Developing HR Policies for a startup.

It’s best to keep a tab on organisation’s need - employees and businesses expectations. HR policies and processes have to maintain a good balance between business & people priorities.

Once your startup plans to or has added a few employees, it may be a good time to start thinking about getting the HR policies & process in place. To start with, it helps with your hiring efforts. It helps you and your recruiter address the queries and concerns of prospective employees and job applicants. This also helps the new employees trust your organisation as a planned an organised system, rather than an ad-hoc system. Let’s check out typical approaches for developing hr policies for a startup.


  1. Get a detailed handbook – policies & processes created from scratch?
  2. Get the policy & processes of different companies from friends & contacts and rehash one of them to suit your business.
  3. Do it over a period of time – as the business evolves, and as and when there is a need that justifies the documentation of relevant guidelines.

Approach 1: From Scratch

  • It’s a good thing if you have a justifiable need and budget to get it created from scratch.
  • At a startup stage, this may be expensive with almost a nil ROI.
  • This may be time consuming, and at the early stage of business, it’s better to focus on other priorities – like creating products, making money and adding clients.
  • If the organisation has only a handful of employees, these policies won’t have a validation, against employees and organisational need. They will mostly be hypothetical and based on assumptions.

Approach 2: Rehashed policies

  • This may not be expensive, but this may also not be too relevant. 
  • Every business is unique, and the needs are unique.
  • Even if all policy documents look the same, it helps to think what’s relevant for your business.
  • You may want to get inspired and benchmark with others, but copy paste edit is not recommended.

Approach 3: Do it step by step – as and when you see a need.

Developing HR Policies framework by
  • Do it in phases.
  • Start from essential ones, that impact the employee immediately upon joining. (For example: Holidays, leave, work timings etc.)
  • Keep adding to it, as and when you see a need, or pre-empt a need.
  • It’s best to keep a tab on organisational need – employees and businesses expectations.
  • HR policies and processes have to maintain a good balance between business & people.
  • Some policies and processes also need to align with government mandated statutory compliances, and related provisions as applicable in matters of the business, and in the concerned geography.

I normally recommend Approach 3 ( Do it in phases) for developing HR Policies for a startup. Take your call based on what works for you, your people and your business.

Praveen Mishra

Praveen is the Founder and Principal Consultant at Khedge Business Consulting Pvt Ltd. He works with organisations in areas of business strategy and human-resource management. Over the last 15 years he has helped various organisations with their HR processes, structure, alignment and effectiveness; and talent strategy and processes. You can connect with him at 


What's your take on this post ? Comment: