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HR checklist for startups: 4 steps to set up your team for success

“HR is vital for my business, but I’m not sure I’m doing it right.” The thought has admittedly crossed your mind several times, and it’s no wonder why.

You know reliable policies and a fulfilled team are key for your startup or small business, but you’re sometimes clutching at straws when it comes to human resources.

What we learned at Charlie over the years is that the future of your business ultimately relies on attracting, retaining, and nurturing your top talent.

However, getting it right is harder for startups and small businesses with limited time and resources at hand. To help you, here’s a simple checklist covering all the basics to set up your team for success.

Feel free to download it now, but if you don’t want to be left with a pen in one hand and unticked boxes in the other, read on to put it into practice.

1. Make sure your startup complies with UK employment law

Check your employment contracts are up to scratch

In a startup’s early stages, it’s easy to believe a contract template downloaded off the internet will do the trick, but what about legal loopholes?

An employment contract shows the start date, job title, employee compensation, intellectual property, confidentiality, and termination of employment, so it needs to be on point.

Drafting employment agreements with a dedicated HR professional can give you peace of mind that you’re protected against potential legal action and that your employees have all the information on hand.

Ensure you startup has company policies in place

You’ll need more than just employment contracts to tick off all the compliance boxes in your HR checklist.

Detailed HR policies are mandatory to avoid breaching the law and putting your business at risk of suffering a consequential financial loss.

These are the three compulsory policies your startup must have:

As important as the policies are, it would be naive to expect your team to read them thoroughly if you hand them over in a lengthy PDF or a big binder folder.

You can instead let your team virtually flip through a bespoke employee handbook in CharlieHR’s software, accessible at any time with a clear design and a comprehensible structure.

Handbook for HR Checklist for Startups CharlieHR

Maybe also have a look at the rest of our HR policies including mental health or parental leave (they might be useful!).

Collect new starters’ data on their first week

Your HR checklist for startups comes in handy when a new starter joins to collect the following information:

  • Address
  • Next of kin
  • Contact Details
  • Passport or another form of identification
  • New starter form
  • P45
  • Bank details

Every new hire needs to know they’re in good hands, and a delay in getting information could have a negative impact, such as putting them on an emergency tax code.

As part of the Right to Work documentation checks, your new starter has to give a copy of their passport (or another form of identification).

They also have to forward a P45 from their previous employer and fill in a new starter form.

Last compliance boxes to tick on your HR checklist for startups

Our HR checklist for new business also highlights details that can sometimes be overlooked, but they matter more than you think:

  • An employer’s liability insurance is compulsory (unless you want to face a huge fine). It acts as a safeguard if one of your employees falls ill or has an accident in the context of work.
  • A pension scheme means employers have to contribute to employee’s pensions. Make sure you enroll your team members into a workplace pension under the 2008 Pensions act.

HR processes and compliance are important, but you’ll need way more on your HR plan, so let’s dive into it.

2. Give a seamless experience to your people without all the paperwork

Swiftly onboard new hires without endless email chains

If you’ve had a look at the compliance checklist, you know by now that there’s a lot to go through, but you only get one shot at a good first impression.

You’re in for long email threads where information could be lost or compromised, not to mention the chasers you’ll have to send so it’s done on time.

That’s where you may consider using an HRIS software like Charlie that allows you to send a one-click invitation to your new starter’s inbox on their very first day.

They create an account and go through the self-service onboarding process to upload their documentation and fill in their details.

HR checklist for startup self-service flow CharlieHR

You'll make a good impression and save yourself a good chunk of time by streamlining the process for every new hire with HR automation.

Get rid of spreadsheets and safely store your documentation

A contract you can’t put your hands on or a spreadsheet with an incorrect formula can waste a lot of your time.

The more new hires you get, the bigger the problem becomes, so perhaps you should consider getting an HR system like CharlieHR to securely store everything in one place by being ISO 27001 certified as well as fully GDPR compliant.

HR checklist for startups - documentation CharlieHR software

You can also manage your team’s time off with Charlie’s Time Off feature, as well as check who’s away, when, and why with our calendar.

Take our HR software for a spin by starting a free trial here.


3. Put your team’s progression and wellbeing at the heart of what you do

Help your team grow with new skills and challenges

Remember: an HR checklist is not enough to guarantee your team and your company can grow together.

We now know that aspirations about work have changed. People are not in it for job security and a monthly paychecy. They want to thrive on a personal and professional level.

They want to be confident that their company will help them learn new skills and challenge them.

That’s why keeping in touch with your team members is essential, but it can be a slippery slope for a small business or startup.

A performance reviews tool might be useful to run regular assessments and roll them out in one go.

HR Checklist for Startups - Performance Reviews CharlieHR software

Team members are never left feeling stranded when they know their managers have plans in the pipeline for continuous performance management.

You can also have a look at our career progression framework to keep your team in for the long haul and perhaps speak to an HR expert to implement it.

Show you care by listening to what your people have to say

There’s nothing more valuable than being heard, and your team needs to know that their opinions don’t fall on deaf ears, especially when it comes to well-being, remote working, and even social events.  

Finding out how to run an employee engagement survey can be tough, so to make it easier, you can use our employee engagement surveys to give your people a voice.

They not only contain built-in surveys with series of questions backed by research, but they also cover a large variety of themes.  

Get the right employee benefits for your small business

As much as your people deserve the world, your company may not have the means for it yet.

To find the right balance between budget and value, our CharlieHR software allows you to reward your employees at no extra cost with our perks and benefits feature.

Unlike other HRIS, there’s no top-up cost and your team members have access to discounts usually reserved for big corporates at over 30,000 brands.

4. Build a company culture that makes work better

At Charlie, we’ve trialed many different policies – such as unlimited holidays and mental health sick day – to make work better. We’re proud of what we’ve achieved but the work isn’t done yet.

You might feel the urge to tick culture off your HR for start-up checklist, but it's built one step at a time and without using smokescreens like a snug office and fancy Christmas parties.

Here’s how you can make sure culture is built on concrete actions rather than just words:

  • Define what successful company culture means for you and for your team with policies to reflect it
  • Provide your team with specific and measurable targets to track progress towards your ideal culture
  • Make sure the policies go hand-in-hand with the company handbook so everyone is going in the same direction

The good news is you don’t have to figure it all out by yourself. With the help of an HR expert, you can create a bespoke company handbook to build the company culture your team needs to thrive.

Click here to book with our hR advice team

Download our HR for startups checklist

We hope you’ve found what you were looking for and you're ready to tick off all the boxes for our HR checklist for startups.

Click here to download our HR checklist for startups

Did you know you could create tailored checklists in Charlie? Assign tasks to managers, new starters and let them tick everything off just like you did.

HR Checklist for Startups - Checklists

Want to find out more about our software? Click here to start your free trial. You can also have a look at our HR guide for startups for more resources on startups and small businesses.

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