HR Checklist for Startups

The Milestone Team January 13, 2024
HR checklist for startups

With how essential human resource departments are, you’d think every business would have one, right? Not necessarily. While HR functions are absolutely essential to the operations of any business, there isn’t any requirement that says you need an in-house team or HR software to get the job done. For startups and other small businesses, the ability to lower your overhead can mean the difference between rocketing ahead and stalling out.

That’s where outsourced HR for startups comes in. In this blog, we’ll cover the essentials of HR for tech startups (and other industries) as well as how your business can benefit from outsourced HR services.

Time to dive in!

What Are HR Needs in a Startup Company?

Like all types of companies, startups have a need for the following categories of HR roles and tasks:

  • Managing Day-to-Day Administrative Complexities
  • Overhauling Functional Areas and Pushing Specific Initiatives Across Exciting Finish Lines
  • Processing Payroll

Let’s take a closer look at the specifics of each of these categories:

What Are HR Needs in a Startup Company_

HR Department: Day-to-Day Administrative Duties

As a startup, it’s critical for the daily operations of your business to run like a well-oiled machine. An effective HR team is the key to the efficiency you need. Having clear and efficient HR processes can keep things running smoothly. Here are just some of the daily tasks that your business can’t run without:

  • Employee onboarding and offboarding
  • Employee contracts
  • Retirement benefits
  • Compliance with employment laws
  • Employee/owner relations
  • Exit interviews
  • Handbook development and delivery
  • HR compliance monitoring
  • Benefits, continuation of health benefits (COBRA), 401k, and leave administration
  • Unemployment claim administration
  • Annual personnel file audits and maintenance
  • Labor law postings
  • Performance review coordination
  • Employee engagement surveys
  • Stay interviews
  • New manager playbook
  • Quarterly business reviews

Ensuring that these tasks get done will help with attracting and retaining top talent as well as staying compliant with legal requirements. Yet, it can be tough for small HR teams to check all the boxes. If you could use some help tackling all of your HR needs, count on our experts here at Milestone to partner with your team.

Performance Management and Achieving Strategic Goals

Startups want to smash through strategic goals quickly and with excitement. You might think that doing so is the job of your product engineers and sales team, but HR also plays an essential role in growing your business. Here are a few ways that HR supports your organizational goals:

  • Total rewards and compensation management
  • Top talent acquisition and retention
  • Team member assessments
  • Learning and development initiatives
  • PEO unbundling
  • Company culture and employee engagement

HR helps ensure that everyone on your team thrives—no matter what roles they play in your organization. With the right systems in place, you can identify what’s working and what needs to change. You can then act on those findings with learning development opportunities, compensation rewards, advancement plans, and more! Ready to launch your startup forward? Contact us today to get the most out of your HR initiatives.

HR supports your organizational goals

Payroll Processing—Error Free

Money talks, especially early in a business’s growth stage. HR ensures your team feels valued by getting paid on time and without mistakes. Don’t let payment issues negatively impact morale and productivity. Ensure your startup is doing the following right:

  • Payroll scheduling and administration
  • State and local restrictions
  • System selection and implementation

Our experts have the experience your organization needs to set up and execute your payroll system right—the first time. Get in touch today to learn more.

What Are the HR Priorities in a Startup?

While it’s important to have all the roles of an HR department covered, startups should prioritize responsibilities that support the following goals:

  • Compliance with Laws and Regulations
  • Talent Acquisition
  • Talent Retention

Why do we recommend these goals for startups? Because these are some of the hardest things to get right—especially when you don’t have the resources for a fully-fledged in-house HR department. Not only are these goals difficult to achieve, they also have some of the largest impacts on your business. You won’t stay in business for long if you keep violating local and state laws, after all (even if you’re doing so unintentionally). Outsourced HR services can stay on top of rapidly changing regulations, so you don’t have to worry about bureaucratic snares slowing down your meteoric rise.

Outsourced HR services can also help with talent acquisition and retention. Here’s how:

  • Opening Assessments: HR experts consider your organizational goals and budget to see how staffing changes can improve productivity. 
  • Job Posting: Posting open positions online is a necessary way to connect with job seekers, but there’s a lot of competition out there. HR professionals know how to cut through the noise so your posting attracts job seekers and draws in applications.
  • Proactive Recruitment: HR experts can also reach out directly to job seekers. This helps you source highly qualified candidates who might not even know you’re hiring yet!
  • Professional Development: While you’re building your team, you don’t want to lose any of your valuable current employees. HR professionals can lead development initiatives that increase both morale and productivity. When you invest in your employees, they’ll return the favor. In fact, Harvard Business Review reports that “employees who get professional development are 15% more engaged and have 34% higher retention than those who don’t.” Talk about a win-win!  
  • Advancement Tracks: On top of additional training, HR experts can also help plan raises, promotions, and other advancement opportunities. These opportunities give employees something extra to strive for—and they show your team that you recognize the hard work they’re putting into your startup.
  • Stay and Exit Interviews: Your HR team keeps track of what’s going well and what needs improving when it comes to how people operate within your organization. Stay interviews identify what’s working with employees who are engaged with their work. Takeaways from these meetings inform you on what to do more of. Exit interviews are an opportunity to understand what might’ve gone wrong; that way, you can right the situation before experiencing more employee turnover.

You don’t have to do all this by yourself. Contact us to see how our team can help your team.  

What Is an HR Checklist?

An HR checklist for startups is a quick reminder of all the tasks you should have covered that fall under your HR team’s responsibility. Here’s a sample HR checklist for startups template to get you started:

What Is an HR Checklist_
  • Day-to-Day Administrative Complexities
    • Employee onboarding and offboarding
    • Employee/owner relations
    • Exit interviews
    • Handbook development and delivery
    • HR compliance monitoring
    • Benefits, continuation of health benefits (COBRA), 401k, and leave administration
    • Unemployment claim administration
    • Annual personnel file audits and maintenance
    • Labor law postings
    • Performance review coordination
    • Employee engagement surveys
    • Stay interviews
    • New manager playbook
    • Quarterly business reviews
  • Strategic HR Initiatives
    • Total rewards and compensation management
    • Top talent acquisition and retention
    • Team member assessments
    • Learning and development initiatives
    • PEO unbundling
    • Company culture and employee engagement
  • Payroll Services
    • Payroll scheduling and administration
    • State and local restrictions
    • System selection and implementation 

Is your team missing any boxes? Give us a call to learn how HR consulting for startups can check everything off!

How Do I Make an HR Checklist?

To make an HR checklist, you first need to decide what HR-related initiative you’re trying to accomplish. For example, if you’re auditing the effectiveness of your current HR system, then you can use the checklist in the above section to make sure you’re not leaving anything out. If you’re working on something more specific, such as growing your team, then your checklist should be limited to that initiative. That checklist would look more like this:

  • Determine which roles need to be filled
    • Set organizational goals
    • Allocate budget for new roles
  • Post jobs to online listing sites
    • Write job descriptions
    • Determine posting platforms
  • Implement recruitment efforts
    • Select recruiters
    • Connect with job seekers who meet qualifications
  • Conduct interviews
    • Schedule interviews
    • Decide who from your team will be on the interviews
  • Hire candidates
  • Onboard new hires
    • Complete new hire paperwork
    • Connect new hires with current team members
    • Implement training and check-in schedules  

What Is an HR Compliance Checklist?

HR compliance checklists list the requirements for the members of your company to abide by both internal organizational rules and external regulations. Internally, you should look for compliance with hiring procedures, safety policies, social networking use, hybrid/in-office work policies, and more.

Externally, these audits look for compliance with health care benefits, family, medical, and disability leave, unemployment benefits, COBRA, and more. 

What Is an HR Compliance Checklist_

What Is the Purpose of an HR Compliance Checklist?

The purpose of an HR compliance checklist is to identify shortcomings in your HR systems before they grow into significant issues. For example, evaluating employee preferences for hybrid and in-office schedules can help avoid employee turnover. 

What Is an HR Audit Checklist?

An HR checklist for an audit prepares your startup for an external party to evaluate your HR systems. An HR audit is a great way to get an unbiased opinion on what’s working in your organization and what isn’t.

Are you ready to find out what it takes to launch your startup to the next level? Ask us about conducting an HR audit.

What Should Be Included in an HR Audit Checklist?

An HR audit checklist should include:

  • Compliance
  • Best Practices
  • Performance
  • Competitiveness
  • Function-Specific Needs

With these categories, you can receive vital feedback on how to improve various aspects for your business, such as ensuring your employees follow company procedures and adjusting your compensation packages to stay competitive.

What Should Be Included in an HR Plan?

An HR plan should focus on how your HR systems can benefit your startup through a specific function. For example, you might set a goal of improving on-site safety. Your HR plan for this goal would include analyzing the current safety policies, training procedures, enforcement policies, and insurance methods in case of an accident. These plans are helpful hr tools for startups—if you aren’t currently implementing any, it’s time to enlist third-party help!

What Should Be Included in an HR Plan_

Plan for Success with Milestone’s HR Services!

HR services for startups make a fully effective HR system possible for small businesses. From planning to execution to evaluation and planning again, third-party HR experts are ready to give your team the boost you need to leap to the next level. Whether it’s managing employment contracts, addressing employee concerns, creating and editing an employee handbook, or any other HR need, it’s important to get your HR strategies right!

In the world of startups, competition is fierce. Milestone is here to turn your HR team into a competitive advantage. Get in touch to learn how.

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