Small Business HR Tips - What Every Founder Needs to Know

Photograph of Jenefer Livings, Founder of Silk Helix Ltd
9 February 2023
LinkedIn TikTok Facebook

There is a lot to think about when starting a business. When you’re building a team, getting your HR processes right is crucial. Whilst there are many other priorities in sales, marketing, getting investment, focusing on some core areas of HR will ensure you have an effective team who can deliver on the other priorities. From hiring, to training and onboarding, here are the essential tips for founders who want to set their teams up for success.

Set Clear Expectations: Starting With Hiring

When you build a team, it’s important to set clear expectations from the start. This should include a clear job description setting out the role and responsibilities. Be clear about expected hours, pay, holiday and other benefits. Understand the culture you’re creating and communicate it right from the job advert. Be honest, this may put people off and that’s ok, those people are not right for your business - know who you want and how to attract them.

Having these discussions early on can provide clarity for everyone involved and can help avoid any misunderstanding down the line.

Develop a Comprehensive Employee Handbook

A comprehensive Employee Handbook is essential for any business, it helps to create the clarity described above by setting out rights and responsibilities. It should include information about holiday, sickness and other rights to time off as well as workplace bullying, discrimination and appropriate work behaviour. What is appropriate in one organisation isn’t necessarily appropriate in another, setting out your expectations is key.

An Employee Handbook is a great way to ensure that everyone in your organisation understands the rules from the start and should sit alongside an employment contract. Together these documents will help to protect your business.

Effectively Onboard New Employees

Onboarding is more important than many realise, with poor onboarding processes having long term effects on motivation, performance and the length of time employees remain with you. Make a plan, consider everything your new starter needs to know, including about the company, their work, the tools available and their environment.

If people are coming onto site on day one, don’t underestimate the importance of pointing out where the toilets are and making them a coffee!

Ensure your plan includes meeting relevant colleagues and training sessions needed to understand your organisation as well as their role. This is even more important when doing remote inductions to help people build effective relationships.

Focus on Training and Development

A good quality training and development program ensures that your team have the required industry knowledge, soft skills and technical proficiency to be successful. Personalised training plans should be drawn up from day 1 and reviewed regularly to ensure people continue to develop the skills required in a changing world.

It is important to remember management and leadership skills for any managers you employ. Your managers matter, their leadership style will impact job satisfaction, performance and motivation.

Investing in your people development will result in improvements in productivity.

Lead by Example and Promote a Positive Work Environment

As a founder you set the example, it is your role to promote a positive workplace environment and to empower managers you employ to do the same. An optimistic, authentic and friendly attitude towards employees will show them that they are respected and valued in the workplace, all known to support productivity.

Being friendly doesn’t mean no boundaries, we’ve seen that interpretation and the harm it does to business. Even small businesses need boundaries, hence the importance of an Employee Handbook and Contracts of Employment. The boundaries should be based on what the organisation really needs, the values of the organisation and considering the needs of the people you employ and treating them with respect. Too draconian and you’ll lose the flexibility you need as a small business, no rules and you’ll lose the respect of your employees.


There are many gimmicks and HR initiatives talked about and it can be easy to think you need to follow all the trends. The problem with these trends is that without solid foundations they’re worthless. As a founder, you need solid foundations that bring you benefits and you need to avoid the time wasting HR for HR sake stuff. Do just these 5 things and you will have those solid foundations.

Keep up to date with our weekly hints, tips and news.
Sign up to the
Silk Helix
Your email address will only ever be used to send you HR hints, tips and news from Silk Helix Ltd. Don't worry, you can unsubscribe at any time.
Silk Helix

Products and Services

Unlimited advice and support, when you need it
Employment Contracts and Employee Handbook
On-site and digital courses
Our fully outsourced HR department for small business

Experts in HR for Small Business

Silk Helix take the stress out of managing your people. Contact us for a free consultation today.

Not found the answer you need?
Don’t waste any more time Googling. Book a call with a qualified advisor. We’ll answer your question, no obligation.
Book a Free Advice Call