Organic shop: how to deal with your HR responsibilities when managing a team?

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As the manager of your sustainable and/or organic shop, you’ve decided to hire one or more employees. 

 

This decision is important because it enables you to develop your business faster, share tasks, save time and enjoy all the benefits of having a team.

 

But having employees also involves plenty of constraints and additional work which needs to be undertaken on a regular basis and without making mistakes. Otherwise, your company could get into trouble with the law and the authorities!

 

In this article, I will provide an overview of your main HR tasks and responsibilities. I will also help you to decide whether or not you need to work with a company specialising in HR.

 

However, this article does not cover management in itself (e.g. how to motivate and manage your team).

 

In practice, what tasks are involved when it comes to managing your employees?

This first part provides you with a list of specific tasks when it comes to the HR responsibilities of managing your team. I should point out that I am an entrepreneur, not an employment lawyer, so what follows is practical feedback, rather than a list written by an expert on the subject.

 

Hiring

When hiring your employee, a number of tasks need to be completed, in accordance with the legislation in your country. In France, for example, you must make a declaration of employment via an online form.

 

In addition, you need to declare your new employee to social security authorities and other bodies (including Urssaf).

 

You also need to draw up an employment contract which complies with your country’s laws.

 

The situation is similar in most European countries.

 

You must also welcome your employee to the team and have him/her sign a number of documents on arrival (the collective labour agreement which applies to your company may also influence these legal obligations), including a document confirming that the employee has been able to read the aforementioned collective labour agreement :)

 

Pay

Every month, you must pay your employees’ salaries, if you want to keep them motivated and comply with the law :)

 

To do this, you must:

  • monitor absences, paid leave and hours worked,
  • calculate expenses to be reimbursed, bonuses and other variable or exceptional costs,
  • work out the applicable salary,
  • prepare pay slips,
  • send them to your employees,
  • pay your employees on time.

 

It may look simple on paper but is more difficult in practice: you mustn’t forget anything and preparing a payslip is actually a highly skilled task because the legislation changes regularly.

 

I strongly advise you to outsource this to an HR company, unless you have a large number of employees and decide to create an in-house HR team.

 

Legal declarations

As we’ve already mentioned, there are mandatory declarations to be made when hiring an employee.

 

But over the course of your employee’s working life in your shop, other declarations may need to be made:

  • in the event of an accident at work,
  • in the event of prolonged illness,
  • in the event of conflict leading to problems in the company,
  • etc.

 

There’s also a risk of forgetting things and making mistakes with this.

 

Healthcare, personal insurance and pension contributions

Your employees also deserve health and pension benefits.

 

This usually involves offering a health insurance scheme, a supplementary pension scheme and other benefits.

 

As an entrepreneur, you need to master these not-so-simple subjects and carry out the corresponding administrative tasks.

 

Additional benefits

You may also decide to give your employees other benefits, such as:

  • meal vouchers,
  • gift vouchers,
  • holiday vouchers,
  • discounts on your shop’s products,
  • etc.

 

All these benefits take a little time to set up and monitor, but they aren’t particularly complicated and you can usually handle them yourself.

 

Statutory displays

A company must display various compulsory information on the premises in an area which is visible to employees; this includes the applicable collective labour agreement, the contact details of the occupational doctor, working hours, internal regulations, any standards and regulations relating to safety and hygiene, etc.

 

If your premises are inspected by the employment authorities and do not have these statutory displays, you will be fined!

 

And this list, I should point out, is not exhaustive. There are other HR tasks to be carried out and some are specific to certain businesses.

 

Should these HR tasks be outsourced or brought in-house?

As you can see, there are significant HR tasks to be carried out; if you’re not used to them, they can be a significant source of stress and take a lot of time.

 

It’s a good idea to ask yourself the following question: should I outsource this task to an HR company?

 

In our view, the answer to this question is: it depends!

 

The answer depends on several factors:

  1. the size of your team: how many employees do you have? If you have a large team, it may be cost-effective and worthwhile to hire a specialised HR manager to take over all these tasks.
  2. the time you can devote to it: if you have a small team, you need to consider whether you’re already overwhelmed by the day-to-day running of your shop. If this is the case, spending time on HR matters can be a big mistake and it’s best to ask for help.
  3. the budget you can allocate to outsourcing: working with an HR company represents an additional monthly outgoing. You need to determine whether you have enough cash to cover this expense.
  4. the HR skills you have: some of you, dear readers, may have a background in human resources, in which case you may be able to handle this task yourself without any problems.

 

To be clear, if you have a small shop with one or a few employees, I think it would be very useful, even essential, to ask an external firm to carry out all the tasks which require a high level of expertise and/or which represent a legal risk.

 

For example, a poorly drafted employment contract may cause serious problems with your employee, who could turn against you and cause significant legal and financial damage to your business.

 

You should also be aware that many accounting firms now offer to manage the “social” or HR aspects of your business for you. When choosing your accounting firm, I would encourage you to choose a company which can also help with HR, even if you don’t intend to hire employees immediately!

 

This will enable you to benefit from your accounting firm’s expertise if you need it later.

 

In conclusion, in most cases, you can carry out some simple HR tasks for a small shop, such as paying employees’ wages. But for others, I strongly advise contacting experts, if your budget allows it!

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