MLN Economic Development Partner 


Practical advice on people management

One of the most complex and potentially problematic areas for any business owner is employing people. Small businesses in particular, which rarely have a dedicated human resources manager, can struggle with keeping on top of employment regulations, developing policies and creating the required documents when employing staff.

Invest Northern Ireland can help. It has created an Employers’ Handbook which gives clear and comprehensive guidance on people management issues. The handbook also contains legally compliant sample documents such as employment contracts, job descriptions, forms and HR policies. It is free to download from Invest NI’s website and from

Invest NI client companies can also benefit from workshops and one-to-one advice offered by the agency’s People Solutions Advisors. The areas that the advisors can help with range from assisting businesses to create effective organisational structures, to employment law.

Niall Casey, Invest NI’s Director of Skills and Strategy, says: “Many businesses need support to put in place the policies and procedures required when taking on staff. We can provide advice and practical support for the employment process covering creating job descriptions and person specifications, advertising, interviewing, reference checking and selecting the right candidate for the job.

“And the support doesn’t stop once people are in post. We can help with all areas of staff management to help businesses stay compliant with legislation and get the most out of their staff.” 

Common topics that businesses seek advice on are terms and conditions of employment, redundancies, terminations, absence, discipline, changes to legislation, managing poor performance, health and safety, employment law, equality and fair employment, and TUPE. The advisors can outline best practice in these areas as well as help businesses address their specific circumstances. 

“Effective staff management is not all about policies and procedures. A vital element is encouraging and enabling staff to perform to the best of their ability. We can help businesses to put in place performance management systems and reward and remuneration structures that best suit their needs and will help them attract and retain quality staff,” says Niall Casey.

The People Solutions Advisors can also help with specialist areas such as family businesses and succession planning.

“Northern Ireland has many family businesses and they have unique issues to deal with. These include managing the dynamics of family and non-family members, ensuring that people are appointed based on their capability and not their position in the family and that the business is able to let go of family traditions which are no longer effective,” says Niall Casey.

“One of the most important issues for any family business is succession planning. It is a difficult area given the complex and interlocking financial and non-financial aspects of a family business. Our advisors can work with companies to help them plan for and develop leadership talent to assume key senior management positions within the company in the future.”

For more information about Invest NI’s People Solutions Advisors call 0800 181 4422.  From time to time Invest NI runs free workshops on human resources topics. Information on these workshops is given at

The content of this article is provided for information purposes and does not constitute professional or other advice.

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