Acas uses cookies to ensure we give you the best experience and to make the site simpler. Find out more about cookies.

Website URL :

Help for small firms to get it right

If you own a small business you need to keep paper work to a minimum but not cut corners when it comes to employment law. But without any in-house HR support this can be harder said than done.

Faced with a long list of business needs - like taking on a new member of staff, changing working practices, dealing with discipline and grievances, and leading and motivating your staff - where do you start?

Check you are Getting it Right - Acas has taken the top twelve issues facing all small firms and distilled employment law and good practice into one side of A4.

Get help if you are Getting it Wrong - Early Conciliation can help if you are faced with a dispute at work

Getting it Right

Take on staff and get them settled in:

  • Recruit the right person for the job without discriminating against anyone
  • Provide an induction programme so the new employee can work safely and effectively right from the start
  • Pay the right rate for the job
  • Work out a contract of employment so everyone knows where they stand on things like holidays and pay.

Deal with day-to-day problems as they come along:

Lead, manage and motivate:

Step-by-step guidance for small firms and those new to employing people

Small firms who are thinking about taking on their first member of staff or who may have had issues with managing staff for the first time can now access step-by-step guidance from Acas.

The guidance covers:

  • Recruiting an employee
  • Settling in a new employee
  • The new employee's contract
  • Managing a complaint at work
  • Managing staff absence
  • How to get the best out of your staff.

View our Help for small firms step-by-step guidance.

Help if you are getting it wrong

If problems do arise, we are here to point you in the right direction and help solve your workplace problems quickly. And if you are faced with the prospect of an employment tribunal we have a free service, called Early Conciliation, which aims to settle disputes before they reach an employment tribunal.

Where can I get more help and guidance?

  • Acas Helpline. Call our helpline team on 0300 123 1100 from 8 - 8pm Monday to Friday, 9 - 1pm on Saturdays.
  • Use our A to Z of workplace topics to answer your questions or get it right with our advice leaflets.
  • Use our forms and templates - Acas offers free online template forms or E-learning.
  • Visit The Model Workplace, The online resource enables businesses to benchmark how good they are at people management - from staff recruitment to performance management.
  • Book a training course to develop your knowledge and skills. Acas training is affordable and on the subjects that matter to small businesses, like employing people, staff retention, handling difficult conversations, and maternity and paternity rights. Training is available throughout Great Britain.

Can Acas help you?

You can find out more about which of our services, advice and training are tailored for small businesses by contacting our Acas national and regional office addresses.

Managing in difficult times - Acas' latest advice page providing the tools to help employees and employers through the recession.

Your details: news and notifications
Customer contact form