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5 Essential Steps to Employing Staff and Growing your Business

Updated: Apr 28

a group of staff members stood together in the workplace

You’ve worked hard to get your business to where it is, you’re busy and feeling the strain and need extra help and support. You’d love to employ a team to help take the business to the next level, but where do you start?

The thought of employing people can feel overwhelming, especially on top of everything else you need to do. There is complex employment law to navigate, people and HR practices to implement.

I've seen so many businesses who haven't implemented the appropriate HR and management practices from the beginning. Then spent a huge amount of time and money, untangling issues amongst their people.

Whether you're employing your first member of staff, growing a team or have an established workforce, it is never too late to implement the appropriate HR foundations.

Over the past 20 years, I’ve grown and developed organisations in the public and private sector. Managing budgets of £20m+, taking companies from six figures to multi-seven figures, opened numerous locations, increased staff headcount four-fold and implemented award winning learning and development programmes. And in my last business, hitting 6 figures in the first 10 months of trading!

I’ve taken my experiences, together with the knowledge gained from achieving a Level 7 CIPD qualification, a degree in business and a masters in management, to create the 5-Step Employment Life Cycle method:

5 step employment lifecycle

My 5-Step Employment Life Cycle method encompasses different phases every employee will go through, whilst employed in any businesses, whether you have 1 employee or 1000!

At each stage there are employment laws that every UK business must implement. It’s important to get the foundations in place to protect the business, support your people and set healthy boundaries.

For those employing their first member of staff, the 5-Step Employment Lifecycle method is a great foundation to implement, as it allows your company to expand on its HR and management practices as your team and business grows.

Don’t forget, whether you’re ready to take on your first member of staff, growing a team or have an established workforce it’s never too late to implement the appropriate people practices and HR foundations.

For companies ready to employ staff and grow a team, we’ll look at each phase of The Employment Lifecycle. Focusing on an essential area of employment law and how to implement it with your people.

Step 1: Employing Staff

UK Law

In accordance with the Employment Rights Act 1996; any employee or worker whose contract started on or after 6 April 2020, is entitled by law to receive a written statement of particulars on or before their first day of employment

Written Statement of Particulars

This is often referred to as a contract of employment or terms and conditions of employment. It can also be a letter, as long as the written statement contains all the required information, in accordance with the Employments Right Act.

An employment contract is not just the written terms, there are several different types of terms:

Express terms – agreed between the employer and employee, usually in writing (such as

pay, hours and job role),

Implied terms – terms to obvious to be written - such as; for the employee to carry out

reasonable, lawful instructions given by the employer. The employer will provide

reasonable working conditions and environment.

Statutory terms – part of employment law, such as national minimum wage, the right to

minimum notice period, these terms are implied into every contract of employment.

Incorporated terms – from other sources, such as a staff handbook

Tribunal Claims

An employee can apply to a tribunal to determine the particulars that should have been included if they are incomplete or missing.

Employees have the right not to be dismissed for requesting a written statement of particulars or missing information. Employers should comply with these requests within one month.

There are other aspects you will also need to consider when employing staff such as:

  • Preparing an offer letter of employment

  • Gathering evidence of Right to Work in the UK for each employee

  • Collect employee personal details and consent

  • Induction

  • Probationary period

Right to Work in the UK

In accordance with the Immigration Asylum and Nationality Act 2006, it is illegal to employ someone who hasn’t got the right to work in the UK.

An employer should establish the right of a person to work in the UK. It’s important to do this at the recruitment stage and before the individual starts employment.

As explained by, ‘if an employer is found to be employing someone illegally and they have not carried out the prescribed checks, they may face sanctions including:

  • a civil penalty of up to £20,000 per illegal worker.

  • in serious cases, a criminal conviction carrying a prison sentence of up to 5 years and an unlimited fine.

  • closure of the business and a compliance order issued by the court.

  • disqualification as a director.

  • not being able to sponsor migrants.

  • seizure of earnings made as a result of illegal working.

  • review and possible revocation of a licence in the alcohol and late-night refreshment sector and the private hire vehicle and taxi sector.’

Use the Government’s website to check someone’s documents allow them to work in the UK:

As your staff team grow, you may also want to add a recruitment policy, to ensure no unlawful practices occur, such as discrimination. Also, detailed job descriptions and personal specifications will enable the business to have an effective way to support new employees, induct and monitor performance to ensure the required skills, knowledge and behaviours are met by each member of the team.

Step 2: Supportive Practices

After your shiny new employee has started their employment journey with you, the next stage is implementing supportive practices. It goes without saying that we are here for our people, and we want to do the right thing.

There is employment legislation that we must adhere to and provide our employees as a minimum, this is called a ‘statutory entitlement’.

As your business grows and becomes more profitable, you may want to enhance the statutory entitlements, which include:

  • Pay

  • Hours

  • Holiday

  • Right to request flexible working

  • Maternity

  • Paternity

  • Parental leave

  • Adoption leave

  • Bereavement leave

  • Equality, diversity and inclusion

UK Law: Right to Request Flexible Working

Did you know…

In accordance with the Employment Rights Act 1996; any employee who has been employed with the company, for at least 26 weeks’ service can make a request for flexible working.

An employee may make one flexible working request in a 12-month period (unless it relates to a request to consider reasonable adjustments on account of disability, under the Equality Act 2010).

All employers should recognise the benefits of flexible working and genuinely and seriously consider all flexible working requests in a reasonable manner.

The employer will need to balance the request for flexible working against its effect on the business, the needs of the company, and the impact on other staff.

If a request for flexible working is rejected, it should normally be for one of the business reasons, in accordance with the Employment Rights Act.

Flexible Working Policy

Therefore, a well written flexible working policy is highly recommended, together with appropriate forms and letters. To support and guide the business to manage a flexible working request lawfully and to explain the process and timeframes to employees.

Having supportive HR policies and procedures, will contribute to creating an environment

where everyone can thrive. As your team and business grow, there are other ways to support your people too, through effective HR practices including:

  • Wellbeing

  • Menopause

  • Drugs and alcohol

  • Home or hybrid working

Sometimes though things can and do go wrong, which is why we also need to set healthy standards and expectations for our people.

Step 3: Standards and Expectations

Another approach to supportive practices is setting healthy standards and expectations. Ensuring that your people know and understand what is expected of them during certain situations, for example:

  • Sickness and absence

  • Using social media

  • Performance management

  • Performance improvement

  • Harassment and bullying

  • Raising a grievance

  • Disciplinary process

Sometimes things do go wrong, and having a set of standards in place also helps us to know how to deal with issues that arise. It informs our staff of the processes and actions that may take place. Ensuring everyone is aware of what may happen when things go amiss.

UK Law: Staff Sickness

When an employee is off work due to illness, Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is paid instead of an employee’s salary. SSP starts on the fourth day an employee is off work, (the first three days are unpaid, and can be paid for up to 28 weeks. After 7 days of absence the employer is entitled to demand a ‘fit note’ signed by a doctor or appropriate health professional. If an employee is entitled to SSP, it will be taxed and National Insurance contributions will be deducted. The amount of SSP is set by the Government.

Employers may also decide to pay company sick pay, in addition to SSP.

Managing Sickness/Absence

In my FREE guide, 5 Essential HR Tips, I provide strategies to manage absence, when an employee is off work sick. It is not a legal requirement to manage absence. However, effective absence management will support the health needs of your people.

The one essential activity to carry out after every absence, is a return-to-work meeting. This provides a supportive environment for the employee to discuss their health and provides a clear and consistent process to avoid unauthorised absence and inappropriate use of sick pay.

Step 4: UK Regulation

The next part of the Employment Lifecycle is UK Regulation. In accordance with employment legislation there are certain regulations that employers in the UK must comply with, these include:

  • Data Protection

  • Modern Slavery

  • Bribery

  • Whistleblowing

UK Law: Data Protection

It is important as business owners to understand your responsibilities of these UK Regulations, when employing staff.

For example, in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018, a former/employee can make a Subject Access Request (SAR), to find out what information the employer holds about them.

An employer should respond to a SAR immediately and provide the information within one month of the request. If the request is complex, this can be extended by a further two months.

Step 5: Ending Employment

There will be many reasons why employees choose to leave your company and every situation can be managed effectively. It’s important to afford every individual who leaves your business, a positive experience.

One of the most difficult jobs of being an employer, is telling an employee they no longer have a job. This may happen for several reasons including dismissal, redundancy or transferring to another employer. The procedure and subsequent decision of informing an employee they are dismissed, should never be taken lightly.

The process of an individual leaving the business should be effectively managed, so the

employee is fully prepared and supported throughout the notice period and beyond, (a term we call ‘off-boarding’ in HR).

UK Law: Employment Tribunal

Employees with unresolved workplace issues may decide to bring an employment tribunal claim.

Most employment tribunal claims, including unfair dismissal, unlawful deduction of wages and discrimination, must be bought within three months of the alleged unfair act.

Formal Meetings

If an employee brings a tribunal claim against an employer and the employer wants to dispute a claim. It will be the employer’s responsibility to produce evidence to demonstrate that no wrong doing took place.

Formal notes are crucial evidence in the dispute of any claim. Employers need to ensure accurate notes are taken of any formal discussions that have taken place between the employee and employer.

It is also crucial to support the remaining team members during such difficult situations. If ending someone’s employment is effectively managed, your exiting employee will leave the business singing your praises and will continue to tell all their friends what a great place your company is to work for – and if you don’t believe me, I have the thank you cards and emails to prove it!

So if you have some tricky situations to manage and worried about how to handle them and what you can and can’t do, then jump on a call with me and lets make a plan!

Putting the HR Foundations in place in your business

Leading and managing people in the right way, to achieve business growth and profitability is what I am passionate about.

If people feel they are being miss-managed in any way and here are a few examples; micro management, mushroom management, miss-trust, bullying and manipulative behaviour

through to ignoring everything and not addressing poor behaviour. This all leads to creating a dysfunctional team, where business owners start spending more time sorting out people issues than any other aspect of their business.

When you grow your team, it’s important to put all the HR foundations in place, so that you can create an empowering culture, where your people love what they do. This will enable you to scale your business and take it to the next level, enabling you to spend time doing the things that you’re great at.

If you are growing a team and don’t know what to put in place. Worried about how to manage an issue with your people, feeling stressed about outdated policies that your company has outgrown or would like to chat about your business and strategies for future growth, then contact

For HR resources that will help support your people, whilst protecting the organisation, take a look at our resource page:

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