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Startup HR Checklist: 12 Templates & 8 Best Practices

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Start-ups already have a lot on their plate, and the same goes for their HR departments. In recent years there has been a revolution in the workplace: layoffs, telecommuting, new regulations, etc. This has only increased the workload of the HR department, so there is more and more need for a kind of to-do list: an HR checklist.

This blog discusses the basics of such a checklist, its meaning and content. We will also share HR checklist examples and samples with a focus on startup functions.

Finally, we highlight the best practices for small businesses to thrive in the ever-evolving competitive marketplace.

What is an HR Checklist for Startups?

An HR checklist for startups is a type of to-do list or guide that helps a company manage important HR tasks. It includes such important things as hiring new employees, integrating them into the company (onboarding) and determining their salary and wage structure, compensation and benefits.

The checklist also ensures that the company is compliant with policies and retains important information about employees. By using a checklist, startups can better manage their human resources responsibilities and work more efficiently and successfully toward achieving their business goals.

The 10 key components of a startup HR checklist include:

  1. Hiring and recruiting employees
  2. Verification of probationary periods and confirmation of employees
  3. Carrying out training and onboarding
  4. Determination of compensation and wages
  5. Handling attendance and leave policies
  6. Management of expenses
  7. Management of the Code of Conduct
  8. Compliance with labor law regulations
  9. Processing employee terminations
  10. Building and maintaining corporate culture

We will explore these topics in more detail in the following sections.

Need for an HR Checklist for Startups and Small Businesses: Top 3 Reasons

An HR checklist for startups and small businesses is essential because it helps ensure important HR tasks, such as hiring and managing employees, are completed correctly and efficiently. It serves as a guide to avoid mistakes, follow rules and manage resources effectively.

This is especially important when working with limited budgets and resources. Here are 3 of the top reasons why startups and small businesses need an HR checklist:

1.Hiring and retaining the best employees

34% of CFOs found that hiring mistakes not only reduce productivity, but also take up 17% of managers' time caring for poorly performing employees.

Effectively hiring and retaining good employees is crucial for startups. Bad attitudes can hurt teams and lower morale. Before posting job descriptions, hiring managers should use an HR checklist, a systematic guide that ensures key steps in the hiring process are followed.

This helps avoid errors, ensure compliance and recruit suitable candidates. The checklist also helps retain top talent by focusing on employee satisfaction and engagement.

2.Building a positive company culture

As the Harvard Business Review reports, companies with low employee engagement experience declines over time

  • Productivity up 18%
  • Profitability by 16%
  • Job growth of 37%
  • Share price up 65%

A positive company culture sets your company apart from the competition and attracts new employees who align with your vision. In today's startup landscape, the biggest challenge is not only attracting top talent, but also retaining it.

An HR checklist is invaluable for cultivating a positive culture. It ensures that the hiring process aligns with your company's values. Additionally, the checklist can include items that focus on employee satisfaction and engagement. This promotes a working environment that binds the best talent to the company in the long term.

3.Administration and politics

When founders who act as authority figures take on the role of HR manager, they invest a lot of time and effort into building an efficient employee base. This can lead to lower productivity.

An effective HR checklist for startup administration and policy management is a crucial factor. It streamlines tasks and saves time and effort. It helps ensure policy compliance, reduce hiring costs, reduce turnover rates, indirectly reduce training costs, and protect the company from legal consequences.

10 components of an HR checklist for startups

When building a business, it is important to establish basic HR processes. If these processes are simple and easy to understand, many human resource management challenges in startups can be overcome. The key to making these processes work is their effective implementation.

Here are the components of an HR checklist that you can use to put your HR processes into action.

1.Hiring and recruiting employees

  • What this includes: Finding and hiring new team members.
  • Key elements: Developing job descriptions, conducting interviews and making job offers.

2.Review of probationary period and confirmation of employees

  • What this includes: Assessing new employees in the initial phase and deciding on permanent employment.
  • Key elements: Probationary performance assessment and confirmation process.

3.Carrying out training and onboarding

  • What this includes: Welcoming and integrating new employees into the company.
  • Key elements: Orientation sessions, provision of necessary resources and introduction to the team.

4.Determine compensation and wages

  • What this includes: Setting salaries and other benefits for employees.
  • Key elements: Setting appropriate wages, bonuses and benefits packages.

5.Handling attendance and leave policies

  • What this includes: Managing employee working hours and time off.
  • Key elements: Recording attendance, implementing leave policies and processing leave requests.

6.Managing Expenses

  • What this includes: Oversight and control of company spending.
  • Key elements: Budgeting, approving expenses and ensuring financial responsibility.

7.Management of the Code of Conduct

  • What this includes: Enforcing acceptable behavior in the workplace.
  • Key Elements: Communicate and maintain the company's values, policies and ethical standards.

8.Compliance with labor law regulations

  • What this includes: Ensuring compliance with labor laws and regulations.
  • Key elements: Regularly update policies to align with legal requirements.

9.Processing employee terminations

  • What it includes: Managing employee exits.
  • Key elements: Exit interviews, completing paperwork and handing over responsibilities.

10.Building and maintaining corporate culture

  • What this includes: Promoting a positive and inclusive work environment.
  • Key elements: Promote teamwork, communication and employee engagement.

The 8 Best HR Practices for Startups and Small Businesses

In the early days of a startup, HR may not be a top priority. With a small team and possibly no HR department of your own, someone from another department may be able to handle HR work on the side. To make your startup successful, you should focus on key HR practices.

Here are the key points to consider as you grow.

1.Create real job descriptions

Even in smaller companies where cross-functional work is common, you should provide clarity to candidates by developing job descriptions together. Clear job descriptions ensure that more candidates apply for your job advertisement.

Bonus: These descriptions can serve as templates for future tasks.

2.Develop a staffing plan

Work with executives and HR managers to identify required roles and establish timelines for filling them. Small teams often have to grow quickly. Putting this plan in place early will give you an organized head start.

3.Create a manual

Even if you are a small startup, rules and guidelines are still valuable. Instead of keeping company policies informal, start by creating a manual, even if it's just simple for now.

Starting to document things like your time off policies or dress code early on will prevent employee confusion as policies become formalized as you grow.

4.Formalize your hiring process

Say goodbye to informal interviews and handshake arrangements. As your company expands, it is important to establish a fair and consistent process for organizing interviews and deciding who attends them.

Tip: Consider training interviewers to ensure they ask the right (and legal) questions.

5.Prioritize culture and engagement

The determination and commitment of your new employees have gotten you this far, but to maintain an exciting workplace you must continue to focus on culture and engagement.

Conduct quarterly employee engagement surveys and experiment with unique perks that will differentiate your company and appeal to both current and potential employees.

6.Become tech-savvy in HR

As your business grows, the need for advanced HR technology becomes apparent. If you haven't already, there will come a time when working with your PEO becomes too costly, typically at 50 employees.

Be proactive by learning about HR tech options, attending product demonstrations, and working with management to budget for and implement the right software when needed.

7.Prioritize employee performance

While employee performance is critical at every stage, your company may have only handled this informally. Whether you prefer continuous feedback or traditional annual reviews, you should determine the mechanisms and timing of your performance evaluation program. If you haven't already, you should formalize the process and perhaps even include it in your manual.

8.Improve your employer branding

Employer branding, once a secondary recruiting tool, has evolved into a company-wide initiative for growing companies. A strong employer brand helps job seekers recognize and promote the unique value your company offers.

Update your careers page, encourage employees to share testimonials, recommend candidates, and participate in culture-enhancing activities to strengthen your employer brand.

Investing in HR fundamentals is crucial for startup success. From hiring to culture-building, prioritize efficiency with tools like IceHrm.

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