Employee contract: One of the most popular questions I get asked (about 3 times a week) is do I have to issue a contract of employment?
Well that’s an easy one to answer, that answer is you do have to issue a ‘Statement of Particulars’ within 2 months of someone starting employment with you. That usually takes the form of an employee contract to us lay-folk. It doesn’t have to be in writing but everything is better written down and signed by both parties – trust me. But all that is changing in April 2020 when the Government’s ‘Good Work Plan’ comes into effect and from then on you will have to give all employees a contract on their first day of work.
Surely it’s better for me if I don’t issue one?
The answer is NO it is not better at all. It’s breaking the law for a start and that’s never good is it? At the moment you have 2 months to do it but from next year you don’t so get into good habits now and start issuing them as soon as.
What then should be in an employee contract I hear you ask?
Here is the minimum list, as set out by those wise folks at ACAS
The employee contract can be made up of more than one document (if the employer gives employees different sections of their statement at different times). If this does happen, one of the documents (called the ‘principal statement’) must include at least:
the business’s name
the employee’s name, job title or a description of work and start date
if a previous job counts towards a period of continuous employment, the date the period started
how much and how often an employee will get paid
hours of work (and if employees will have to work Sundays, nights or overtime
holiday entitlement (and if that includes public holidays)
where an employee will be working and whether they might have to relocate
if an employee works in different places, where these will be and what the employer’s address is
As well as the principal statement, a written statement must also contain information about:
how long a temporary job is expected to last
the end date of a fixed-term contract
who to go to with a grievance
how to complain about how a grievance is handled
how to complain about a disciplinary or dismissal decision
The written statement doesn’t need to cover the following (but it must say where the information can be found) – I usually put these in an appendix at the back:
sick pay and procedures
disciplinary and dismissal procedures
Fear not, we here at CrosseHR can draft contract for you that is easy, suits your business, legally compliant and keeps everyone happy.
Next month it’s time to think about holidays, which coincidentally is the theme of my next blog.
Growing your business inevitably means a bigger workforce. And with more people comes more lines of communication and added complexity. To operate effectively as you scale, it’s necessary to introduce technology, culture and advanced management processes underpinned by solid HR support.
But how do you scale HR? We outline the key HR changes you need to grow your business effectively and efficiently while reducing complexity
Don’t Cross Your Lines of Communication
Running a business with up to twelve employees is fairly straight forward. With a manageable number of personalities, demands and people to communicate with, your HR practices will tend to ensure you’re meeting your legal obligations.
When you reach 13 to 50 people, the situation changes. You’re in what Dan Priestley terms “the desert”: you’re too big to be small and too small to be big. Communication lines increase significantly with each additional person you bring in making it more difficult to convey messages, make decisions and complete work.
The solution? You need to start adapting your culture and communications to set your business up for even more successful and painless growth. Doing this requires a more strategic approach to HR.
Managing Culture From a Distance
As your business reaches the magic tipping point of 13 employees, it’s time to accept you can’t control everything in the same way that you used to. To counteract this, you need to start setting overarching guidelines not just about what you do but about how you do business.
Being clear on the values and behaviours that are important to your business will help you:
Help you recruit an authentic, strong team who are a good fit for the business
Identify which employees, both leaders and less senior staff, will further your business growth and those who won’t
Making difficult decisions are just one of the growing pains associated with business expansion. And having a HR resource available to help you deal with them legally and fairly is critical to maintaining employee engagement.
Recruiting and Retaining the Right People
When business growth is one of your main objectives, recruitment and retention are a key part of the plan. Making an occasional job offer for a particular role is one thing; hiring larger numbers of the best talent to accomplish your growth goals is quite different.
In a fierce labour market, your competitors are vying for your ideal candidate’s attention. To stand out you need to ensure you have a:
clear employer brand and value proposition – one that clarifies who you are as a business and makes you stand out to employees for the right reasons
competitive compensation and benefits to attract and retain staff
slick hiring and onboarding practices that create a great first impression and reduce turnover in the first three months
a clear organisational structure with job roles, reporting lines and career paths so candidates and employees can see a future with your organisation
By getting people through the door effectively and keeping them happy, you’ll retain valuable knowledge and experience, enable the business growth and save time and money by only having to hire once for a role.
Easing the Administrative Burden With HR Technology
With every new hire comes a pile of additional paperwork. Doing everything manually will soon become unmanageable. Which is why it’s so important to get sound administrative practices and the right tools in place.
Replace Excel spreadsheet with HR technology to help you manage everything from holidays and pay to emergency contacts and expenses more easily. A HR database that captures and manages all your people information and is compliant with the GDPR is a critical step.
Look for technology that enables you to keep on top of your people costs with speedy analysis and reporting. Want to know whether your employees’ productivity is keeping pace with your growth plans? Or understand how many people are leaving and at what rate? Or the cost of your benefits? HR technology can deliver this for you.
Build Your Team
Any growing business that doesn’t have sufficient HR support in place will invariably reach a point where it becomes overloaded and fails to grow. Or stumbles over employment law and finds itself in a sticky situation.
Working with an external HR consultant and getting HR support will enable your business to scale while minimising risk and controlling costs. With solid HR processes in place and a developing culture, your business can grow from strength to strength. All supported by a happy, engaged workforce who build your reputation as a great firm to do business with.