But, we hear you cry, what are the key things I need to put in place once I start employing people and getting my growth plans into gear?

You’re in luck, as we have made a simple list of the five key HR compliance fundamentals for you. Read on to find out more.

1. Offer letter

Providing an offer letter to your shiny new star who you’ve found after much searching, interviewing, time and money is a crucial onboarding step that a lot of businesses often miss out.

This is the first piece of personal and official company documentation your new starter will be receiving, so ensuring it contains all the relevant information they need is vital. We’re talking start date, job title, who they will report to, working hours, salary, holiday allowance, benefits, when and where to go on their first day, and what to bring with them on day one.

Giving as much information in an offer letter as possible means less nerves for the employee on their first day, as well as absolute clarity for both parties. Also, don’t forget this is the perfect time to state any things the offer is subject to, which should include, references, medical questionnaire, right to work in the UK (see below) and of course anything else job specific like valid driving licence.

It also allows you to ask them to confirm back, by signing the letter or email (or carrier pigeon, if that’s how you roll), that they are accepting the position and all the key terms being offered. This avoids any surprises for either of you at a later date.

2. Right to work in the UK

As soon as you decide to employee people in your business you have a legal requirement to check their right to work in the UK and if you don’t this could become pretty costly, so best thing to do is to swot up on what’s what.

It can be a bit of a minefield since the changes to right to work/immigration rules for anyone who is not a UK citizen, but it’s an absolute must, and very important to get right.

New starters are no longer permitted to provide biometric residence cards or frontier work permits – the ins and outs of right to work checks have changed, and new employees must provide a share code to you, and then you need to use the Home Office online service to get the official proof of their right to work.

Employing team members from some areas outside the UK, means you may need a sponsor license now. You can make an application to the Home Office (this is subject to relevant fees) or chat to us to find out more.

3. Contracts

We know, we know… boring! Well, we did say this was all about HR compliance which can only be so exciting, no matter how hard we try.

Although often thought of as a formal and conservative document full of legal jargon, it doesn’t need to be this way. The bottom line is that a contract of employment is an agreement between two parties and sets out the terms of that agreement, so as long as the terms are fair, within the UK legal parameters, can be easily understood and protect both your employee and your business, you’re pretty much onto a winner.

And guess what, you can even write these in an informal manner and reflect your brand and tone of voice along the way.

Once you have a contract in place (we can help you write this!), this can be issued to all your staff and reviewed and amended as time goes on and things change (see point 5 below).

4. Handbook

Ok, so we know that not everyone reads their staff handbook from cover to cover like us HR geeks, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a great tool for you, your managers and your employees, to quickly and easily refer to ‘how things are done around here’.

A handbook can be as long or short as you need, but is meant as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for all your policies and procedures. It’s also one of the first pieces of company information your new starters will be given, so it’s a great place to reflect your company culture and brand – you know what they say, start as you mean to go on! Often a message from the CEO, a page about the company journey so far, adding avatars of the current team, or including a ‘perks’ page, can all be great ways to impart important information to everyone.

Of course, you probably won’t have all your policies and procedures set out from day one, but the good news is your handbook can grow and develop with your business.

5. Making variations

We love a form and a letter in HR, and good paper trails get us all giddy. It’s important once you’ve nailed points 1-4 above, that you are also ready for when things change. As we all know, in a fast-moving business environment, things change pretty much daily. Pay rises, contracted hour changes, changes to benefits, increasing holiday, changing the company name, or changing the team structure are all typical examples.

When making variations to anything previously written, whether that’s your contract, handbook, policies etc., it’s best to pop this in writing and for the employee to agree to the changes in writing too. This then supersedes anything previously agreed upon, and becomes a new term of employment.

Just be aware of the need to consult with your staff if you’re looking to update or change anything contractual, if you’re not sure what is classified as contractual, then we’re always here to ask.

Get in touch with all your HR compliance needs

Here at Streetwise HR, one of our specialisms is setting up all these compliance areas, making important documentation bespoke to your business, and supporting you with issuing it to your teams. Speak to us today on 01202 143555 to get your business where it needs to go.

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