Running a small business can be great. You wear many hats and take on several roles to get the job done. One of those duties is usually human resources. You handle the hiring and employee management the best you can until you need to delegate the responsibility. That means recruiting someone, maybe even a member of your family. Or perhaps you need some specialist support in a particular field, let’s say your accountant, for example. It can feel really daunting to bring people into your business especially if they are not family members. This is due to a number of factors:

First, you have to get your head around making the step from small business to becoming a larger organization. There is in effect a responsibility on your part for other people that you may never have experienced before.

Second, there is a reluctance and concern about employing people because you enter into the realm of employment law. It is a whole new element to your business.  One that you have probably never had to consider.

Third, when bringing external people into your business, you are placing an incredible amount of trust in them. The appointment of a new employee is not only about your recruitment process, it is fundamentally about the person you actually choose. Are they honest? Do they want to help you achieve the things you plan for the business? In effect, are they going to be more trouble than they are worth to your business?  Or will they bring you an additional edge that you alone could never provide? It is undoubtedly a lottery as even the best recruitment process can only be so good.


HR Support

The answer to all of these concerns is how you continue to handle their employment on an ongoing basis.  This is executed through your Human Resources policy. Devising a policy that suits your business and your expectations, with the help of professionals can protect you and your business from future employment law claims. Providing every member of staff with a contract of employment and a set of rules around which their employment is based is not only best practice, it also makes total sense for your business. Both you and your staff understand where the boundaries and expectations lie.

Managing performance on an ongoing basis is also crucial. Writing in a probationary period into the contract helps you to check your recruitment decision and to ascertain that they’re the right person for the job. Monitoring performance on an annual or bi-annual basis allows you to establish goals for the coming months and to review how they have performed.


There are many organizations that provide HR services for small businesses that don’t need a full in house function. They will get to know your business and understand how your employees fit in. You can pick up the phone and ask them about problems which crop up and they will provide you with solutions grounded in labor law and best practice. They can offer support on health and safety matters, employee welfare as well as payroll. These services are not always as cheap as you might hope, but nevertheless they are a valuable.  It is like an insurance policy for the people agenda.

In House

Of course, as the business grows further you might become more of a corporate entity employing more and more staff.  At this stage, you might want to bring HR in house with an HR Manager to oversee the employment aspects of the business. Paying a salary to them will probably be more cost effective than using an outsourcing company when you have increased staff numbers. These specialists can manage your entire people process from recruitment through retirement, dismissal or resignation. However you bring the people agenda into your business as it grows, you must ensure that you adequately protect yourself and your employees. Do that well and you will watch your business go from strength to strength.