Friday, 20 September 2019 11:02

Employer Must-Haves and Should-Haves

As employers, there are a set of rules and regulations that we must adhere to when dealing with our employees which we refer to as Employment Law. Whilst there is room for some interpretation in how the law is applied, most are reasonably black and white, and we can turn to case law to see how the less defined ones are judged. ACAS also publish a set of best practice guidelines which we are expected to adhere to.

Then there are the rules that we ought to be implementing if we want to be good employers. That is, the guidelines, and procedures we should apply if we want the people who we employ to perform in their jobs, remain in our employment and be happy and content whilst they are with us. This is what we really mean when we talk about HR.

Businesses should aspire to be really good at both. To run their organisations in line with legislation but also to create a great working environment.

Below we’ve put together a top five of each so you can see how you rank. It’s a bit of a crude yardstick to measure yourself against but it might just highlight where there is room for improvement in your own organisation.

Top 5 Must-Haves

  1. Contracts of Employment: Strictly speaking, what you must provide is written terms of employment which could all be laid out in an offer letter. According to ACAS there are between 15 and 20 specific terms, depending on the type of employment, that you must include in the contract or at least reference to in another document such as a staff handbook. Additionally, the statement must be issued within 8 weeks of starting work and will become a day-one right from April 2020.
  2. A safe and equitable working environment: This goes further than providing a workplace where employees are physically safe and is effectively solid application of The Equalities Act. Staff should also feel free from bullying, harassment and any sense of discomfort. Take an honest look around your team and spend a minute thinking about how each one feels about their workplace.
  3. Right to Work Checks: You must have a process for checking employees’ validity to work in the UK. Even if you employ your twin brother, you must keep a record of their evidence.
  4. Minimum wage: This should be straightforward, but we still hear stories where the National Minimum Wage isn’t paid. Sometimes travel time or extra time on site can mean the actual time spent ‘at work’ reduces the pay per hour to below the official minimum. Fines for getting this wrong can be quite damaging.
  5. Maximum working hours: The working time directive can be opted out of, but you also need to bear in mind time for breaks and rest periods. These rules will also be affected by the employee’s age. Ultimately you have a duty of care towards your staff that means they don’t suffer because of their job.

6 and 7 would probably be Pension Auto Enrolment and Employers Liability insurance.

Top 5 Should-Haves

  1. A Vision: You need to know what direction you want to take your business and as your employees will be part of your journey, they should all know it too. On a ship, even though the guy in the engine room can’t see the horizon, he still needs to know how much fuel you’ll need.
  2. An effective on-boarding procedure: Starting out in a new job at a new employer is a huge event for most people. How the first few days, weeks and months play out will influence the rest of the time an employee spends with you. Get it right from day one.
  3. Regular 1-2-1 meetings and appraisals: Few employees are such great self-leaders that they remain motivated and driven to do their jobs without any intervention from their boss. Regular reviews are an opportunity to measure performance, tackle problems early-on, and set new goals and targets to maintain motivation. This is probably the best place to include a word about channels of communication. These should be clear and effective with an opportunity to feed back.
  4. A development plan: We expect that you’re constantly trying to grow your business. You should be trying to grow your employees too so that they are fully equipped with the right skills and knowledge to join you on your journey.
  5. A positive culture: Culture is the word we probably use the most at HR Champions. How the people with an organisation behave and feel will be directly attributable to its culture. Take a step back and look inwardly on your business. What would an outsider’s opinion be of your culture?

Hopefully you’re not disappointed that bean bags and a pool table didn’t appear in the list. Yes, they are nice-to-haves it they fit your culture, but in fairness there is much to get right before you even think about introducing them.

If you managed to tick everything on both lists then you should be very proud of yourself. If there are any holes, a conversation with a member of the team at HR Champions might be a good next step for you. We are experienced at covering all the points here for our clients and can help you to integrate elements of both areas at the same time.

Call us on 01452 331331 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

Read 1863 times Last modified on Wednesday, 11 May 2022 10:51


HR Champions provide first class HR and Employment Law support and advice to UK businesses; operationally and strategically. If you're an employer you'll potentially need some, if not all, of the services we offer.

We deliver excellent management and soft skills training suitable for all organisational levels. We are ILM and City & Guild accredited and Ken Blanchard approved.  





We are located in Gloucester in the West of the UK close to the M4 and M5 corridors. For a precise map and directions find us on Google Maps

We have clients all over the UK but predominantly within about an hour's drive time of our offices; in Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Bristol and Swindon & Wiltshire.