Nail your employment contracts and celebrate

If you get that sinking feeling when team members go off sick, perform below par or complain about working conditions, it’s a safe bet that you haven’t issued your employment contracts recently and you know the paperwork for these staffing malfunctions will land on your desk.

Number 1 on the HR basics list: employment contracts

After 20 years in the business the HR basic that I would put top of the list is ‘writing and issuing employment contracts’. It’s an absolutely essential routine task and if it was the only one you ever practiced it would still be a massive benefit to you and your business. Your staff will respect you for it and feel valued and when you find yourself in a tight spot HR-wise, it will pay massive dividends so why is it that businesses often don’t do it?

My experience is that some managers intend to do it but never get round to it, others think that the business is too difficult to explain in an employment contract and others fear that writing down the contractual terms will somehow put the business at a disadvantage. None of these things should hold you back from getting your employment contracts drafted but don’t fall into the trap of having them drafted and then letting them sit in a filing cabinet rather than issuing them to staff. This happens far more often than you may think and all the hard work and expense is for nothing.

Issue your contracts using a reliable system to track the process

When you are ready to send your employment contracts out to staff make sure you use a simple system and keep accurate records. You could use this free system to issue employment contracts to your staff. It keeps a handy audit trail so you can see that staff have received their employment contracts and policies as required by law. Check out the free plan and create your account to get those employment contracts issued. Click here.

Of the hundreds of employers we have worked with over the years they have all said they feel relief when this job is in the bag and that it made them more confident when dealing with HR basics like grievances and disciplinary matters so they could focus on the more positive aspects of being an employer.

The law requires employers to issue employment contracts

Businesses that fail to issue contracts of employment to staff are always on the back foot because they are in breach of statute and are at risk of tribunal fines. So, make this top of your list and put it on the routine jobs list until it is done. It will de-risk your business by making it compliant with the law.

By the way, if you’ve missed the legal deadline for issuing your employment contracts (which is within 2 months of the employee starting work), this is one situation where the phrase ‘better late than never’ is definitely true. Lots of employers tell me that they are years past the deadline but my advice is still the same: Don’t let that put you off, get those contracts out ASAP and start celebrating!

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