Work Hard

Louise Kennedy from Oculus HR on why a good employee onboarding process can impact your business growth

Owner and Director Louise Kennedy shares how HR consultants can help when employing new staff (even if it's your first employee) and everything you need to know about a new starter checklist.

Written by Rachael Nichol
Published 20.01.2023

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People are the most important asset in any business.

When it comes to Human Resources (HR), it’s often assumed that it’s only for larger companies. But no matter what size your business is, HR plays a vital role in your company’s growth and your employees’ and your own wellbeing.

And that’s where HR consultancy can take the pressure off.

As an entrepreneur or small business owner, it can be tempting to do it all, but it can be hard to focus on your company’s growth and people management at the same time.

With so many HR consultants out there, it can be hard to find one you can trust, that holds similar values to your own business. Introducing, Oculus HR.

Owner and Director, Louise Kennedy, and her dedicated team support businesses and their employees by providing forward-thinking and bespoke services focused on your business values and helping your company grow.

With an impressive reputation (most of their work comes from referrals), at the heart of Oculus HR are morals and ethics. They guarantee to treat both the business owners and their employees as equals.

People management is at the forefront of Oculus HR, and that’s why Louise Kennedy and HR consultants offer on-site support, providing a trustworthy face for any concerns or discussing a way forward.

Plus, their law expert is always available to put you at ease and provide advice to ensure you understand your levels of risk for all situations.

We caught up with Louise Kennedy, Director of Oculus HR, to find out how her HR consultancy can improve your onboarding process for employees and she tells us everything we need to know about the new starter checklist.

What is HR?

We provide a bespoke offering to our clients based on what they need for their size of business. We discuss their needs and the level of support and then offer either a monthly retained service, project work or ad hoc support when needed. It is important that we understand the business and what they want or need to provide to their employees.


Why is HR important to all businesses big and small?

No matter what size your business is, you need to get it right from the beginning –  people are your most important asset.

If you take on a new employee for the first time and you provide them with a contract of employment, it sets the foundations for your working relationship, establishing what is expected by both the employer and the employee. It starts to create a culture that will develop as the business grows.

Our experience enables us to help you develop and put in place the standards and expectations of your business, which help to create your company’s values. Once culture and values are created then you can identify whom you need in the business and who is a good fit for the role you have to offer. You can then underpin your values into all aspects of the role, from job descriptions, handbooks, appraisals and ways of working.

What does HR bring to a business?

Structure and, very importantly, the support that managers and business owners need. So many employers or managers don’t know what to say, how to say it or when it is the best time to say it.

On many occasions, this means they don’t say anything to challenge or discuss a concern with an employee. We provide that sounding board on rights and wrongs. We will always give the variables of risk in each situation so the employer can be fully informed before making decisions.


How can HR help employees?

HR consultants make a difference to employees within a business too. With many situations recently, we know that the support we have advised to the business has changed people’s lives.

Whether that be a change to their job role or the company providing/paying for private counselling services, or someone being removed from the business who has been involved in situations that have directly impacted other employees (i.e. bullying).



What is the onboarding process?

Onboarding is how you bring recruits into the business and integrate them into their new roles. This includes setting up their workstation and ensuring they have what they need to be able to start the role. They can meet managers and colleagues and familiarise themselves with the workplace.

It is also the opportunity to explain to them the standards and expectations within the business, the culture and values. You can also explain the probation period process, what review points will be put in place and who can support them as they start the company and the role.

It is very important to ensure that employees have their contract of employment on day one, along with any of their new starter forms. There are certain documents you must have on file for an employee and other which are best practice.

Why is successfully onboarding new employees so crucial for a business?

It starts to put the company values at the heart of how the business is managed, at a point when people are very receptive to their new role. Employees know what to expect and what the company has to offer. It makes people feel part of the team quicker. The more you can integrate someone into the role at an early stage the more engagement people will get from them.

Why is good onboarding important for employees?

Essentially, employees will feel engaged with the business more quickly, as they understand their role and expectations.

People understand the ways of working, which is then supported by documentation such as their contract of employment and the company handbook, advising of the business culture, who they are and to whom they deliver their service or product.

It is reported to increase employee engagement, productivity and retention, improve the quality of work, makes employees accountable and in the longer term, provides a return on investment.


Answering all the questions on a new starter checklist is key. This involves providing a wide range of information due to the nature of the questions. You’ll be able to find an HMRC starter form online for guidance or to print out.

  1. Employee personal details

In the first six questions of the new starter checklist, the employee enters their personal information including full name, gender, date of birth, full address and national insurance number.

  1. Employment start date

This establishes when an employee’s first paid day of work was and therefore the date on which the employee received the relevant tax code.

  1. Employee statement

The employee chooses from three options of financial situations on the form (i.e. first job since 6th April, if they’re receiving state benefit or if have another job). This selection is key to ensuring that the individual receives the correct tax code.

  1. Student loans

These two questions relate to the employee’s student loan status and what their position is regarding repayment.

  1. Declaration

This final section confirms that, to their knowledge, everything on the form is accurate, true and doesn’t include misleading information. The employee dates the document, writes their name and then signs it.


People are the greatest asset in your business. Everyone is different, and a good understanding of this means you can treat people in the most appropriate way for them – understanding their circumstances and how these fit with your business needs.

Building strong relationships with employees will only serve to benefit your business.



If you’re a business owner and want to know more about Oculus HR, visit their website.

Follow Oculus HR’s Facebook page and Twitter for updates on Louise Kennedy’s and the team’s work.

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