Why your business needs an HR Health Check

By Suzanne Gordon-Brown

While we start the year with great intentions, it’s so easy to let that ‘to do’ list grow and grow, especially when it comes to fine-tuning those essential business practices.

That’s why if you have a team of employees, it’s advisable to carry out an HR Health Check for your organisation. Think of it as a business MOT – something that you should be doing every year to benefit you, your team and ultimately your commercial operations.

What is an HR Health Check?

Put simply, an HR Health Check is an independent, impartial and disciplined review of your HR practices and procedures. Its purpose is to help you reduce risk and cost, improve performance, and demonstrate where HR can add value to your business.

An HR Health Check is a preventative measure rather than a reactive one. You don’t need to be in the middle of an HR nightmare before you carry one out – in fact an HR Heath Check may help you to avoid just that.

Just like an MOT, this process is all about ensuring your business is legally compliant (or roadworthy), that you’re addressing any concerns (making sure your brakes are working) and that you don’t leave yourself open to any potential issues (that your tyres are fully pumped up and ready to go).

What to think about when performing an HR Health Check

An HR Health Check is vital when thinking about the future of your business. It identifies areas of risks, issues that may damage employee relations or your business’ reputation.

It is also a great starting point for establishing future HR strategies and for identifying projects and priorities.

Unfortunately, HR issues and policies can feel overwhelming, but by carrying out this vital business process, you can break down those big chunks of HR information, into smaller, more digestible bites. This will help to create a bank of reliable and useable HR information and allow you to set manageable targets.

Before starting an HR Health Check, these are the main areas of consideration:

  • Staff handbook
  • HR policies and procedures
  • Recruitment and selection processes
  • Remuneration and benefits
  • Induction
  • Exit processes
  • HR personnel files

Once you have gone through these areas and carried out your HR Health Check, this will help to identify any gaps in processes, ensure consistency and allow you to update all relevant documents.

How SGB HR Services can help

At SGB HR Services, we take the stress out of those policies and procedures and help you to understand your legal obligations in easy to understand, jargon-free language.

Get in touch with us to find out how we can carry out your HR Health Check to save you time and enhance your business operations. Once we’ve carried out the relevant checks, we’ll be able to advise you on areas for improvement, areas where you’re doing just fine and how to move forward.

Your HR Health Check will improve your confidence in dealing with employee issues, make your employees feel more valued and resolve any issues in your business’ HR strategy. Contact Suzanne now on sgbhrc@gmail.com to arrange your HR Health Check.

Delegation is key in building a successful business

Once you start your business it can be a stressful time. You are responsible for everything, there is so much to think about and to do. At the end of a long working day you still have to do the bookkeeping, answer queries, marketing…the list can seem endless! Work takes over at the expense of life/ relationships / selfcare…. You push yourself to the limit and can start to suffer from burnout.

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Registering a Limited Company

Eight Points to Consider When Setting Up a Limited Company

Many new businesses decide to form a company right from the start. If you are forming a new company with share capital you will need to:

  1. Have a company name but you must check with Companies House to see if the name is available. If there an existing company with that name, then you will have to choose another one.
  2. Have a company address
  3. Decide on the share capital, who are the shareholders and how many shares each one owns. Many companies start with a share capital of £100 and have one or two shareholders. You will need to keep details of all shareholders.
  4. Do you need different classes of shares?
  5. Decide on company director(s) who are responsible for running the company. There needs to be at least one director.
  6. Have a Memorandum and Articles of Association. You can use templates that are available.

a) Memorandum – you can use a pro-forma to tell Companies House that each subscriber to the memorandum to association:

  1. Wishes to form a company under the Companies Act 2006
  2. Agrees to become a member of the company
  3. Agrees to take at least one share in the company

b) Article of Association – these set the rules that company officer must follow running their companies. Many companies use the model Articles of Association which are available online. Usually these are fine, but you may decide to tailor them for your business.

7. Keep details of the persons with significant control (PSC). This is anyone who fulfils any of these conditions:

a) owns 25% or more of the share capital or voting rights

b) can appoint or remove a majority of the board of directors

c) otherwise exercises significant influence or control

8. Decide on a Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code which best describes the company business activity. The list of SIC codes can be found on Companies House Website.

You can set up a company through Companies House yourself, but we’re here to help if you want to discuss any of these points.

Employee Remuneration

While SMEs are modest in size, they play a big role in employment and job creation. However they can face difficulties in recruiting and retaining the best people. An SME is unlikely to have a well-known brand or be able to offer a career path or a high salary. Though it can offer other benefits:

  • direct access to decision makers
  • an opportunity to make real, visible contribution
  • a company culture that ensures that employees are valued and listened to

Motivating staff

Employee motivation and engagement can make huge difference to productivity and profitability. One way to motivate staff is through increase in pay or promotion which may be difficult for SMEs.  However there are low cost benefit which could improve employee morale:

Cup of Tea / Coffee. It should be no surprise that free tea and coffee at work are an expectation. Even the taxman will allow the cost of a canteen as a business expense. While making staff pay for tea/ coffee will reduce cost it can be short sighted because it may impact staff morale.

Recognition of a job well done. The impact of a simple “thank you” is often overlooked, but can a positive result on motivation. Similarly an acknowledgement of hard work in team meetings can be effective.

Say it with flowers. A bouquet of flowers for a valuable contribution can make the recipient feel important. The business can claim it as an expense but provided it costs less than £50 it would a classed as a trivial expense and is not taxed on the employee.

Flexible working. For many employees the ability to stagger working hours can be important. Many businesses offer a start time of between 8am – 10am and a finish time of 4pm – 6pm.

Value the individual. A day off on their birthday, or paying for team meal on the day can boost morale.

Training. Support  staff in updating their skills and gaining new ones. It helps productivity and can boost staff morale. For an SME training is often seen as a cost but it needn’t be the case. An employer can offer in house training. It’s also worthwhile looking through the Skills Funding Agency website. Job relevant training is an allowable expense for tax.

Mentoring. Encourage experienced staff to act as mentors. They will gain leadership and management skills. The mentee will benefit from an increase in confidence, development of skills and improvement in communication.

These are some of the ways an SME can improve staff morale.