The following answers are provided by members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
What’s one HR must-have (e.g. a holiday calendar, an employee handbook) for early-stage startups with no dedicated HR department?
1. Clear Written Agreements
Startups without HR departments often get lax about employee agreements. They often make handshake deals instead of getting a clear agreement in writing. This will come back to haunt you later. Are these people employees or independent contractors? How often will they be paid and how much? What exactly are their job duties? At minimum, establish simple, plain-English agreements with every person.
– Laura Roeder, LKR Social Media
2. Professional Employee Handbook
The truth is, you need a professional employee handbook with workplace discrimination policies, a sexual harassment policy, FMLA and HIPAA all in there. All it takes is one person to come in and make a protected complaint, and your early-stage startup could be dead in the water. The devil is in the details, so don’t skimp out on HR.
– Michael Parker, DSFederal
3. Company Mission Statement and Values
It is important to lock down a company mission statement and values as soon as possible. Keep these professionally displayed within clear view inside the office, and enclose neatly printed versions in new employee welcome packs so everyone knows these important guiding principles from the start.
– Alex Lorton, Cater2.me
4. Onboarding Checklist
When an early-stage startup lacks a full HR department, it’s important to at least have an onboarding checklist to ensure all the forms and items new hires need are taken care of quickly and seamlessly before they dive into work. From having a W9 on file to getting their direct deposit information, make sure to develop a checklist of the needed set-up steps so new hires can start quickly.
– Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.
Get that handbook in place, and then have all new employees, including yourself, sign an employment agreement that references it. Seek help with the wording because there are many important laws and regulations you want to make sure are covered.
– Andrew Howlett, Rain
6. Internal Wiki
If you don’t have the resources or paperwork of more established companies, create a place where employees can openly swap work-related information. Fill it with basic expectations and keep track of meeting notes. Slowly, you’ll have a healthy database of information that could be a gold mine for new hires.
– Tyler Arnold, SimplySocial Inc.
7. Online System
We use BambooHR, and it has been a great tool for us. It’s cost effective and helps keep up with our reminders, managing PTO and benefits. It also allows us to become paperless with all of our employee files.
– Alex Chamberlain, EZFingerPrints, LLC & EasyLiving, Inc
Our FAQs cover compliance statements as well as useful information about benefits, time off, holidays, etc., for new hires. It is brief and helpful, which makes it easy and desirable to read.
– Shradha Agarwal, ContextMedia