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HR challenges for small business owners

21 Nov 2019

HR challenges for small business owners

As the owner of a small business, one of the main challenges you face is that you have to do absolutely everything, whether it’s in your area of expertise or not. Larger companies can afford to either employ specialists to focus on certain tasks or hire consultants to do them on an ad hoc basis. When running a small up-and-coming business, you may not have that luxury, but you must still follow the same rules as every other company.

“It’s entirely understandable for small businesses owners to want to do everything themselves to control costs. However, they may be storing up HR problems for the future by failing to get the details right, particularly when it comes to employment law. My advice for any small business owner is to focus on their core priority – growing their sales pipeline, and use an HR professional to de-risk the business by establishing legally compliant HR documents and procedures that work for their company.” – Helen Bell, Elite Edge HR

When it comes to employing staff, you will face particular challenges in relation to HR which is really important to get right. There are no easy answers to the dilemma about whether to hire an HR consultant or take the time to do the work yourself so here are the main things you’ll need to think about:


In addition to trying to build up your business, you’ve also got to get up to speed with the complexities of HR laws and regulations. Contracts of employment, staff handbooks and even job descriptions are all legally binding documents, so it’s vital you don’t make mistakes. This can divert a lot of your time and energy away from your core business.

Recruiting new staff

If you recruit staff through recruitment agencies, there will be a cost. However, if you recruit staff yourself, a lot of your time will be taken up with placing adverts, monitoring applications and going through candidate CVs to select a shortlist.

Keeping staff productive

Even in a small business, you need to take steps to develop your staff, making sure they have the knowledge and training to be as productive as possible. Put aside a budget for staff training courses and allow time for staff to do their own research. It may also be a good idea to look into providing staff perks and benefits to keep them motivated!


Staff sickness will cost your company money and affect productivity. You will need to know how to handle frequent absences and long-term sick leave so that your business does not suffer as a result.


Sometimes personality clashes and conflicts between staff members will be unavoidable. As the boss, you cannot afford to ignore any possibility of conflict, and it will be up to you to find ways to resolve it quickly and effectively.

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