As an owner or leader of a business, you have to wear many hats. Whilst HR is most certainly one of them, it can be tricky trying to navigate complicated employment legislation and employee issues, providing strategic HR or managing the coaching and development needs of the team.

Whilst you are unlikely to become an expert in every field, we do think it is worthwhile to understand some basic HR principles as this can help you manage risk, retain your employees, give them the opportunity to develop and contribute more and, inevitably, lead to your business’ success.

Here are five points that we wish employers knew about HR.

1. You are a business owner or leader; you are HR too

A leader or manager skilled in basic HR is a great asset to any business. Do you know the basics of employment law? Company policies? If yes, are you actively using this knowledge to help the business mitigate risk?

Do your employees know what your company policies are and have a basic understanding of them?

Do you have an office manager or administrator who has become your businesses go to for HR queries and fixes? Sound familiar?

It is worth exploring what training have you given them recently, as with all of the changes in employment legislation and government guidance, they may be feeling overwhelmed and unsure even when they are on the face of it doing an amazing job.

MAD-HR offers a training workshop specifically for those we call HR Heroes: the office manager, the PA, the partner of the business owner, the finance person, and those carrying out HR alongside another role and lacking the underpinning knowledge.

This is a four-part training course that has been designed to reflect new working arrangements and restrictions. Available online, the course can be accessed from your own place of work, wherever that may be.

2. People leave their managers, not their job

Exit interviews conducted show that, time and time again, the strongest influence on an employee leaving is the manager’s impact on the employee experience – that’s a lot of pressure!

Those same exit interviews show us that it is the small things that really matter. Many times, we have been told by employees that their manager rarely greets them, never says ‘thank you’, only talks to them when they have done something wrong, never praises their achievements, and so on…

Business owners, directors and managers are under enormous pressure and sometimes fail to pause, reflect and acknowledge. As you rush from a conference call to answering emails and thinking about your next appointment, take the time out to put down your phone and engage your team in a meaningful way. Why not schedule some time to place a call to your team, find out what is going on in their worlds, take a genuine interest? This is incredibly valuable to your team and you will all reap the benefit.

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3. You are the ambassador of recognition and rewards

Perhaps as a business you offer a rewards scheme. How often do you shout about it? Or is it the least visited page on your company intranet?

Challenge yourself to make the most of it; talk to your employees about it, share team achievements, catch people doing things well.

What if you do not have a rewards scheme? There is no time like the present to start! Even rewards as simple as a thank you email, a gift card for a coffee or lunch on you, are enough to help an employee feel valued. Plus, by recognising others’ achievements, it not only improves their morale, but it makes you feel good too.

4. You are a leader/manager 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

As HR professionals, we navigate and mediate a number of workplace concerns that can happen outside the workplace, but directly impact the business. Whether it’s the Christmas party, a few drinks after work, an off-site team building activity, what happens at these events rarely stays at the events. Having fun with your team is important, however, all the policies that dictate professional behaviour, protect against harassment and promote safety are likely to be relevant and need to be followed even when off-site.

Please celebrate and enjoy time with your team but remember to remain professional and lead by example.

5. There are times when you will need an HR professional

In our experience, every business needs effective HR support. Your people are your greatest resource; treating your employees fairly and providing them with opportunities to grow will help you achieve your ambitions and hit your business goals.

HR plays a significant role in developing positive business culture and improving employee engagement, productivity and operational efficiencies.

Do not wait until an employee comes to you raising a complaint, another team member has left during their probation, or your sickness wage bill is alarmingly high. Investing in great HR now will pay dividends, particularly when you are partnering with a champion of your business, your values and culture. A great HR consultant or business partner can be a cost effective way to get the skills and experience you need, when you need them. They will get to know your business and its ethos, demonstrate a return on investment and increase the knowledge and productivity of your employees.

At MAD-HR we can support with much more than hiring, firing and retiring, we will help your business thrive in today’s competitive marketplace. Give us a call on 01473 360160 today.