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  • Writer's pictureSusan Wakelin

What HR Documents Do I Need?

Starting or managing a business involves juggling numerous responsibilities, and among the most crucial aspects is HR management. Properly documenting various HR processes and interactions is a fundamental requirement for businesses of all sizes.


HR Expert Susan Wakelin says


"As an HR consultant in Kent, I've seen firsthand the impact that well-structured HR documents can have on a business. From employment contracts to employee handbooks, these documents serve as the foundation of a healthy workplace. They provide clarity, set expectations, and protect both employers and employees; it's a strategic advantage that ensures smooth operations and fosters a positive work environment."


As a business owner, it's essential to understand the key HR documents needed to ensure compliance, protect your business, and effectively support your employees. To assist you in this endeavor, we've compiled a list of essential HR documents and their priorities.


1) Contract of Employment


At the top of our list is the Contract of Employment. This document serves as the cornerstone of the employer-employee relationship, outlining the critical terms and conditions of employment. At a minimum, it should include:

  • Job Title or Role

  • Start Date

  • Salary

  • Hours of Work

  • Probationary Period


image showing hr consultant assisting with employment contract | HR support | HR consultant IN Kent)




Why do I need employment contracts?


The employment contract is a pivotal document for outlining expectations, disciplinary and grievance policies, and other company rules, such as acceptable IT use, and sickness and holiday management. It provides a clear framework for both parties regarding expectations in the workplace.


2) Job Description / Roles & Responsibilities

A well-drafted Job Description is an indispensable tool, detailing the primary duties and responsibilities associated with each unique role within your organisation. It serves as a written statement of duties, responsibilities, and success factors linked to each position. In addition to job descriptions, it's valuable to have separate roles and responsibilities documents that provide further clarity on individual job functions. These documents help employees understand not only what their roles entail but also how they contribute to the organisation's overall success.


Roles and responsibilities documents can be highly detailed and specific, providing employees with a clear roadmap for their day-to-day tasks, as well as long-term goals and performance expectations.

Why do I need to keep Job Descriptions?

Job descriptions provide clarity in employment contracts, probationary periods, and ongoing performance management. They help employees understand their role expectations and how they contribute to the organization's success.

3) HR Policies / Procedures / Employee Handbook

HR policies, procedures, and an Employee Handbook set the stage for managing various issues and processes within your business. Some essential topics to consider include:

  • Grievance Procedures

  • Disciplinary Policies

  • Family-Friendly Policies

  • Absence Management Procedures

Why are these HR documents important?


HR Policies, procedures, and employee handbooks establish clear guidelines for both the company and its employees.


Quite simply, they enhance communication and clarify expectations.

By signing them, employees commit to adhering to these established rules, preventing the common excuse of "I didn't know I couldn't do that."


4) Induction


Induction is an essential step in welcoming new employees to your business. It can range from a brief introduction on the first day to more in-depth sessions over several days or weeks. During induction, employees are familiarised with the team, site, business procedures, policies, and safety protocols.


Why are induction documents important?


Induction helps employees integrate into the company smoothly, reduces their anxieties, and fosters a sense of belonging. It ensures they understand the company's culture, policies, and expectations, enhancing their effectiveness in their new roles.


5) 121’s and supervisions


Regular job chats, supervisions, or one-on-one meetings offer a structured platform for communicating with your staff. They provide opportunities for ongoing performance evaluation, feedback, and support.

These meetings should have a loose agenda, involve notetaking, and include agreements on any formal actions.

Business 121 – image showing business job chat – the importance of recording 121’s and supervisions with HR Documents | HR CONSULTANT IN KENT


Why do I need to record these meetings?


Job meetings, however brief or informal, facilitate open communication and allow issues to be addressed before they escalate. They also support effective performance management, helping you monitor employees' progress on specific projects and tasks.

How Swan HR, your HR Consultant in Kent, can help your Kent Business


These five documents constitute the core of essential HR documents for your business. However, there are other critical HR documents to consider, such as Performance Management records, Hiring Processes documentation, Involuntary Termination protocols, Employee Data and reporting records, and more.

Feel free to reach out to Swan HR Consultancy to discuss any additional documents you may need or if you have further questions on HR documentation.

Properly managing and maintaining these documents is key to ensuring your business operates efficiently, legally, and with a strong focus on employee well-being.

Book your free HR consultation today and see how we can help streamline your business.

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