Ensuring your business is legally HR compliant 

HomeWork’s interview with David Hudson

Having the right HR support for you and your business is essential to ensure you are legally compliant. Many founders consider HR management as an afterthought when first starting out, but setting your business up with the correct processes and procedures will make your hiring and training process smoother, and ensure you’re fulfilling statutory obligations. 

We sat down with David, Managing Director of The HR Dept, to hear how they help startups and SMEs with some of their HR challenges, and what is essential for any founder when starting on their business journey. 

What are the challenges facing businesses today?

At the moment, one of the biggest challenges businesses are facing is sourcing and retaining talent. People aren’t moving in the market due to uncertainty around the cost of living which means finding the right talent is harder. A lack of investment in development such as management training means people aren’t getting what they want most, which is development in their roles.

More often than not, especially in startups, investment in training and development is put on the back burner as it takes time and investment away from business growth. However, if you’re hiring your first employees to begin your growth journey, you need to recruit hires that grow simultaneously with your business. Putting the appropriate development plan in place for them is essential because it keeps them engaged in your business, which is one of the top ways of retaining your talent.

Local clients are experiencing that we are in a more litigious environment.  Businesses are more at risk of claims without the right policies or procedures in place. This is where having the right HR infrastructure is integral to protecting your business.  Many small businesses can’t afford to take on a dedicated HR person, which is where the services we provide as an outsourced HR provider fits perfectly because businesses have peace of mind that they are covered by professional support whilst only paying for what they need.

What would you say to someone starting in business? 

My main piece of advice is to go into it with your eyes wide open. It’ll be extremely tough and you need bags of resilience and a willingness to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Most importantly, look after yourself, it will take everything you’ve got to make your business a success. 

“Hire people that will grow with you as your business grows, that way you know you have a reliable and dedicated team who want to make the business a success.”

Set yourself up in the right way at the start, make sure you have up to date employment contracts and policies in place and have access to a professionally qualified HR manager or services. This will make sure your employees are looked after, and you are legally protected. 

Why is it essential for small businesses to have the right HR support in place?

Most importantly, you need to make sure you’re legally compliant. This starts with  ensuring your team has the right to work in the UK through to fulfilling basic statutory obligations such as contracts, holiday and sick pay for example. Having a good HR infrastructure set up at the start means you’ll have the opportunity to focus on things like culture and ensuring you’re treating your team in the right way. 

Some businesses when they’re first starting out neglect the HR processes within business which can have repercussions later on. Think of it this way, when you’re first starting out you would take on an accountant right at the beginning because they’re professionally qualified, the same mindset should apply to HR. You should trust a professionally qualified HR representative because there are legal obligations that you need to comply with in any business. 

We find that HR support is much broader than just legal compliance.  We get involved in everything as a business grows, from recruitment, training, strategy coaching, mentorship, and in startups and small businesses, we are often  a sounding board for business owners who need someone to listen to them in a confidential setting.

How can HR support impact the culture of a business? 

I often work with business owners to help them form their view of what the culture of their company is, and understand what they want their business to say about them and their staff. 

Shaping your recruitment process is fundamental to shaping the culture of the business to ensure you’re finding the right people for the business. Putting in place the right policies that reinforce cultural expectations coupled with appropriate rewards and recognition will help to communicate your culture to your employees.

What’s the difference between outsourced HR and in house HR? What are the benefits for smaller businesses? 

The HR Dept offers the same services you’d expect from an in-house HR team, from junior level operations support to HR Director, board level support. The benefit for smaller businesses when outsourcing HR is the access they get to highly qualified HR professionals at a fraction of the cost. 

Many outsourced HR companies are effectively call centres,  locking you into long contracts and rarely tailor their support to the individual. At The HR Dept we focus only on local businesses, and have amazing clients such as HomeWork! Our first priority is to get to know you, your business and your team so we can adjust our offering to meet your needs as opposed to a generic package. 

Why should HomeWork clients use The HR Dept? 

One of the benefits of working with us is that we grow with you as a  business. We work with both start ups and organisations with up to 150 employees and offer multiple services including recruitment, training and coaching. Our service in particular is underwritten by employment tribunal insurance, which is unique in the market. 

I’m so proud to have HomeWork as one of my clients. I love working with Claire and the team, and feel that I’ve been a small part of the successful growth of HomeWork so far. 

Why are you an advocate of flexible workspaces? 

I’m definitely an advocate of flexible workspaces but I’ve also come to learn that not all workspaces are equal in their offering. Having experienced a lot of workspaces, cafes and previously employed in a business centre organisation, I understand the need for people to work flexibly and collaborate.

My main requirements from a flexible workspace are a friendly service, great coffee, the essential facilities, and like-minded professionals. HomeWork is genuinely the only workspace where all of those things come together so well. I frequently factor in going to HomeWork at least once a week, rather than working nomadically between coffee shops. Their model is unique and perfect for me and my business because I align strongly with their brand. 

How are you helping our business club members? 

We’re offering free, confidential consultations for all Business Club members, and a free HR audit. For Club members exclusively, we’re offering the first month of HR advice free if you sign up and an advice line service; this includes all employment law or other employment documentation and tribunal insurance, giving you peace of mind that you’re covered for all of your HR needs. 

As I said, I’m regularly at one of the HomeWork sites and attend a lot of their networking events, so I can be available for in person ad hoc support if you want to grab a coffee!

If you’re a HomeWork member and a member of the Business Club and would like to book in a 30 minute free consultation with David, please contact Abbie or Zara.