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The 13 Documents You Need to Start Your HR Department



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Buhle photoBy Buhle Taodzera

Remember when you got to go to camp or on a field trip as a kid and there was always that handy checklist to help you pack? Wouldn’t it be nice if that were something that you got in real life too?

Building an HR Department within a new or established company is going to take some work, but with a solid plan and great advice, you can do it. One caveat: We don’t know your industry so some of what you’ll need may not be on this list but chances are everything in this article will be at least helpful, if not necessary. However, unlike a camp checklist, many of these items can’t be purchased on the way home from soccer practice, you might have to make them yourself or find Consultants who can supply them as a value add. Ready? Let’s get started.

  1. Start with job profiles

Create a profile for each role within your company and the person who fills it. You can include as much or as little information as you’d like but keep in mind if you choose to include more information (like what makes the current employee successful in that role) you will be able to use it for multiple projects (like building out sourcing profiles for future hiring).

  1. Use the profiles to create a hierarchal structure of your company

In many start-ups, this is a bit antithetical to the way they work so you may face a little resistance. But there’s nothing like a great company structure document to help with future tasks like workforce planning, succession structure and what to outsource, when. You can also use a structure like this to determine reporting and salary grading in the future.

  1. Create a business staffing plan

When your company is hiring just a few key positions, this almost seems like a moot point but having a plan you can refer to is crucial as the business scales. Who do you need to speak with? Sales, operations, product development and marketing. These people or teams should have a solid idea of their job descriptions and key result areas. Make sure you get a sketch of what they’re doing over the next 12 months to figure out what you need to be hiring for. Get our EBook “Successful Interviewing 101 for non HR Managers” for $5.00 to give you an idea of what quetsions to ask in your hiring process. Place your order by following this link: Ebooks for non HR Managers

  1. You need a system

Smaller companies start with an Excel spreadsheet and as they grow, may purchase an HR System. Whatever you use, you need to be able to keep track of your employees.

  1. Devise a salary structure document

This is by far the most neglected document in a small to medium business. Don’t let that happen to you. Discover salaries for various functions within the company and compare and contrast those with fair market value for similar positions. Revise every six months to ensure that you stay competitive. If your company offers other forms of compensation like benefits, stock options, profit sharing or a work-flex environment; make note of them but keep them separate from the salary structure document.

  1. Create a compensation and benefits document

Newer companies may not offer the same sort of traditional benefits that many employees are used to receiving, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have as much to offer. Get creative. Find out what your employees need. Can employees work from home? Can you purchase equipment or offer discounted rates from medical and funeral benefits companies? Do some research so you have a benefits plan that stands out.

  1. When do your employees get time off?

Do managers get Christmas Eve off but not interns? Does the executive team meet for an early Tuesday meeting? Which holidays does your company observe? All of these are unique to your company, industry and occasionally location. But be clear about your vacation policy, sick policy, time off policy and holiday policy. Include things like permissions, notices, time off that is job specific and when it’s okay to trade schedules with another worker. Don’t forget to include some sort of recording system to help you keep track.

  1. A way to measure performance

In the beginning, this usually falls to the department head or hiring manager but that’s not always the best person for the job. When creating your job profiles, find out how each person measures their success and write those measurements down. Sure, those will change as the company grows but knowing how the team defines “doing well” and sets their goals will only help new hires get acclimated. In addition, it helps you create the dreaded performance evaluation. Not all companies have or enforce these, but they are important. The key is constant and measurable feedback, rather than the typical year review. Keep that in mind when devising your performance evaluation program. Click on this link, EBooks for non HR Managers to purchase our EBook ” The Performance Management handbook for non HR Managers,

  1. Travel and Expenses Tracking

How will your organization handle this? You need a policy and a simple and easy to use application that allows you to track these expenses and travel.

  1. Time and Attendance is as important as you make it

Today’s modern HR department is far less “clock in/clock out” than it was, but there are still many workplaces that have staff that need to track their attendance. Make sure your policies are clear before employee’s Day 1. If you are in an industry that frequently uses overtime structure, keep that in mind as well.

  1. The end of the road

At some point you will have to fire someone…or someone will quit. Turnover is a part of life and must be addressed (preferably before it happens on your watch). So how are you going to handle it? Are you going to conduct an exit interview? Will you have a sit-down with the exiting employee’s supervisor or manager? Is there a formal process (like written and verbal warnings) that precedes terminating an employee? Do you request two weeks’ notice? Are you an at-will employee? Figuring out all these answers ahead of time will save an unpleasant task far less messy.

  1. Training and Development

Like many smaller businesses, you may not yet have set up a training and development process, which is okay (for now). But start thinking about what the employees get out of working for you. The important thing is to have a plan in place, whether the budget exists or not, but even more importantly is getting buy-in from the managers in your company. They know what sort of learning opportunities their people need and how to ferret them out. All About People will develop custom made training materials for you that include Trainer and Trainee Manuals, Powerpoint slides, icebreakers and games to get your HR Department Started. If you want to order one, follow this link, Corporate Training Materials for a quote

  1. Job Description Template

This is a toss-up. You want to ensure that your job ads are read by the right talent and the best way to do this is to create compelling, fun copy, which is tough to do with a template. On the other hand, your ads may have to create a consistent tone via various job boards and distribution engines. You want those to always tell your company’s story — so what to do? Some progressive companies tell the corporate and cultural story up front and follow up with individualized job descriptions. Either way, have a standardized template that you can give to team members or use when you need to get something up FAST.


All About People HR Outsourcing Consultants offers an HR Business-in-a-Pack that includes all of the above and much more. The Pack is priced at $120.00. To order, email info@allaboutpeople.co.zw


Get a Starter Pack to help you get started with your own HR Department. The pack includes:

  • Code of Conduct/ Employee Handbook
HIV /AIDS Policy manual
HR Policy and Procedure Manual
Occupational Health and Safety Policy
Training planner
Leave forms
Time sheets
Employee discipline forms
Reference check templates
Employment Contracts
Performance Management Pack



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