Starting a business can be incredibly challenging and exciting – and hiring your first employee can be incredibly daunting. However, once your business becomes successful and moves away from the “start-up” mentality to become a more traditional functioning organisation. It requires you, as a business owner, to give up task-based responsibility to help you to focus on your business and the growth potential therein. This can be difficult – the letting-go part can be problematic for many start-up entrepreneurs. Remember, you can’t do everything. So, let’s find out how to best recruit your first member of staff.
Understanding That You Need Help – Hiring Your First Employee The Right Way
When you run a business solo, you do everything. Undertaking the next step within your business’s unique growth journey means taking on an employee – this is a big step. It comes with challenges and legal responsibilities. You also need to think about cash flow – if you take an employee on too early it can harm your business but likewise if you wait too late it can damage your growth potential. Furthermore, delegating control of key business processes and functions can be difficult (yes, we mean answering the phones and replying to emails). You are giving up a bit of you and how you delivered these processes when you hire someone. This is a challenging period both personally for you as a business owner and professionally for the business.
There are “signs” that you need to begin the process of hiring your first employee to help your business grow. These can be task-specific like having trouble marketing, doing the accounts or understanding sales. These are specialist roles and you shouldn’t think of yourself as a Jack of all trades. You should focus on your brand and your business’s future and delegate responsibility to help your business grow. Are you turning down work because of capacity issues – this is a tell-tale sign that you need extra help and support. Have you found a new revenue stream but don’t have the capacity to develop it further? These experiences point towards the need to recruit a new member of staff.
The Four Steps of Recruiting Your First Member of Staff
Step One – Define the Role
You and your new employee need to make sure that tasks/processes are done and done correctly. Also, you need to make sure there is no replication. Then you need to sit down and define what you are giving up and how the new employee will undertake that role. List what you want them to do and how this links with the expected salary. This will be the job description. You need detail, clarity but a little space for ambiguity to help redefine the role during future growth periods. Take a moment to think about the tasks, the hours it will take and then the cost associated – then you need to think about the National Minimum Wage and also specific salary needs. You won’t get a salesperson on minimum wage but you could hire a personal assistant at the National Minimum Wage. So, be realistic. Once you have the job description, the hours of work and the salary – and therein you have checked the cash flow to see if you can afford the long-term responsibility, you are ready for the next step.
Step Two – Advertising the Role and Hiring Your First Employee
You can use free platforms like Indeed UK to advertise the job along with Facebook and Twitter along with your company’s website. You need to make sure your website is tidy and that professionally your company looks presentable. Think about it. Would you work for you if you didn’t look like a professional business? So, advertise the role professionally. Be clear in the advertisement. State the tasks involved with the daily duties, the salary amount and contact details if people wish to query the advert with you directly.
Step Three – Sifting & Interviewing (and Accepting the Best Candidate)
You now need to sit down and go through all the C.V.’s and applications to find the right candidate. You also need to verify they have the skills necessary and that they are who they say they are in relation to past work experience. The first thing you should do is to place a verification marker in your application advert. You might have seen these adverts whereby the recruiter wants you to end the application using a keyword – like a car, logistics, monkey it could literally be anything. This makes sifting easy as those who didn’t read the ad in full can be quickly side-lined. This reduces the bulk of your sifting as 90% won’t read ads and personalise applications accordingly which makes hiring your first employee a bit easier.
Once you have shortlisted five candidates, you need to interview them and to do this you need to test their skills and aptitude within a controlled environment. The interview is in this environment. This is where a task-based exercise will help further sift those who “say” they can do a task and those who “can” do a task correctly. So, by asking a series of task/aptitude questions along with a work-based exercise you can make sure you further sift the candidate lists to find the right one that matches both the job description and your own company’s ethos and values.
Step Four – Hiring Your First Employee the Righ Way
You will need an Employee Handbook, a Contract of Employment and a Health & Safety at Work Manual. All sounds complex – but they can be found freely online. You need to make sure their place of work has fire safety standards and a full risk assessment. Therefore, employing people is so difficult. You need to make sure you have the right insurance and the building is safe – because you are liable if anything goes wrong as their employer. So, start off the proper way and don’t cut corners. Sign a contract, agree on terms and then make sure the place of work is safe and documented in terms of fire exits and when they will be paid, etc. in an employee handbook that they have access to. This is crucial. Finally, make sure they understand they are recruited on a probationary period of three to six months. If they don’t cut it they can be legally let go without any issue. Once these technicalities are agreed they can begin, and you can make them welcome on their first day! Hiring your first employee should be a breeze after you read this step-by-step guide?
If you would like additional employee support and help with creating a payroll solution, understanding employee National Insurance contributions and more. We can help. Call us today on 0203 773 2927 to find out more.