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By Sabrina Kelly, Techstars Vice President of Talent

At Techstars, we define our mission in People Ops as the following: “We are strategic partners in building Techstars business by maximizing the value of our most important asset—our people. We attract, retain, develop, and support Techstars employees globally and aim to uphold our culture and values, in a manner that is inclusive to all.” 

As the VP of Talent and former VP of People Ops, I hear a lot of questions from founders. This series aims to answer the most frequent questions. 

Q: How do we make sure we’re not breaking a bunch of laws?

Spend the money to hire an employment consultant early on to handle your initial setup. 

There is a lot of “stuff” that, if you can it get set up properly early on, will save you from worrying much until you get closer to the 25+ employee mark. There are a ton of companies and consultants that specialize in employment law, so you should be able to find someone pretty easily by running a search or tapping your network. (I highly recommend checking in with the Techstars Talent team for a referral!) 

A strong employment consultant can easily handle stuff like ensuring you have compliant payroll and benefits systems, building an employee handbook, and drafting all of the templates and processes (offers, contracts, separations, etc.) that you’ll need to handle different scenarios compliantly as they come up. You’ll likely pay a one-time fee for a compliance audit and some additional set up work (+/- $5K), but for the time and headaches it will save you down the line, it’s totally worth it. Once you have that relationship, you’ll also benefit from knowing that you have employment counsel you can call if you run into any complicated situations along the way. 

Today, a lot of payroll and HRIS vendors have all-in-one solutions where they offer additional services to support compliance and give advice on employment processes, so it’s worth looking into what you might already have available to you. Another option is a Professional Employer Organization, more commonly referred to as a “PEO,” that can manage all payroll, benefits, and employment compliance for you. They will charge a fee as a percentage of payroll that’s likely more expensive than other options, but it’s an all-in-one solution that can be particularly helpful if you plan to set up operations in multiple geographies.  

Whichever path you choose, the moral of the story is that labor law is complex (and different) in every geography. It’s really easy to get into trouble without the right guidance early on, so invest early in external help and you’ll be in good shape until you need to hire HR in-house. 

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Techstars Talent enables you to build highly successful teams! Check out what Techstars Talent can do for you. 

This piece was originally published on Techstars Stories.


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