HR Policies: Tips for Start-up Companies

Creating a product for your customers, understanding their pain points, or continuing to be passionate are some of the items you will find on the to-do list of start-up companies. Your business won’t matter much if you’re not pushing products out the door. You’re always ensuring that your operations are addressing the needs of your customers.

You don’t find on the top of the list, one that says, “Develop HR policies or personnel policies.” This usually comes a year or two after the company has been in operation. Often, policies are developed because issues are already cropping up. Your business is now in this situation. So you call a family lawyer in Lynwood to ask for advice.

When to Start

Entrepreneurs typically start alone with an idea. Maybe there’s a partner. Think of Jobs and Wozniak; and Gates and Allen. Then you add two or three people.  Before you know it, you’re already employing 25 people!

Ideally, the “when” should happen on the first day. But that’s not realistic in the life of an organization. If you just hired your sixth personnel and growth is on the horizon, it’s time to seriously start thinking about policies and procedures that will govern the organization. By your tenth hire, an initial draft should already be in place.

More people in the company means more people are talking. The worst kind of talks are those fueled by the lack of clarity that governs employee behavior. Why do I have to work on a holiday? How come she got a commission, and I didn’t?

If not arrested, the issues you will have to deal with will compound regularly.

How to Start

You’re probably already facing some issues. Do not be overwhelmed. You don’t need to re-invent the wheel. You can adopt policies that can be found online. But make sure that you do the work to make it applicable for your business and your industry.

Another approach is to think of the journey of your employees. Each point in that journey is a topic in the HR policy. First, they are hired, then they remain as an employee, and at some point, they exit the company.

Upon hiring, you expound your recruitment policies.  Are you an equal opportunities employer? Developing a code of conduct dictates how employees should behave. This is the middle part. When they resign, they need to follow a process as well, from turning over equipment to participating in an exit interview. This is the end part.

You can also write up your policies based on the following items:

  1. People (e.g., the code of conduct, alcohol and drug prohibition, harassment, etc.)
  2. Benefits (e.g., bonuses, leaves, food, wellness programs, etc.)
  3. Staff Development (e.g., attendance in training or conference, secondment, etc.)
  4. Administration and Facilities (e.g., use of equipment, internet access, etc.)

People working planning a startup


Get key stakeholders to participate, primarily if your team has grown significantly. At a meeting, get feedback from the different heads and find out what their staff is saying. You must understand the pulse of your employees.

It might take you several revisions before having the final draft completed. You should dedicate time to the development of HR policies.

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