170 brilliant checklists for entrepreneurs
10 positive ways to deal with employment
Hiring someone is a big responsibility. You want to do the right thing,
but the amount of legislation you need to comply with is daunting. Here
are some things to consider to make sure you deal with the legal side of
1 Balance – remember that despite common opinion, employment law is there to pro-
tect you as well as your employees. Many doubt this, but it is true.
2 Fairness – if you are always fair, open and honest with your employees, they’ll be far
less likely to invoke the letter of employment law in a damaging way. Treat people
badly and no amount of paperwork will give you the protection you need.
3 Problem people – there are people who make a career out of making claims against
their employers. This is a particular problem in the public sector. Take references
when hiring and hopefully you’ll avoid hiring problem people.
4 Common sense – most of the legislation you will encounter does little more than
underpin common sense. Use common sense and you won’t go too far wrong.
5 Don’t discriminate – it is illegal to use any selection criteria other than ability to do
the job. In fact, shortlist with an open mind and you’ll often be pleasantly surprised
6 Delegate – you don’t have to deal with legislation yourself. Have a trusted team
member handle it for you, or outsource to a freelance HR professional.
7 Insurance – make sure you have the right insurances to protect you and your staff.
Remember that this also means their personal motor insurance if they make business
journeys in their own car.
8 Assess risk – make an objective assessment of the various risks your employees face.
Make sure you invest the most effort in protecting against the biggest risks.
9 Keep up to date – spend some time each year making sure you are still compliant.
Rules change and you want to avoid getting caught out.
10 Get help – if you find yourself with an employment law problem, get professional
help. Delay or DIY can both make the problem worse, not better.
Build a team: recruit and manage people 171
This is the agreement that exists between you as an employer and your
employees. It does not have to be in writing although ideally it will be. As
a minimum, you have to provide a written statement setting out the main
points within the first two months of employment.
There are plenty of places online where you can find sample employment
contracts. Many are complex and cover every possible eventuality. In a small
business, the contract is usually contained within the letter that offers the job.
When you take on your first employee it’s worth getting an employment
lawyer or HR specialist to write you an employment contract that meets the
needs of your business. This means it can be most specific about what’s most
important to you.
Elaine Pennell, Commercial Hub HR, www.commercial-hub.co.uk
Elaine started her business in 2007 when she realised that too many small
businesses only take HR seriously when confronted with an employment tribunal
hearing. As she explained, ‘When you get to tribunal the damage is already
done. Not only have you got a very aggrieved employee but everyone else is
probably feeling unsettled too.’
Elaine’s company provides her clients with the kind of professional HR
support they need, as and when they need it, so that they can avoid making