bottom of any team wide communications that make clear that you want to hear from people or walk around the office and ask people face to face.
6. Put together a simple action plan to address any queries which arise. And forecast for the team over how their roles might change, what their risk profile is and how you can support and motivate them
7. Make the team see you as human: take them out to lunch to chat away from the office and stay connected. One former CEO I worked with liked to take afternoon tea with his team & another took each person out for lunch in their first week to find out more about them, both delightful traditions appreciated by all.
8. Review the behaviours of your current team. Look at what the qualities of the team are displaying are and what channel they joined you via. When it comes to recruiting, referrals can be a really good channel & work wonders on those KPIs. Share recognition about great performance: your team will love you for it (even if they’re a bit embarrassed initially…)
9. Take stock of what learning may be needed for individuals/ teams to support your goals. This doesn’t need to be expensive (we have heaps of ideas in a previous blog ‘Learning on a Shoestring’) but as a no.1 area for motivation as well as often being needed to adapt to a changing business, getting a clear idea on where people can develop is key.
10. Talk to the team and bounce ideas off people who don’t have a direct interest in your business to get some objective advice and open your mind to trying out new ways of doing things. But whether you’re are start up with just a couple of employees or hitting the big time and your headcount is getting into triple figures, it’s never the wrong time to focus on getting the most from your team and providing a great environment for them to thrive.
If you’re struggling however with getting the full benefits from your team and finding the time to develop your ideas, help from a switched-on HR professional could be what you need.
For help in getting (and keeping!) your business on track with it’s team please email email@example.com or call 0203 627 7048 and speak to our team. We’re always happy to help and offer a free initial review to help you understand how to make valuable changes to support your business.
TheHRhub: helping restless business owners create and manage good working relationships with their staff in a direct and pragmatic way. #employeemagic
A vision will outline your destination to all those who touch your business: your team, your customers and your investors. The poster boy for creating a vision is Steve Jobs (of course). And for good reason.
According to researcher Carmine Gallo, there’s no question that Jobs’ vision inspired Apple’s breakthrough innovations and it’s employees. Innovation requires a team and you cannot inspire a team of passionate evangelists without a compelling vision: a vision that is bold, simple, and consistently communicated.
You don’t need to be Steve Jobs to learn from his style
And you don’t need to be the size of Apple to have a vision. But you must get clear in your own mind and be able to articulate to others, the vision of your company and not just side-step it as something only ‘big’ organisations do. Your vision is your MAGIC. And it is just as important to paint the picture of the future when you are hiring your fourth team member, as it is when you are pitching to a group of investors or holding a Town Hall meeting with 200+ attendees. People want to work for leaders who give their lives meaning and sharing this with your team to inspire and motivate, gives you a unique and competitive edge.
Values are part of your vision too
They underpin ‘how’ you do business and are the essence of your culture. They summarise the characteristics which are important to you and your team and are a description of what behaviours actually take place and rewarded in your company day to day rather than those which look pretty on a website. With nearly 90% of poor hires not working out are as a result of weak cultural fit, taking time to describe how you want your team to work and what you expect from the word-go will reap rewards in terms of hiring those who are culturally aligned to your business.
Sounds a bit too wishy-washy for you?
Then take note of Michael Gerber who repeatedly found in his bestseller “The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It”, that the habit of working on the day-to-day operational problems without really taking time to come up with a vision or dream to really aim for, meant that it will typically fail. And no one wants that.
Creating meaning to people’s lives can feel overwhelming, so to help translate your vision into reality, we’ve shared this this guide below for you to break it all down to manageable chunks…
theHRhub Guide To Writing A Vision
||Write a short concise statement that describes the overall purpose of your company (beyond making money…).
It should be:
|Think of how you would like to be described by your team in the pub or what you would put on a T-Shirt (and it still be readable…).
|Long term objectives
||Choose up to 5 broad long-term (c. 3-5 years) goals which support your Mission Statement and which, if achieved, would signal success for you.
Use these to articulate your business strategy further (be it growth: either by acquisition/ external investment/ organically – through to a specific product or service or recognition within a specific area etc.).
|Make sure to include the financial as well as the non-financial.
Debate on this can trigger all sorts of ideas so involve your top team in suggesting where they think are the broader opportunities.
||Write down all those things you think are important to you: the principles, characteristics and behaviours.
Cluster them until you have a handful of words and phrases which accurately sum up what you think best represents your business, test them with your team and hey presto, you have your values!
(n.b. it can take a few rounds but don’t skimp on it!)
|Ask each of the team to think of who your most valued employees are. What is it that they bring to the ‘party’ which they rate so highly?
|Company goals (or objectives)
||What tangible, measurable things will you do over the next 6-12 months to support your long term objectives?
When do you want to achieve these by? Add in some timescales and be realistic!
|Don’t have more than 5 in any one period & start with the key areas of your company that need improving.
|Company key result areas
||Define and set out the measures for success of each company goal (be specific & make sure they are measurable improvements over time rather than ethereal and vague ones).
The key results need to show what you expect to see if you achieve your objective.
|Measurements can be in time, % improvements, binary numbers, customer accounts etc. as well as £££, however they should always include timeframes to complete which are not easy to hit but not too difficult.
For help in translating your dreams into a reality the team can get behind, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0203 627 7048 and speak to our team. We’re always happy to help and offer a free initial review to help you understand how to make valuable changes to support your business.
Image: Ben Sutherland on Flickr
Dating apps might often be considered as the modern way to find a romantic partner, but plenty of people still find love at work. According to a study by Approved Index, 65% of office workers have been involved in at least one workplace relationship during the course of their career. Something we at TheHRhub can testify to only too well to, with at least two of us going on to marry the person involved!**
And of course, it’s hardly surprising. Many of us see our coworkers much more than we see our family and friends, so it’s natural that working relationships sometimes blossom into much more.
But as the boss, relationships between your coworkers can seem like a disaster waiting to happen. With Valentine’s Day coming up, it’s a great time to think about what your approach should be, and the challenges that you should be aware of. Here’s our advice…
Accept that sometimes things just ‘Happen’
Don’t be the romance police and try and implement any kind of policy that bans romantic relationships between employees. It would be unreasonable to do so and it probably wouldn’t act as a deterrent. Possibly, if anything, you’d be doing the opposite by creating a culture of secrecy and mistrust.
Recognise that most workplace relationships have a happy ending, and in the majority of circumstances, you’re going to experience no problems whatsoever if your workers start seeing each other romantically away from the office. Your staff are likely to want to be discreet, and there’s usually no need for any intervention whatsoever on your behalf.
Nip any problems in the bud
No one wants to see canoodling by the canteen, or have to navigate their way through locked lips just to get to the kettle. And luckily, most couples will know this already, and will often do everything they can to make sure that there are no awkward moments for their colleagues and PDA’s avoided.
But if you do feel that boundaries are being crossed though, take action quickly. And discreetly. Have a word with both individuals: explain your worries, and remind them of what’s acceptable and what isn’t.
If a manager starts showing preferential treatment to a team member because of their relationship outside the office, that’s a problem. Similarly, gossip could get out of hand and create a bad atmosphere.
Take harassment claims seriously
There’s a very big difference between a consensual relationship and unwanted advances, and as an employer, you have a legal obligation to ensure that you take harassment claims seriously, and act swiftly. If you don’t already have a policy that covers exactly how you’ll handle any such matters, then it’s absolutely vital that you get that covered.
The policy should be clear and well communicated, and it’s essential that line managers have the skills, understanding, and confidence to see that it’s enforced. If a member of staff came to you today and claimed that they were being sexually harassed, would you know exactly what to do? If not, this needs to take a top spot on your to do list.
Managing and leading human beings is complex business, and we all need to recognise that we’re not dealing with robots here. Emotions and relationships and affairs of the heart might not strictly be your line of business, but when you’re running the show, they’re things that you’ll probably have to deal with at one point or another. It doesn’t have to be a drama, but it does have to be something that you’ve considered.
**Full disclosure: my husband was my boss at the time of his proposal. He popped the question two weeks after giving me notice of redundancy: I’d like to see many try and repeat that!!
TheHRhub is the ultimate online HR support service for Startups and SMEs: providing advice, support and tools straight to your mobile or tablet. It’s like having an HR director in your pocket!
Call us on 0203 627 7048 or drop us a line at email@example.com for a no-strings chat about your HR needs.
A new year brings new challenges when you’re running a business, and there are always key developments in the world of employment law that you need to be aware of, so you can ensure that your organisation is fulfilling its legal requirements. Not surprisingly, 2018 is set to be no different.
Though Brexit has offered far more questions than answers, and there are still many grey areas when it comes to exactly what the future of work might look like in the UK, there are several legislative developments that have been signed on the dotted line.
The clock’s ticking when it comes to ensuring your compliance, and we’re keen to make sure that you’ve got the knowledge, understanding, and support that you need to smoothly guide your business through the changes. Let’s take a look at three big things that you need to be prepared for this year.
- GDPR comes into force: This one is for all of you. On 25th May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect for all EU member states – and that includes the UK. Its intention is to strengthen and unify data protection provisions. Businesses must carry out internal audits and reviews to ensure compliance, and also assess any contracts with providers that handle their data processing – including payroll and recruitment. The reality of this change is that there’s an awful lot to consider, and it has the potential to place a great deal of strain on your resources. As such, businesses are being urged to pinpoint any significant risks first.
- The first gender pay gap reporting deadline: If you run a private or voluntary sector organisation with 250 or more employees, you need to publish your first gender pay gap report by 4th April 2018. For public sector employers of the same size, the deadline is 30th March 2018. The reports must be published on the company website, and also a dedicated government website. Pay data from 2016 and 2017 will be covered, and necessary figures include the differences in mean pay, median pay, mean bonus pay, and median bonus pay, between male and female employees.
- Minimum wage increases: On 1st April 2018, the national living wage for workers aged 25 and over will increase to £7.83 per hour. Furthermore, national minimum wage rates will rise to £7.38 per hour for workers aged 21 to 24, £5.90 per hour for workers aged 18 to 20, and £4.20 for workers aged 18 who are no longer of compulsory school age.
For many businesses, this will mean a review of administrative procedures to ensure that there’s a smooth transition to the higher rate for any employees who are eligible. Of course, budgeting and operational considerations will also have a place here, so employers can focus on creating a great return on their staffing investment.
As we head into February, time is running out when it comes to establishing your plan of action. If you know that there are areas in which you need to pull your socks up, it’s essential that you make your move sooner rather than later.
Need help in doing that? Get in touch today to arrange an initial no-obligation consultation. Say firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0203 627 7048 and we can provide advice and guidance on your people management issues that are at play in your business right now.
TheHRhub is the ultimate support service for startups and SMEs: providing advice, support and tools for every step of your employee journey.
A resignation – like being dumped – can often feel very personal. Particularly if the person in question has been with you for some time. Particularly if you think they are critical to your business. And particularly if you let it.
I mean, it’s sod’s law isn’t it? Just when you think everything is teed up to have a great 2018: Goals in place? Tick. Marketing lined up? Tick. Sales Pipeline trending the right way? Tick. – when someone pops their head around the door clutching an envelope and utters a few words in ‘that’ tone …”er, can we have a quick chat?’. And it’s the ones who are the most valuable to you which always hit you hardest.
Of course, not every resignation is bad news. If you are planning on going through a restructure or making redundancies and the person in question was going to be affected, then you may have just saved yourself a bit of heartache ( not to mention a few quid). But most are not wanted, downright annoying and expensive too.
With an average employee in the professional sector costing up to £30k to replace , the best way to ensure that you handle this well, is to prioritise keeping your team as you would your clients. And plan for it by doing some of the following:
- At budgeting time, include staff turnover in your forecasting figures and set targets for turnover. The UK average is approximately 15% but this rises to closer to 20% in the digital sectors. You do need to keep new ideas flowing within the business and adapt to your changing model, so not all turnover is bad and it’s likely that you will want to see some movement to avoid becoming complacent, but set targets for this which you can check progress against. It’ll be less of a surprise.
- Identify your ‘keepers’. The people which, if you lost, you would be stuffed. And then plan how you are going to to show them the love. To support them in what they want out of the business. Too many business leaders don’t take the time to speak to their teams on a 1-2-1 regular basis to uncover what it is that their people want and show support by their actions. Oh, for the times when I’ve seen an account manager hauled over the coals after a devastating client loss. “When did you last meet with them?” is often one of the first things their manager will ask after the bombshell has been dropped.” How did they seem? Were they unhappy? Did they say anything which gave you a clue?….”
- Take the time to get to know your team. To know what they want out of life on a wider level than just what they are doing at work. I know it’ll come as a shock to many, but most people don’t simply dream of doing better at work! So find out what possibilities lie for people within the confines of the business and how they can help them get to where they want to be.
And I’m not saying it’s easy by any stretch. It’s a hell of a commitment to meet with your team each week/ fortnight/ build a relationship/ keep it going through the good and the tough times. But people are less likely to leave a place where they feel valued and listened to than anywhere else. And even if you can’t keep them, the chances are that they will feel more comfortable giving you a heads up that they may be off, allowing you a bit more time to plan and handover.
But back to that resignation. In practical and immediate terms, you have a few options:
- You can take it very personally, considering it a personal slight that someone would not want to work from you and act out in that manner. One boss I know didn’t speak to their team member for their ENTIRE notice period, leaving him to work in an isolated office away from the rest of the business such was the disgust they felt at their team member leaving them. Their maturity wasn’t lost on the entire company…
- Or ( a popular option) you can launch into telling them all the reasons why this is all wrong for them and that if they stayed for another £5/ £15k/ £25k then you will be able to fix whatever it is they are concerned about. One business I know spent more money on retention bonuses for those who had resigned in a particular year than they did on the entire bonus pot for existing employees who had delivered for them that year. The‘retained’ employees in this instance lasted on average another 3-6 months before bailing out for real, leaving a red faced boss and disgruntled colleagues who had found out all about the separate arrangement…
- Or you can listen to what they are saying. And then really listen. And learn from it. On the odd occasion I have seen someone ‘bought back’ by their business when they’ve resigned, it’s been because the relationship and loyalty was there already, they’d just let things get stale. The drama of resigning was enough to wake both parties up to see that there were other ways for the team member to grow and they’re very happy.
Option 3 doesn’t always mean they stay and you may well still have to say goodbye to someone you would rather not. But at least by taking the time out to find out what is really going on, you will truly understand why your business is not right for the person standing in front of you. But why it may be for another time. Ah yes, Boomerang employees. Now there’s another post….