· 3 min read · Features

How to manage human resources in a small organisation

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Many small business owners can not justify a dedicated HR resource. As a result they manage their business obligations internally. These obligations can include anything from writing a new contract to tackling health and safety issues. For bosses to maintain a competitive business, it is vital that they not only understand these obligations but also know how to manage them efficiently.

The business environment today is more competitive than ever, so having a dedicated workforce is an invaluable asset to any business.  Powwownow is a growing business and our success wouldn't be possible if I didn't have the right people on board.

Getting the right team in place starts with the recruitment process - you have to ensure you really understand the role that you have to fill and the type person both you and your team can work with. By getting this right, you will ensure the team gels so they work hard for themselves and for each other.

Once you have made your selection, spend time getting to know them and let them get to know you too. Find out what makes them tick and learn how to work with them to get the best results. Give them the leadership that they require, set them achievable goals and back all of that up with great motivation and training; thus giving them all the tools they need to make their own contribution to the success of the business.

As a boss, you set the strategy for the business and work with your teams to deliver on this strategy whilst constantly keeping an eye on the bottom line. Complying with employment obligations on top of all that can sometimes just feel like an added job to do on the list.

It is not surprising when it comes to managing obligations - whether it's calculating an employee's maternity leave or providing them with a work contract - some bosses believe they need to draw in external help. Some will say that employment obligations are complicated and some may say they don't have the time to manage them themselves. But I want to tell other business bosses that it can be much simpler than you think and by taking control of your obligations personally, you could not only save time and money but also ensure you are much more in control and confident in running your business day-to-day.

There is plenty of free advice available on how to deal with any situation that arises from all your employment obligations - it is readily available and it can come from a number of sources. One area I have found for great advice is knowledge sharing with other entrepreneurs and small business owners - there are clubs throughout the UK for entrepreneurs, and by joining these you can speak with other like-minded individuals that can give you the confidence that you are doing the right thing.

More specifically, when you are starting up a new business, you may also wish to get free advice from the major banks. The Managers are trained to help you through the early stages of business start ups and who knows, they might also lend you some money.

Many small business owners need to overcome any negative preconceptions they may hold over the value of free advice - some people wrongly believe that just because it is free, that it is not worth anything. They think that the best advice is paid-for advice.  In fact, the best piece of business advice I received was indeed free - I was at a networking event where I met a brand expert who gave me some invaluable insight into my business idea. This resulted in me taking a simple action which directly led to a huge boost in company turnover and profitability.

I am always amazed by how many small business owners pay for external consultants to help them manage their business obligations. A survey by the Department for Business (BERR) found that 100,000 small businesses in the UK are spending a combined £100 million a year on advice that they might otherwise be able to get for free.

There is a real opportunity for small business owners to find everything they need to manage their business on the internet and it doesn't take long to source. The best place to start is looking at www.businesslink.gov.uk/employingpeople where the government has placed free online tools, advice and resources to help you manage all aspects of your employment and HR obligations.
In my business, I sadly had to make the decision to make someone redundant. I could have paid huge amounts to someone to help me do this but actually I found everything I needed on the Business Link website. By managing the process myself and by being knowledgeable and confident about my obligations and the process involved, I was able to make it as painless as possible for me and as painless as possible for the employee in what is often a very difficult situation for both parties.

As a small business owner, you often have to perform a number of different roles and just one of these is performing the role of your own internal HR team. Thankfully, this is much simpler than you may think.

Andrew Pearce, CEO of PowWowNow