Note: this article was first written by our colleagues at Solve HR, before Solve HR joined Law At Work in March 2020. We have imported this...
It is startling to read how many SME's in the UK who don't have HR support. There can be many reasons for the lack of HR support, such as budget constraints. SME's mostly work on a tight budget and focus more on growth and scale of the business versus people and culture related issues. Many SME owners feel that their teams are too small and they can manage their HR activities adequately themselves. Employers are not being properly educated about the disadvantages they face because of a lack of engagement with HR. Most businesses - no matter how small - will have specialist support to manage finance, IT and operations, but, don't realise the benefit of bringing in HR when it comes to the management of their (usually) most valuable asset - their people.
Common issues we are often asked to help employers resolve: 1. Poor pre-recruitment screening, with promotion decisions based on length of service, not quality of skills, often leading to poor retention rates of the right people who become frustrated working with people in the wrong roles. 2. People are moved to new roles because they've been with the business a long time, not because they have the right skills and experience to succeed in their new role. This leads to informal conversations with no documentation used to measure performance accurately. 3. Lack of training and coaching given. 4. '"Warnings'" issued on the spot with no documentation to support decisions, and no formal procedures being followed. 5. No formal policies and procedures in place meaning there is no protection for the manager, the employee or the business. 6. Absence is not managed, documented or controlled with no return-to-work interviews in place, which often leads to unhappy employees who are picking up the workload of absent colleagues. 7. Employees unhappy with the way they are managed but feel the culture of the organisation is one that there is no-one to listen to their complaints, or no process for them to lodge a complaint. 8. No contracts of employment or job descriptions, leading to confusion over terms and conditions and job roles and responsibilities.
Having HR support in your business can mitigate these risks and many others. As you get in place contracts of employment (which are essential for you to comply with legislation) and structure your policies and procedures with clear standards for managing both good and bad performance, this helps builds engagement and trust. Well laid out HR practices, these help to remove ambiguities employees may have related to their job role in the business and can help improve employees' motivation, improve Line Managers skillset in managing people, business efficiency and reduce attrition.
There are many ways to engage with us to ensure your HR support is affordable, the argument that HR is a luxury to SME's should be revisited before you face the financial consequences of leaving it too late.