As MD of CrosseHR I work with a lot of micro businesses, start-ups and SME’s who are starting out or moving on in their journey. I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks along the way and some issues and problems that every one of them go through on their journey which I will share with you over the next few months.
Almost of all the start-ups and small businesses tell me very early on that they do not want systems and processes, that rules and regulations (especially the HR kind) won’t work for their company, their staff are committed, loyal and do not need the stifling formalities they have all gotten away from, so thanks but no thanks I don’t need you and your rules. That is until they do! And that my friends usually happens when the magic number of 10 employees hits 11. Sometimes that shift happens when they move from 5 employees to 6. Strange but true and its very consistent. Something in the dynamics shift when businesses start moving away from hiring friends and family and dip their toes into the general work pool. Either the new employee doesn’t fit in or a nose or two from the existing workforce gets put out of joint, but whatever it is, it’s real and it happens and I get the call. The general issues that crop up which I will blog about over the next few months tend to be around contracts – yes you have to start issuing them even if you relied on a handshake before. You have got to get your holidays right and formalised and lolling around on cushions drinking beer could get you into all sorts of trouble if it gets out of hand.
Jocular, jokey cultures are great until someone gets offended that you never meant to and how the hell do you get someone to work who is determined they will get paid but do nothing for it. Your trusty loyal friend, brother, sister, cousin who you trust with your life might not have the right skill set to move onto the next stage with you and your investors think so too. And things go missing and the accounts are not quite right – they can’t be stealing surely. The staff are asking for appraisals, a system to record holidays, complaining that so and so works from home and is never in, and Jane happily tells you she is having a baby and won’t be in for a year- you are pleased for her you really are and panicking at the same time. Ben showed up for a day and hasn’t been seen since and Mo has been signed off sick and that contract you didn’t issue on time or at all, doesn’t mention a thing about sick pay. Oh and Emily has told Peter to eff off in front of a client and has put in a grievance. The lawyers have quoted you £250 to £500 an hour – that’s right an hour to sort it all out, who can afford that when you are barely affording your lunch to keep this show on the road.
All real issues that affect all real companies and the demon you never thought would enter your realm to your perfect nirvana, has blasted down your door. That HR nonsense you never thought you needed, that company you never wanted to become has suddenly happened, you just want this all to go away and get back to normal. “Now, where did I leave that number of that HR company or did I delete that pesky newsletter I never read but they still send me…”