Do I need more HR processes?

We are a five-year old company with 90 full-time staff and no full-time HR manager. An interim HR manager came in to set up our basic HR framework four years ago which is now managed by my PA. One of my fellow directors says this is not enough, that we should get a staff handbook and regular HR audits. I think this is an unnecessary expense and waste of time. Who is right?

A. Derek Kemp of liquid HR writes:

We agree with your colleague! A lot has changed in the last four years and the changes have impacted all businesses, regardless of size. They include new entitlements to maternity, paternity and adoption leave; the right for employees to request flexible working; changes to the way in which holiday pay is accrued to mention but a few. Fall short of procedural requirements or fail to provide what is due an employee and you could face employment tribunal claims and potentially have to pay a significant sum to anyone affected.

Recent cases surrounding email and internet access abuse, stress and discrimination highlight the importance of employers defining the standards they expect of their staff and to have clearly communicated them. This can be done through employment policies or handbooks or, where employees have access to a computer, online. Yet more legislation is on the way. For small businesses, the idea put forward by your colleague seems ideal. Give your employees the information they need, not only about their rights but also about their obligations, by way of a handbook. Regular HR audits will help you keep legally compliant. You’ll find this a far more productive use of your money than fighting expensive tribunal claims that could be avoided.


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