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  • Sally Brandon

Hiring your first employee

You took the leap of faith and started your own business. It's successful and begins to grow. Now you are at a stage where you can't do it all yourself and need some help but hiring an employee (especially your first can be both exciting and daunting).

I am currently supporting one of my clients with this exact scenario so I thought I would share his guide – it will talk you through everything you need to know so that you can hire with confidence.

Here’s everything you need to know

Step 1: Let’s talk about the cost of hiring your new employee vs not hiring at all and why having a People Plan can help you decide

Deciding to hire someone for the first time is a big decision and you’ve probably been thinking about the benefits, disadvantages and costs for a while now.

  • Can the business afford to pay someone else?

  • Will their value pay for their costs?

  • Can I do all of the work myself?

  • Will I be stuck if I don’t hire someone?

Only you can make this decision, with the help of your accountant, business mentor and of course, me, your ‘People Partner’.

HR isn’t just about the legal stuff and firing people. HR consultants, or People Partners can help you grow your business by creating a People Plan.

This is a plan on how other people will help you to achieve your business goals.

Here’s a bit of expert advice…

  • Before you hire your first employee, be really clear with what goals your business is trying to achieve and exactly how this new hire is going to help you get there.

  • Go as far as writing down exactly what your new hire will be doing for you and how that specific action is going to help. For instance, do you want to free up more of your time so you can do XYZ, or keep clients happy so that they stay with you for longer?

That way, you can hire with confidence, knowing exactly how and when you’ll see a return from your investment.

If you need some help thinking this through, I’d be happy to help you create a People Plan.

Step 2: Now it’s time to find the right person for the job

Creating an awesome job advert will help you find the perfect person for the job. Here’s my advice…

Do your research

You want to attract the best person for the job and you want the recruitment process to be nice and smooth, so doing your research and getting everything right from the start will help you.

Here’s some things you need to research:

  • Job title: What job title are people likely to be searching for? Use this in your job description.

  • Salary: What are other employers paying for a job like this? Make sure you’re being competitive.

  • Benefits: What are candidates likely looking for in a job like yours? Make sure you’re offering an attractive package (eg. Hybrid working/health benefits/training and development)

  • Job sites: Where is your candidate likely to be searching for a new job? Ensure your job advert is in front of the right people (eg. LinkedIn)

Here are some other things you need to think about:

Your employee branding: What is it about you, your company and the job that is great?

Key responsibilities: If you’ve created a people plan already, you’ll have a detailed list of exactly what your new hire will be responsible for.

Now you’ve thought about all of these things, you can create an awesome job advert. Here’s what it should include…

● An attention-grabbing headline and opening statement

● A bullet point summary of why your job is great

● A descriptive paragraph about the company, what your plans are and how this role / person is going to help you make a difference

● A summary of what skills and experience is required

● A bullet point summary of responsibilities

● Salary - don't leave this off as it will end up wasting both yours and the candidates time if it does not meet expectations

● Other package and benefits

● Details on how to apply

Be careful! Important things to consider from a HR perspective

Although you may have a good idea of what type of person you want for the job, it’s really important that your job advert doesn’t discriminate against any protected characteristics. Otherwise, you could land yourself in hot water.

Ask if the candidate can legally work in the UK as a screening question to weed out any that are not

If you get stuck, I can help you create an awesome job advert and handle the recruitment side of things too.

Step 3: Shortlisting and interviewing candidates

Hopefully by now you’ve got a the details of a number of people that have applied and you need to go through them and make a decision. Here’s my advice…

Reviewing applications

Wading through hundreds of CVs isn’t fun and it can be easy to start being inconsistent and disregarding people who may actually be a good fit.

So, before you start going through the CVs be clear on the skills and experience you’re looking for and create a criteria you can cross reference against to make things easier. Don’t be scared to add in a wild card though if you think they’d be a good fit.

It’s also important not to discriminate against people at this stage too.

Deciding what the interview process is going to look like

At the same time, you’ll want to think about how you want to get to know your candidates more. This will depend on the job and how many people have applied.

It may make sense for you to first complete a short 15 min screening telephone or Zoom call.

From there, you may decide to progress to a longer Zoom or in person meeting.

Decide how you’re going to record / track candidate progress

You may think you have a great memory. But after speaking to lots of different people, it will be difficult for you to be clear on who stands out. That’s why it’s important to decide how you’re going to keep notes on each candidate, if they match your criteria and what stage of the interview process they are at.

Some business owners use their own project management software to do this, like Basecamp or Trello. Whereas other business owners may decide to use HR specific software like Breathe or Hireful. You can of course also use a traditional Excel spreadsheet.

Step 4: Offering the position to the best person and letting the others down

You’ve found the right person for the job and you’re really excited to get them started…

Here’s what to do next:

Firstly, jump on the phone with the successful candidate to offer them the position and to make sure they’re still interested.

If they are, then awesome! You can talk through the package, notice period and verbally agree on a starting date. All of which should be confirmed, along with anything else you need, in writing and sent to them ASAP.

Once you have sent this letter, it’s safe to then let the other candidates know that they haven’t been successful. You should do this, with some feedback if you can, as this is the right thing to do.

Step 5: Now it’s time to get organised

Before your new employee starts their job with you, there are some tasks to complete.

● You will have agreed a salary but make sure you pay your employee at least the National Minimum Wage.

● Check if someone has the legal right to work in the UK. You may have to do other employment checks as well.

● Check if you need to apply for a DBS check (formerly known as a CRB check) if you work in a field that requires one, eg with vulnerable people or security.

● Get employment insurance - you need employers’ liability insurance as soon as you become an employer.

● Tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) by registering as an employer - you can do this up to 4 weeks before you pay your new staff.

● Check if you need to automatically enrol your staff into a workplace pension scheme.

Taken from:

What HR documents will you need to prepare?

Written statement of employment particulars

An employer must give employees and workers a document stating the main conditions of employment when they start work. This is known as a ‘written statement of employment particulars’. It is not an employment contract.

The written statement is made up of two documents…

Document one: The main document, also known as principal statement

The employer must provide the principal statement on the first day of employment and must include at least:

● Your company name (the employer)

● Your new recruit’s name (the employee), job title or a description of work and start date

● How much and how often they will get paid

● Hours and days of work and if and how they may vary (also if employees or workers will have to work on Sundays, during the ‘night period’ or take overtime)

● Holiday entitlement, and if that includes public holidays.

● Where they will be working and whether they might have to relocate

● If they will work in different places, where these will be and what the address is

● How long a job is expected to last (and what the end date is if it’s a fixed-term contract)

● How long any probation period is and what its conditions are

● Any other benefits (for example, childcare vouchers and lunch)

● Obligatory training, and whether or not this is paid for by the employer

Document two: The wider written statement

Employers must give employees and workers a wider written statement within 2 months of the start of employment. This must include information about:

● pensions and pension schemes

● collective agreements

● any other right to non-compulsory training provided by the employer disciplinary and grievance procedures

Taken from:

You may also decide to create a handbook…

It's also wise to create a company handbook at this stage. This should contain all your policies on things such as discrimination, inclusion, mobile phone and internet use, as well as your expectations of your employee, what they can expect from you, your legal obligations, and their rights.

These documents are SO important because they are what protects you as an employer should anything go wrong. That’s why it pays to work with an expert HR Consultant to help you create them. This is something we can help you with.

Step 6: Your new employee’s first week. Start as you mean to go on…

It's finally here, your new recruit’s first day of work! But they're not going to come in and jump straight in at the deep end. Here, again, you'll need to do a bit of planning to make sure they get off to the best start.

  • Set up their desk. Have a computer ready, complete with their own login and e-mail account, and everything else they might need, such as logins for apps and software.

  • Create a plan for their first week, which should include them seeing how everything works, being trained on the necessary software, and shadowing you while you demonstrate their duties. But before any of this, make sure you give your new hire a tour of the office, whether they will be working from it or not. Show them where everything is, and explain what's around for lunch, etc., too.

  • Make sure you cover everything they might need to know during their onboarding process, and always make time to address any concerns they may have, and to answer their questions.

  • If their first day and week gets off to a good start, it's a great sign of things to come.

And don’t forget, I am here to help

Does this all sound overwhelming and like a lot of work? I can help. Just give me a call or book in a chat

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