As a small business growing we have to understand why HR is important to your business and how it can help your business as it grows.

What is a HR Policy?

A HR policy is a document which offers guidance for those who hold responsibilities for people within the workplace. They cover topics such as how certain issues should be handled, the principles, rights and responsibilities for both employers and employees and set the rules and regulations for fairness and consistency across an organisation. HR policies are put in place to protect both the organisation and its employees and set the standard for the management of people.

The importance of HR policies is paramount to any business and they must comply with all existing legislation, as they advocate a culture of support and trust in addition to protection against potential legal claims. The effectiveness of these types of documents lies heavily within the communication and implementation of the frameworks set out within each policy to ensure a safe, consistent and inclusive working environment is attained.

why hr is important

What HR Policies are Required by Law in the UK?

HR policies should be unique to each business and their needs, so there is no ‘one size fits all’ structure that companies must follow. There are, however, three policies which UK companies are obliged to have. They are:

  • Health and Safety Policy (for any company with five employees or more)
  • Disciplinary and Dismissal Policy
  • Grievance Policy

Whilst the three policies mentioned above are the only three workplace policies required by law, it is best practice to also have policies on the following topics:

  • Equal Opportunities
  • Sickness
  • Training and Development
  • Code of Conduct
  • Bullying and Harassment
  • Drugs and Alcohol
  • Privacy

Having policies which provide a clear understanding of legal framework means that structured guidance is at hand as and when required. Policies are a constant work in progress as laws and legislations develop over time, therefore it is important that a company’s policies always reflect current rules and regulations.

What Are the Five Main Areas of HR?

As we break down why hr is important lets talk about the five main areas which are managed by a HR department are talent management, compensation and employee benefits, training and development, compliance and finally, workplace safety.

The talent management area takes responsibility for recruitment, for employee development and for retaining employees. The importance of hiring the correct talent beyond the job spec is key in ensuring that an excellent working culture is maintained.

The compensation and employee benefits area focuses on a close working relationship with the payroll department. This area can cover anything from ensuring correct working hours are submitted to managing all employee benefits and pensions.

Training and development is important to help any company and its employees thrive. By having a big focus on training and development, it will ensure that employees feel valued.

Compliance is critical within any organisation as laws and legislations are forever updating and must be adhered to at all times in order to ensure an ethical, safe, lawful and inclusive working environment is maintained.

Equally as important as the four other main areas mentioned above is workplace safety, of which HR must be an advocate of. Ultimately, the role of HR is to protect a company and its employees, and therefore championing a safe working environment comes naturally to the role.

What is Tupe in HR?

TUPE is an abbreviation for The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations. When a business undergoes a transfer of ownership, the employees may be protected under the TUPE Regulations. This means that for all existing members of staff, their terms and conditions of employment must remain the same.

The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 is the main piece of legislation determining the transfer (or part transfer) of a business from one owner to another. It is designed to protect all current employees and their rights. Without the TUPE Regulations 2006, all contracts of employment would become invalid at the point of transfer and their positions and terms would fall to the discretion of the new business owner.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Work in HR in the UK?

There are a number of routes that you can take to work in HR in the UK. Some careers sites have even suggested that an individual can work their way up through experience alone, starting as a HR Administrator/Business Administrator. Another option is through completing a degree in any subject you wish, and upon completion, enrolling in a Graduate HR training scheme. Arguably the most popular method, however, is gaining CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) qualifications. Starting with a Level 3 in CIPD, which is the Foundation Certificate in People Practice, individuals can then work their way up to Level 5 (Associate Diploma in People Management), and Level 7 (Advanced Diploma in Strategic People Management).

How Long Must You Keep HR Records for in the UK?

Different types of records are required to be kept for different lengths of time, depending on the content of the records. If ever in any doubt, it is advised that records should be kept for six years (five in Scotland) before being destroyed. This is to ensure that the time limit for bringing any civil legal action is covered. What is important, is that whatever method is used to retain records, it must be incredibly organised and secure, so that only authorised people can access them, but the necessary document can be easily found. Records should not be kept for any longer than required, and must be securely destroyed when the time comes.

All HR records not mentioned below should be kept for six years once the employee has left the company.

  • Accident books – 3 years from the date of the last entry
  • Health & Safety Rep’s and Employee’s training – 5 years after employment
  • Income tax, NI returns & correspondence with HMRC – Not less than 3 years after the end of the financial year to which they relate
  • Medical records – 40 years from the date of the last entry
  • Medical records (Under IRR 1999) – Until the individual reached the age of 75 or for at least 50 years
  • National Minimum Wage records – 3 years after the end of the pay reference period
  • Records relating to children/young adults – Until they reach 21 years old
  • Statutory Maternity records – 3 years after the end of the tax year in which the maternity period ends
  • Whistleblowing documentation – 6 months after the outcome has been reached
  • Working time records – 2 years form the date that they were submitted
  • Disciplinary outcomes – the length of time in which these records are retained depends on each company’s disciplinary procedure. However, they tend to vary in length depending on the severity of the disciplinary and range from 6-12 months.

Why HR is Important part of a companys structor?

People often ask why hr is important and HR is not only needed to protect and safeguard employees, it is also needed to protect a business. A HR department will oversee the entirety of an employees work lifecycle and they are tasked with the responsibility of developing and maintaining a positive, safe, ethical working culture for all. Every business should hopefully recognise that their employees are their most valued asset, and a HR department advocates empowerment to all, in addition to implementing a consistently positive working environment.

How to Negotiate a Salary Within HR

To negotiate a salary within HR will depend on the individual’s qualifications, but also their experience within the sector.

It is important for individuals to research the role in detail and evaluate their own worth and experiences before negotiating, this will enable them to showcase their skills and knowledge as evidence of their proposed salary. 

What Does HR Do?

The main responsibilities of Human Resources are to manage the employee life cycle, providing organisational structure and to safeguard the business and its employees. A HR department is there to offer support and guidance, serving as a link between management and employees and maintaining a consistent fairness across the board.