What Are the 7 Major HR Activities?
We’ve discussed the importance of HR’s roles in a startup, but within these roles are seven major activities that HR is responsible for in the early days of business development.
If you’re getting your business off of the ground, here’s an HR checklist of seven items to be sure to incorporate into the department to ensure everything is off to a good start.
1. Organizational design for startups
As a small business startup, you won’t need a fully fleshed-out organizational structure in place before you start hiring anyone or are truly open for business. Still, a basic company document outlining the business structure will help you as you eventually scale and have to think about things like outsourcing, employee planning, or even succession plans down the line.
Don’t fall into the very easy trap of relying on a disorganized HR system. With strategic moves at the beginning, you can set yourself up for success. This foundational structure document will designate a clear path you’ll be able to follow as you grow.
2. Recruitment and onboarding
Before you bring on employees, you need to know how you’re going to do just that. Everything from recruiting—whether online through LinkedIn, at college job fairs, or simply by posting new openings on job boards—to interviewing, hiring decision-making, and onboarding is critical before even your first hire.
Be sure to have an offer letter template ready, relevant agreements and clauses such as non-compete and confidentiality, and equity paperwork. You’ll also need to gather essential employee data such as social security numbers and addresses for your own HR purposes.
3. Traditional HR: Compliance, health, and safety
Traditional HR is most concerned with maintaining compliance with all health, safety, and employer regulations. You’re responsible for following local and federal labor laws, tax codes, and health/safety requirements and keeping up-to-date documentation for all of it.
One area of compliance is health/safety requirements, such as an emergency action plan, safe working surfaces, first aid supplies, and sufficient exit routes.
Another key area is maintaining proper employment policies, such as workplace harassment policies and equal employment opportunity policies.
4. Startup compensation and benefits
Attracting talent and incentivizing them to stay is key in a new business if you want the best of the best to join your business. The best way to do that is typically with competitive employee benefits and compensation packages.
New hires will want to know how their salary structure looks like (base and commission, salary, hourly, etc.) and will expect competitive payment rates within the industry. They’ll also want an attractive policy around holidays, vacation, and sick days, as well as health and retirement benefits for them and their families.
In addition to all of this, you should also have an HR plan in place to process payroll regularly, so new hires know when and how they can expect their payments.
5. Employee relations
Outside of paperwork and the more traditional, technical aspects of HR, the department’s most important role is managing the relationship with employees and ensuring employee satisfaction.
When an employee has a grievance (and yes, this day will come), you should have a management system or policy in place that will help you make the right decisions. A policy that outlines acceptable business conduct is a good basic guide. Then, you’ll need to formalize a system for gathering this feedback and documenting it, as well as addressing issues as they arise.
This makes it much easier to respond appropriately if issues arise, but it also protects your company from liability.
6. Training, development, and performance management
Training and development aren’t as central in the beginning stages of a startup as it is later on, and performance issues may be few and far between with such a small staff. But starting to strategize about these HR components early on will make it easier as time goes on and your business begins to take shape.
By the time your first business anniversary rolls around, you should be ready to go with performance review metrics that you’ll use to measure each employee’s time with the company. Ideally, you should also have the means to increase their pay if their performance review merits it.
As far as training and development goes, start thinking about how you could help your employees grow their skills and progress in the company. Trade shows, conferences, and online training are all excellent ideas to consider for later training and development.
7. Use a Human Resource Information System (HRIS)
Managing all of these aspects of an HR department adds up quickly. While you can certainly try to manage it all independently, using a Human Resources Information System (HRIS), like we at flair, is the easiest way to streamline all of your tasks and keep everything in one place.
Our HR software will relieve you of tedious tasks and help retrieve precious time in order to focus on more important matters at hand.
With this one system, you can automate basic admin tasks, recruit and onboard new employees, track time and pay them, and manage company-wide benefits with ease. Today, you can find tons of cloud-based options that offer more flexible access and security that moves where you move, great for remote startups.
Before selecting your HRIS, first identify which needs you would like your system to fulfill, what systems you already have in place, and what data you need to keep track of. Then, keep these considerations in mind as you search.