With the summer break well and truly over and everyone back at work, here are our top five tips for charity employers.

  1. Don’t ignore poor performance or behaviour. You know how it goes, everyone is busy focusing on the work of the charity. A member of staff does something silly or something that doesn’t come up to scratch. You don’t have time to raise it, so you leave discussing it until later. This doesn’t work for you or the employee as often too much time has passed to make the feedback effective and the same errors can keep happening. Do it now while it’s fresh in your mind and make a written record that you can go back to later, if you need to.
  1. Have at least one person with clear responsibility for HR admin. However big or small your charity, have someone tasked with getting the HR basics right. For example, if your staff change roles, or take on new responsibilities, or change their hours, confirm this in writing to them now. Issues can arise later when these changes happen without being documented, so try to stay on top of the admin if you can.
  1. Remember new contracts and updated policies. If you take on a new staff member, remember that you have two months to get a written contract of employment to them. If you’re too busy to do it before they start work (which is usually best) make a diary note of when you need to do this by. Taking on new staff is also a good opportunity to ensure your HR policies are up to date – review regularly!
  1. Be clear who are volunteers and who are employees. People sometimes start working with charities as a volunteer, and end up becoming an employee (sometimes not by design!). Issues can arise later if employment status is unclear. Keep status under review, and keep clear records of when someone’s role changes.
  1. Set out a clear line management structure. Consistent communication on HR issues is important. If you have a chief executive your management structure may already be clear; but if you are a smaller charity consider assigning the responsibility to act as a lead trustee for staff, to one person.

If you have any questions or concerns about HR or employment law matters, please contact Mark Roby, HR Advisor/Paralegal on 01872 265100 or employment@stephens-scown.co.uk