There’s nothing more exciting than a new year is there? That feeling of wiping the slate clean. The anticipation of what you might achieve, or what you might become. The promise that, this year, everything could be different; you will actually stick to those New Year’s resolutions. This will be the year.
Business experts tell you that, to make something actually happen, you must have a plan. You must have written-down SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound) goals. If you don’t, then chances are, no matter what you tell yourself that you’re going to achieve during the following year, you’ll fall short. Towards the end of the year, or at the start of a new one, is usually the time when businesses make that plan, kind of like a business version of the New Year’s resolution.
Interestingly, however, businesses often forget that their people are the ones that actually ‘do-the-do’, so they’re the deciding factor as to whether the annual goals are met or not. In reality, a business’s people are its greatest asset, so if they’re going to remain productive and engaged, they need a plan too.
For a business to successfully grow, it has to have strong foundations in place that can weather the inevitable change in dynamics that the growth will bring. From a people point of view, this means getting the basics in place. With growth comes more employees and with more employees usually come more issues. If you’re an SME owner who’s relatively new to having employees, or who has to-date opted for a more reactive approach to people management, it’s therefore important that you define a plan to get everything HR-related in place. This means that you’ll be in the best position to respond to any issues that may crop up.
If you have nothing HR-focussed, where on earth do you start? What should this plan look like? Well, this falls into two camps:
- Short Term: Getting the basics in place
- Longer Term: Looking to the future
- Getting the basics in place
From a legal point of view, if you have employees, there are certain things that you must have in place:
- Each employee must be given a written statement of terms and conditions of employment within the first 8 weeks of their employment;
- A written Disciplinary procedure;
- A written Grievance procedure;
- A Health and Safety policy (if you employ more than 5 people).
You should also make sure that you:
- Carry out appropriate checks to make sure that employees have the legal right to work in the UK;
- Have auto-enrolled all eligible job holders into a qualifying workplace pension scheme and are making employer contributions, if your business has reached its pension auto-enrolment staging date;
- Are paying the national minimum or national living wage.
These are the absolute must-haves, but there are of course lots of other things that you should consider short-term. One way to determine what your HR priorities are is to have an HR Health-check done. This is where everything HR-related that you have in place (or not as the case may be) is reviewed, then recommendations as to what you need to implement moving forward are made. These are then prioritised based on the must-haves (what we’ve outlined above) and your wider business goals. Some of the recommendations that may come out of an HR Health-check from a short-term point of view are:
- To put a system in place (such as PointSolutions’ SharePoint HR Management System. The Core element (Employee Records Management) will enable you to securely hold and easily access and update employee information;
- Putting additional HR policies and procedures in place so that you have clearly defined boundaries as a business. These should be stored so that they can be accessed by everyone. The Employee Document Management and Policies & Procedures Management functionality of PointSolution’s SharePoint based HRMS is ideally placed to support this;
- Creating job descriptions, individual goals and Personal Development Plans (PDPs) so that people know what they should be doing, what they’re working towards and how they may upskill;
- Starting to build up a picture of your workforce (using (for example) PointSolutions’ SharePoint Absenteeism Management and Disciplinary and Grievance Management modules) so that this can be used to help you to plan for the future.
- Looking to the future
Once you’ve covered off getting the basics in place, the next thing to do is to get a proper people plan in place to support any planned growth. You can do this by breaking down each element of your overall business strategy for the year and considering what you need to do from a people perspective to meet these goals.
As an example, let’s look at the scenario of one of the goals within your wider business strategy being to increase your revenue by 50% on the previous year. What work-streams would your people plan need to include to make sure that you achieve this?
- To determine whether you can achieve the increase in revenue with your current workforce, or whether you may need to increase headcount, complete a resource / succession planning exercise. This can be supported by PointSolution’s SharePoint HRMS’s Organisation Charting Module and will enable you to see what changes you will need to make to your workforce to achieve this. The picture of your workforce that you have been building from the start will now come into its own by giving you the facts you need to complete this exercise;
- If you decide that you do need to expand headcount to achieve the revenue increase, you need to make sure that you’re attracting the right people to work for you. You can do this by undertaking a process of really defining your Employer Brand (what it means to work for your organisation). This means that, when you’re recruiting, you attract the right people to work for you, those with whom your business’ values, personality and culture naturally fit;
- Making sure that your selection process is fit for purpose – that it’s non-discriminatory and measurable and (in part) competency-based;
- Completing a recruitment drive, followed by a period of effective onboarding and intense induction, so that your new recruits get up to scratch as quickly as possible. This entire process can be supported and enhanced through the use of PointSolution’s SharePoint HRMS’s integrated ATS and Onboarding modules.
So, if you’re serious about growing your business, firstly move on from the reactive approach to managing your people by getting the basics in place. Then concentrate on aligning a clear people plan to your overall business plan. Finally, have a think about how a good HR system, with various seamless modules, can facilitate this growth.