Perspectives

Becoming the boss!

If your business has got to the stage that it’s time to consider hiring people, well done! It’s a major milestone that should be celebrated – although it does come with a set of obligations that need to be carefully considered. Here’s what you’ll need to think about:

Carpenter at work
Carpenter at work

Can I really afford it?

It sounds obvious, but taking on regular staff means you’ll have to pay them, month in, month out, no matter how your business is doing. Plus there are other costs involved over and above wages (see below) that you’ll need to allow for. Before you do anything, have a look back at your past year’s financial performance, and your future sales targets, to ensure that you’re ready to take this next step now

Part-time or full-time?

Again this might seem obvious, but if you’ve done everything yourself before now, will there be enough work for an extra person? Hiring people is expensive, so ensure you know what your new employees are going to do and what they’ll contribute to the bottom line. If you decide you only need part-time help at this stage, remember that that will usually limit the pool of available people, especially if you’re looking for specialist skills.

Crack your recruitment

Finding the right people can be difficult – recruitment advertising is expensive, as are agencies. Instead try LinkedIn or social media – or, depending on your business, simple word of mouth or an ad in the window could find you your perfect person. However you go about it, ensure you have a clear job description and a set of terms and conditions, so you and your employee both know what they’re being hired to do and how you expect them to work. If they’re not British, you’ll also need to check that they have the right to work in the UK. And perhaps most importantly, when it comes to hiring, trust your gut.

Hire legally

Hiring people is not that simple anymore. Becoming an employer comes with a set of legal obligations. You’ll need to pay at least the minimum wage (or equivalent if they’re on a salary – it’s currently £7.83 per hour, unless they’re under 22 and/or an apprentice). You’ll also need to: provide employer’s liability insurance; tell HMRC you’re becoming an employer; possibly conduct a DBS check, depending on the nature of the work; and, if your new employee is over 22 and earns more than £10,000 per year, enrol them into a workplace pension scheme.

Consider your new employee’s rights

Employees have the right to holiday pay, sick pay and maternity pay, so ensure your business is equipped to be able to afford these eventualities. Consider having a frank conversation with your employee about how you’ll both manage any extended periods of sickness. Employees are also allowed to make one request for flexible working every 12 months – and you need to have a valid business reason to refuse. However, if you show that you’re prepared to prioritise your team’s needs and wellbeing, you should be rewarded with higher morale and better productivity. And that makes everybody happy.