My top tips: Ben Summerskill, chief executive, Stonewall

You don't necessarily need an HR officer

We deliberately decided against recruiting one. In the past three years we have doubled in size to 40 staff. One of our trustees, Jacqueline Davies, is group head of talent at the Royal Bank of Scotland. She advised us to wait until we have 100 staff.

Make sure managers know their responsibilities Managers might be tempted to think that they don't have to manage problems if they know there's an HR team waiting to sort them out. It might also act as a disincentive to trying to avoid problems in the first place.

Consider an open-plan office It means that problems are picked up quickly. When problems do arise, we have a line-management structure: if you can't raise an issue with your manager, you can raise it with your manager's manager. We would also take outside professional advice where necessary.

Make sure people are clear about their roles and those of the charity Disagreements tend to arise when people are not absolutely clear about what they are doing or don't understand what outcomes they are supposed to deliver.

Improve your recruitment to achieve a mixed workforce If the job specification is too narrow when you are recruiting, you could miss out on high-calibre candidates. It just takes a small leap of imagination to see people's potential. Commitment is important, but it's also important that people are good at their jobs as well as being passionate about what they do.

Work at your professional relationships We haven't had any serious HR-related problems in the past four years. As with all human relationships, you have to work hard to make sure that things run smoothly. Managers and those who are managed have a responsibility to contribute to mature working relationships.

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