Chartered Accountants and Professional Business Advisers

Avoiding common HR pitfalls

Some organisationsdon’t get the most out of their HR resource, whether it’s an internal HR professional or the support of an HR service like the one Shipleys provides. We look at some common HR mistakes and how to rectify them.

Not aligning HR to business objectives

HR should be aligned with your business objectives, rather than be treated as an administrative or compliance function. Your people plan should be led by your business objectives and incorporate all aspects of HR, including recruitment, culture, pay and benefits, policies and procedures – all of which affect the bottom line. It’s important to involve HR in all key business decisions, not just employment regulations, as any major change can affect employees and any contracts or policies within your organisation. HR can help you with due diligence and support your business and people through change.

Disregarding employment legislation

The ‘it won’t happen to me’ mentality often catches businesses out, whether it’s because they think they know their team, or wish to cut corners. If you don’t use the correct processes and guidance you could put your business at risk of a costly employment tribunal. Seeking advice from an HR professional, either internal or external, may avoid legal action or help you resolve a situation more quickly and easily than you might imagine.

Not having the appropriate paperwork

This applies in particular to contracts of employment and policies. If you haven’t specified terms and there is no clear guidance, you could face a dispute with an employee. Potential disputes might include how much sick pay an employee is entitled to, notice periods, redundancy payments, or what procedures are in place for a disciplinary or grievance process. Clear procedures enable all parties to know where they stand, and the steps that will be taken in a given situation.

Not following your own policies and procedures

If your organisation has policies and procedures in place to protect you as an employer, it’s important to follow them at all times. If you don’t, your business could leave itself open to costly and time-consuming internal procedures, such as grievances or external challenges. This might include legal action being taken for wrongful dismissal – for example, ‘a dismissal in breach of contract’. If you don’t follow the proper procedure from

the outset it can be very resource-intensive and expensive if challenged. Regardless of the legal implications, failing to follow procedures can lead to a lack of trust and demotivation among employees, meaning they may not perform as well or even look for alternative employment

Lack of communication

People and their ideas, knowledge and goodwill are often the key ingredients of a successful business. But if you don’t keep your employees informed about successes, new initiatives and change, it can leave them demotivated, fearful of what’s to come, and start the rumour mill turning. It’s important to communicate with your employees so they’re fully bought-in to the vision of your organisation and on board with any changes.

Lack of company culture and values

What are your company values? What are you working towards? A strong culture and a well-defined and clearly communicated sense of purpose will help create unity and drive in your organisation – at every level.

Involve HR every step of the way

In summary, your HR function should essentially act as an adviser to your business to help you achieve your objectives through your people. It can help you avoid costly tribunals, ensure your people are motivated and engaged, and work with your leadership team on strategy from a people perspective. Engaging with your HR team or advisers and including them on the top table will help you get the very best out of them.

Need more help? Please contact us at advice@shipleys.com or +44 (0)20 7312 0000