HR Basics For Startup Owners

As a human resources professional, I’m often asked the same question by startup owners. What do I need to concentrate on in the early stages of my business? So, I thought I would draw together some of the basics for you here today. This isn’t an exhaustive list, of course. But, it will help you lay out the foundations for a robust approach to HR right from the start for your fledgling company. Here are a few things you need to cover.


Contracts and employees

First of all, it’s important to arrange all your contract documents – particularly for hiring staff. You’ll need things like an offer letter, an outline of duties, and an employee handbook. If your work is of a sensitive nature, you’ll also need to think about confidentiality agreements. Finally, many startups get past the fact they can’t pay their employees a lot by offering share options. So, make sure you thrash out these details before hiring anyone. You can outsource to an HR company – more on that later – or speak to your business lawyer to get help.

Hiring – and firing

HR is an excellent tool for your hiring processes. It gives you the opportunity to create an outline of your expectations. And, it also helps you develop a proper strategy for recruitment and retention. Employees are a capital investment these days – not just people to fill a role. Every step of the process – from hiring to promotion, and retention to firing – should be geared towards developing your team.

Health and safety

As soon as you start hiring employees, you are responsible for their health and safety. It is vital that you get a sound policy in place right from the beginning so that you have guidelines to follow. A large part of this is assessing your workplace and ensuring you are ticking all the right boxes. You will need to make checks yourself, offer H&S training, and you can also ensure that you have the right cover by arranging puwer inspections. These will help you make sure that all your equipment is safe to use, and may cover you if there is an accident in the workplace.


Because of their fragile financial position, many new startups just cannot afford to invest in HR professionals. However, there is an alternative – outsourcing. This is when you pass on those HR tasks to a professional third party, who will use their expertise to make sure you are taking the right steps. The best way to outsource is to know what you want from the company. So, develop a plan, and pay them to do a quicker job than you can!

Company culture

Although HR is correctly thought of as a robust protection for businesses, it also helps you outline what sort of company you are. It will put all your values down on paper, and people will get an instant impression of what you are about. So, it’s an advert for your business, to attract talent to come and work for you. And, once those policies and ideas are in place, it’s up to you to make sure you fulfill your side of the bargain.

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