Human Resources encompasses all things relating to the recruitment, support and training of employees within a business. With little time and resources, it can be easy to put off HR responsibilities but if you ignore the HR basics in the very beginning, your business may be negatively affected. Nurturing your employees is equivalent to nurturing your business.


You will likely find you are covering some of the HR basics naturally but as your business grows, it can become a more demanding task. You may even decide to consider hiring an HR professional or outsourcing your HR needs, but there’s a lot you can do yourself. From hiring to payroll and training, here are some of the HR basics you should be aware of to help your start-up grow.  



When you’re a start-up your next hire could help shape the future of your business. Therefore its one area you may not want to outsource. That said, you can learn from what an HR professional does. They will make sure a candidate is hired fairly, ethically and without bias. They’ll also take on the logistics of getting a new hire up and running. They’ll organise any paperwork, ensure contracts are signed and payroll is set up. This part of their job is particularly important, as a new hire needs to feel comfortable and confident in starting their new job role.  

As employees and salaries are likely to be one of your biggest costs, knowing when the right time to hire has come is also important.


Team structure

As more employees start to join your business you’ll find that you may need more structure. An HR specialist will usually take on the responsibility of organising teams. From managers to assistants, they’ll typically organise direct reports to make sure all employees are supported. With a tree structure in place, they can start to build in performance management techniques where employees can set goals, be assessed to improve work focus and create a plan for their career. Depending on the size of your business and resources you may lean towards an HR information system, which utilises technology to support HR responsibilities. Failing to put down development reports formally, in writing, could mean you miss training opportunities.


Training and development

With any start-up, it’s cost effective for the employees you have to stay with the company. This is because recruiting can incur direct and hidden costs. A business is only as good as its employees and with this in mind, it’s important to develop their skills to help them flourish along with your company. You should offer all employees a personal development plan. As well as helping individuals take control of their development, it is an opportunity to focus individual growth on meeting the goals of the company. Without the option for training, you may see employees leaving to go somewhere where they see a future.

Without an HR professional on your books, you may want to delegate the responsibility of training to one of your senior employees. They should assess which areas would benefit from training and set up training days, either online or in an external seminar environment. By keeping a watchful eye on the industry, they’ll be the first to know of any upcoming news or developments in technology that can help the business grow.



One of HR’s main responsibilities is to keep the business compliant with any ethical principles, laws or regulations. From general work behaviours to health and safety, it’s important that everyone is on board with any rules that are in place. An example of this is the transformation of data handling with new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) now in effect. Businesses have had to remodel how they collect, store and process data to fall in line with the latest GDPR regulation.

As HR are the gatekeepers to employees’ personal data, including bank details, medical forms and passport information, the responsibility of compliance has naturally fallen on them. Within your start-up, it’s a good idea to appoint someone as a GDPR expert. They will make sure rules are followed and will take responsibility for keeping a check on other legal regulations.  


Employee relations

Keeping the peace and making sure all employees are happy in their workplace is a big subject to tackle. But, it’s where HR professionals can really use their people skills to ensure all employees feel supported at work. From mental health workshops to wellbeing, a business, no matter what its size should encourage a healthy working style.

Of course, not everyone can be happy all of the time and with tight deadlines and targets, there may be some clashes in the office. HR will often be there to gather any complaints and resolve any issues. As a start-up with no HR professional to lean on, it’s up to you to create a culture where feedback is welcomed and problems can be solved.

Key takeaways

Handling HR responsibilities can be pretty overwhelming especially when you’re already juggling multiple tasks. As a start-up you will, of course, struggle to do everything straight away, but your business will benefit if you spend some time on nurturing HR skills early on. Here are some key takeaways to get you started:

  • Invest in personal development. If your employees thrive, your business will thrive.
  • Appoint a GDPR expert to ensure you’re following the correct protocol to stay within the laws and regulations.    
  • When your business starts to grow, make sure everyone has a line manager to feel supported.
  • Create a culture where feedback is welcomed and issues can be resolved effectively