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6 must-have HR practices & HR policies for startups

In startups, all employees wear many hats – especially the executives. If you are the CEO, then you might also be the CFO, the CTO, the janitor, and everything in between. One day you might be closing a deal with a major client and the next you might be mopping the floors.

With so many plates spinning, it's easy to let HR fall by the wayside. However, having solid HR policies in place is essential for any business, no matter its size. And for startups, in particular, HR policies can be a make or break it situation. That being said, let’s break down 6 must-have HR policies for startups.

1. Recruitment and Hiring Policy

The first step to building a strong team is to have a clear recruitment and hiring policy. This policy should outline the steps you will take to find and vet candidates as well as how you will make your final hiring decision. This will ensure that you are consistently bringing in high-quality candidates and making sound hiring decisions.

2. Performance Management Policy

It is important to set clear expectations for employee performance from day one. This performance management policy should outline how you will measure employee performance and what steps will be taken if an employee is not meeting your expectations. Having this policy in place will help you hold employees accountable and maintain standards of excellence across your team.

3. Termination Policy

No one likes to think about termination, but it is an unfortunate reality of business. Having a clear termination policy in place will help protect your startup if an employee needs to be let go. This policy should outline the steps that will be taken leading up to termination, as well as what happens afterwards. For example, you may want to include a clause about returning company property (e.g., laptop, company credit card, etc.) and signing a non-disclosure agreement.

4. A Robust Onboarding Process

A robust onboarding process is critical for setting new hires up for success. Your startup's onboarding process should do more than just orient new hires to their job duties; it should also help them feel like they're part of the team. To that end, your onboarding process should include:

  • An introduction to the company culture and values

  • A tour of the office (if you have one) or remote work set-up (if you don't)

  • A meeting with their direct supervisor to review expectations and set goals

  • A chance to meet other members of the team (virtually or in person)

5. A Clearly Defined Code of Conduct

A code of conduct is a document that outlines your company's expectations for employee behavior. This can include things like dress code, workplace hours, drug policy, social media use, and more. Having a code of conduct helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that there are no surprises down the road.

6. Fair and Competitive Compensation Practices

Startups often have to get creative when it comes to compensation due to their limited budgets. However, it's important to make sure that your compensation practices are fair and competitive. This includes not only salaries but also things like vacation days, parental leave, health insurance, and other benefits. Offerings that are competitive with other businesses in your industry will help you attract and retain top talent.

While there are many HR policies that your startup could benefit from, these three are essential for any business. By putting recruitment & hiring, performance management, and termination policies in place, you can protect your company while ensuring that only the best employees are part of your team.


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