Recruiting your first employee can be very scary…exciting, of course, but also overwhelming.
Where do you start?
What do I need?
How much do I need to pay them (please don’t ask yourself ‘how little can I get away with paying them…’ as I guarantee it’ll end in tears (usually yours!)
I know that it’s a time when you realise how far you’ve come. However, I also know how daunting it can be as you’ll have all sorts of questions flowing through your already busy mind.
Plus it is scary handing over some responsibility for your business to somebody new. After all, until now only you were accountable to you. Just you knew if you achieved everything on your to-do list today.
It’s also a time when you need to understand what’s involved so that you can handle your duties and obligations as an employer.
Here are a few points that you need to consider when hiring your first employee:
What is this person going to do to help you master more on your to-do list?
Take a look at your to-do list for tomorrow.
How many of the tasks listed have been on there since last week, last month?
Are they super urgent but you don’t have time in the day to do everything you intend to do?
Then perhaps those tasks create a precise job description for this first employee?
I know we business owners have every intention of mastering everything we list on our to-do lists, Evernote or Google tasks… seriously, if there are things you wanted to make happen and just haven’t got round to yet, those tasks can be taken off your desk and actioned by your first employee.
Are they going to be better than you at some of the tasks that until now only you were responsible for?
I’d hope so, otherwise, why are you hiring them.
Ideally, you want someone who is a doer.
They are given tasks and achieve them, quickly, accurately and without fuss.
Your first employee can easily think on their feet. It is their default status. They don’t need any micro-management at all.
There is crystal clear clarity over their and your role in the business (yes, write yourself a job description so your first employee, and you, know what you’re there to do).
Do you need to like your new member of staff?
You’re not looking for a new best friend
But you do need to like the person you’re entrusting with tasks which will drive your business forward
NB. You may not agree with how they get through their to-do list, but you love the outcomes they deliver
Thinking about hiring a mini-me?
Do NOT do it.
Please. Just don’t.
Many business owners think they need to hire a mini version of themselves as their first employee – y’know, up until now it’s been only you and so to split your role and give over some of your tasks means you must need someone like you…. wrong!
I refer you to the answer I gave a few moments ago about your to-do list and achieving things you’re not currently doing. You need a doer, not an ideas creator like yourself.
Some practical things you need to consider:
Do you need a full-time new employee?
Don’t wait until you have enough work to fill your new employee’s time for 37.5/40 hours full-time per week
Would 10-20 hours be useful? If so, do you need a daily resource or can they work 20 hours over three days each week?
It’s crucial to explore this avenue as it will have an impact on the number of interested people in your talent pool.
Not all part-timers want to work five days a week, and not all will want to push all their part-time hours in fewer days.
Assess what your business needs – could you (or your customers) ‘cope’ if they worked Monday to Wednesday and they were not back in the office again until Monday?
There is an argument that sometimes your first hire is not an employee (PAYE = employee), but a virtual assistant who takes the load off for you in certain aspects of your to-do list. There are lots of sites such as fiverr and PeopleperHour where you can find temporary support for projects and tasks which need to be cleared off your desk.
I know some business owners who have had tremendous success hiring a virtual assistant (VA) via platforms such as the Filipino site OnlineJobs.ph and Timeetc based in the UK. Here at Your People Partners, we’ve used both Mi-PA and AVirtual to great effect (seriously, my to-do list is much easier to handle when our VA helps me out!)
When do I start the recruitment process?
Hire them when you know you have the cash flow to cover three months of their salary, NI and pension contributions (all employers must pay pension contributions unless the employee opts out), phone, office space etc.
Having them on board should usually mean that you will have more time for business development and marketing activities which therefore means having your first employee will help you grow revenue or develop multiple revenue streams.
They’ll be a cost to the business initially, but once your new availability turns into revenue, then you’ll be slapping yourself on the back for hiring them.
Do not wait for ‘the right time’. Once you decide to hire, go for it once you have clarity over what you need (see all the info above to work this out!)
Do I need to spend lots of money on recruitment fees to an agency?
There are ways you can do this hiring yourself if you have clarity over who you need, what skills the person needs, what attitude and experience they have and how much you’re going to pay them.
Don’t advertise the job description.
They tend to rather grey and dull.
Write a job advert which is similar to how you would market to a new customer.
Be personable, honest and talk frankly about who you’re looking for, and also tell people what you don’t want. You have more chance of attracting the right people and detracting those you don’t want by spending some time writing your job advert.
Using sites like Indeed can work very well for low-cost options but only if your advert is on point. If it’s too broad and has no salary range on the job advert, good luck with fielding far too many applicants who are wishy-washy … a little bit like your advert!
Alternatively, our Candidate Shortlist Generation service is a low-cost, stress-free way of removing some of the pain and cost involved in hiring.
We will only offer this service if we’re confident you know how to pick up from where we left off, i.e. at your interview stage through to offering the new job to your preferred candidate and then onboarding and ensuring a successful probationary period.
Check whether the applicant is suitable
Once you have selected your hire, you may want to check whether they have the right to work in the UK.
You should also check whether there are any other checks required before you hire them – for example, if they are to work with children, you’ll need to look into their background more deeply and even secure a police report which is known as a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service).
Provide a statement of employment (JD)
A statement of employment is a written document that provides the employee with the conditions of their employment. This must be sent to them within two months of starting work.
The list of tasks which you too off your to-do list and transferred onto their job description is the basis for this new role with your company, and ideally, this should have been discussed at interview and when sending the contract across to them.
It is a working document which is continuously reviewed throughout the probationary period so that you and your new employee know where you’re up to and where the holes are.
Contract of Employment
Also, your new member of staff needs an employment contract.
This will detail what the rights of the employee are in addition to their responsibilities and working conditions. You will also need to specify what the rights are of yourself as the employer. Surprisingly, the latter does not have to be written, but its contents will remain in effect until employment either ends or conditions change.
Please, please, please do not wing it and forego written contracts. You’ll nearly always regret it if you take a shortcut on this.
Will you need additional business insurance?
This type of insurance will protect your business if employees hurt themselves or fall ill while at work. Unless you run your business with close family members only working for you, then it’s essential to take out Employers’ Liability to cover yourself.
Register with HMRC as an employer
As the business owner, your accountant very likely has you signed up with minimum salary per year and then dividends for your income. You may or may not be registered as an employer depending on how you pay yourself so ask your accountant.
You need to do this within four weeks of taking on your employee.
You’ll be held responsible for deducting any PAYE (income tax) and National Insurance Contributions (NIC) from the salaries of your staff.
In addition to paying your staff, you should become aware of your Health and Safety obligations as an employer, in addition to workplace pension schemes which are a must even if you only have one member of staff.
Also check out what applies when it comes to sick pay, holiday pay and maternity/paternity leave rules.
If things don’t work out as planned, then ensure you understand what’s involved in dismissing employees so that you aren’t taken to the employment tribunal (we also provide a supportive, proactive HR service and we can help you minimise problems before you get to this stage).
Once you look into your legal obligations, you can then begin to work on the path of training your employee for the role at hand and start to enjoy the benefits of having more time on your hands to continue to build the business.
If all this leaves you feeling decidedly scared and overwhelmed about where to start, call Your People Partners.
It’s why we’re here.
We exist for you, and to reduce your stress when hiring people!
Ask for further help or a sanity check from Your People Partners if you are in this position where you’re jumping in with both feet and employing your first member of staff.