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Thinking of taking on your first employee?



Taking on your first employee is exciting, but it can also be daunting as it’s all new to you. Following my 6 steps below, will help you to gain clarity, and focus on what you need to do, to make taking on your first employee go smoothly.

1. What do you need before you advertise? First things first. You need to know what your employee will do for your business. Therefore it’s essential you create a clear job description. The questions you need to be asking yourself at this point on top of what they will be doing is; are they full or part-time, permanent or fixed-term contract, are they working from home, at your premises or a bit of both, and perhaps they are travelling to different locations. As a new employer, before you move forwards to the next step of advertising, you need to have it clear in your mind what you are willing to pay. You must legally pay at least the National Living Wage (or the National Minimum Wage if they’re under 23). It’s also essential to think about what else you are planning to offer on top, eg holiday days, benefits and bonuses. There are various resources on sites such as Indeed or Glassdoor to help you get an idea of typical salaries for your industry and your vacancy.


2. Where are you going to advertise? There are various places you can advertise your vacancy, and of course some are free, for example social media, and your LinkedIn, with others being much more costly. It’s therefore useful to set an advertising budget for your recruitment from the start. You could go to a recruitment company, advertise at the Job Centre, on websites such as Indeed, or enlist the help of an HR Consultant who has many years of experience in knowing the right places to advertise, to get you the best person for the job.

3. Choosing the right person for the job This is crucial. If you are overseeing the recruitment process yourself, I can’t emphasis enough that you need to plan, plan and plan again. From choosing your shortlist of candidates, to ensuring that those being interviewed have at least the right skills and experience needed for your role, planning your interview questions, to ensuring you leave plenty of time for the candidate to ask questions. Depending on the role, you may also want to prepare a written test or task for them to undertake.

4. What policies and documentation will you need to have in place? You need to ensure that every employee has a written statement of employment (a contract of employment) in place on or before their first day. There are other policies that you will need to have in place before they start, and the minimum needed by you is a disciplinary and grievance policy. Once you have 5 employees you will also need a health and safety policy. Depending on your type of business, you may want to have other policies in place, including sickness absence, those relating to inclusion, diversity and culture, and the use of social media at work.

5. The legalities of being an employer

From the interview phase, you need to make sure that your potential employee has the right to work in the UK and that checks are conducted in line with government rules. You will also need to take out Employers Liability insurance. Don’t forget to register with HMRC as an employer. You can do this up to 4 weeks before you pay your new employee. Make sure you check to see if you need to automatically enrol your employee into a workplace pension scheme.


6. When your employee starts This is when the journey of being an employer really begins. You have been used to doing everything yourself and now you have someone to share the workload with. But, at this stage, my one big piece of advice is getting your onboarding right. Clear your diary for the first few days. Make sure your new employee knows what is expected, show them your systems, introduce them to your clients and suppliers if applicable. Why not do an email or newsletter to your clients/suppliers introducing your new member of staff? By doing this you are really setting them up for success, and by knowing you, your systems and customers, it means that they will be able to get going and help you much quicker.


Of course if you would like help and advice with any of the above, please get in touch!

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