Good ContractsA good employment contract isn’t an irritating legal requirement. In fact it’s not a legal requirement at all. But it is invaluable as a management tool to small business owners.

Your minimum obligations

As a minimum legal requirement you must issue employees with a written ‘statement of particulars’ containing information about some of the main terms of employment as follows.

Technically you can meet your legal requirements by putting that basic information on a bit of paper yourself, or by using a free template you could download from somewhere on the internet.

Why you need a bit more than that

Just meeting your legal requirements doesn’t get you any of the benefits a well-drafted contract can bring. You wouldn’t resort to the lowest common denominator in relation to any of the major commercial decisions of your business; why do it with your staff, your most valuable asset?

Define the relationship you want from the start.

The contract (written or otherwise) will govern the relationship between you and your employees. If you draft it right to start with, you get to set the tone of that relationship exactly how you want it to be. You get to decide how you want things to work and you get to think ahead in terms of how a contract could work for you in the future, rather than just ticking a box.

A well-drafted contract will enable, not restrict you

Many people think writing lots down will constrain you. In fact it will enable you to manage staff in the way you see fit and with clarity of expectations on both sides. It will support you when you need to make tough decisions by building your right to make those decisions into the contract.

Look to the future

Your staff might be with you a long time and you don’t know at the start how your relationship with them is going to develop or how the business might grow and change. The contract you issue at the start will remain in force for the duration of the employment and amending terms and conditions or imposing new ones isn’t straightforward and risks souring relationships with valued staff. A little forethought and some decent drafting at the beginning saves all that.

A well drafted contract will guide business owners in managing their staff effectively, avoid as far as possible problems arising in the employment relationship and deal with them quickly and effectively when they do.

If you want some advice about a contract for your business, do get in touch.