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In the Spotlight with EZHR: Providing Vital Legal & HR Support for Manchester's Startups

At Manchester Digital, we like to interview our members to find out a bit more about what they do and their work in the Greater Manchester digital and technology sphere. This week we're speaking with Alastair Swindlehurst, Founder at EZHR based in Greater Manchester.

What services does your company provide specifically for startups and early stage businesses?

EZHR supports businesses with simple and useful solutions for their people, HR and employment law queries. We work with founders and their teams not only to come up with simple solutions but also to deploy them in a way that works for you and the business. Our experience means that we can support on a broad range of people issues whether it's contracts of employment or contractors, onboarding and probation, the day-to-day issues of performance and disciplinary or the tough decisions. EZHR offers access to documents and support that gets the right commercial outcome for its users.

How can good intentions sometimes create tricky legal situations for new companies?

It can happen in many different ways, often it offers enhanced bonuses, notice periods and job titles it can limit how you grow as a business or just create a tricky obligation that can be difficult to unpick i.e. making all your founding team Chiefs.  While many businesses can choose how they recognise and reward people the challenge becomes keeping a lid on things, and if someone is significantly better supported than another it can become incredibly divisive in small teams. Our approach is not to stop our clients from doing these things, but to look at why you’re doing certain things, understand the reason why and then look at if there are other solutions and how we blend this all together.

What advice do you commonly give to founders around contracts, policies, IP protection etc?

Be intentional. Many people will buy one contract and just rinse and repeat it. If you want to protect your IP, your processes and former employees from attacking your clients and pipeline you need to structure your business with the right contracts. It doesn’t need to be complicated but the right tweaks in your contracts of employment and commercial agreements can give you so much more layers of protection for the things that are important to you and the ability to challenge those things.     

How do you support and give back to the Manchester startup community as a whole?

We believe that we have be part of this community, we offer a lot of free events, guides and updates so people can access information. Also, we’re involved with a number of start-up programmes and we also just chat to a number of founders to help them kick the tyres on certain issues. We just try to do the right thing and support those around us.    

What successes are you most proud of in supporting Manchester's startup ecosystem?

We have a client who is about to hit Series A, we worked with them just before they started their last investment round to try and get things tidied up. They had quite a narrow view of how we could support but we’ve got them set up and structured in the right way, best of all we have a really positive relationship. They also now engage EZHR really early because they know we have the experience and knowledge to make things simpler whether its to do with people or funding.

Thank you Alastair!

To find out more about EZHR click here.

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