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Employing my first member of staff

2 min read
Abigail Baldwin, of Leed-based design agency Buttercrumble, shares how she went about employing staff for the first time.

In April this year, we employed our first creative assistant. Her name is Kasia and she’s brilliant – she has helped boost our energy and brought a fresh pair of eyes to the team.

We’re a small agency and needed someone who wouldn’t be afraid to roll up their sleeves and contact clients as well as work on illustrations.

We advertised on social media, Linkedin and Indeed, getting around 200 responses in all. We whittled it down to 10 who we not only thought could do the job, but who aligned to our values and style as well. Even before interviewing them we were preparing, getting a desk and computer set up for them.

The countdown

Once Kasia accepted the role, the clock started ticking to her first day. We made a big plan with dates for when different things were due, to help it stick in our minds. One week we had to alert HMRC. The next we looked at payroll, and so on.

We had to tell HMRC we were employing staff for the first time and take out employers’ liability insurance. We also had to make sure the candidate had a right to work in the UK by checking their ID – that’s when it started to feel really serious.

Then, the workplace pension. Because the government has done a big push on pensions, we got so many letters telling us to sort it out that it would have been impossible to forget about it. In the end, we used NEST.

"The biggest challenge was payroll – whether we should ask our accountant to do it or if we could run it ourselves."

The biggest challenge was payroll – whether we should ask our accountant to do it or if we could run it ourselves. There are lots of options, and in the end, we used our accounting software. How we were going to print payslips was another thing to consider.

In all, it took up to three months to get everything in order, and of course there were costs involved. Employing someone isn’t just about paying a salary, we had to pay for all these other things to help us hire that person, like insurance. Even running payroll has a cost involved.

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Why hire?

We decided to hire full-time because we needed the support, but there are lots of options, like full-time, part-time, freelance. The law changes depending, and it’s possible to start off with a little responsibility and build up from that.

Having a freelancer is less of a weight on your shoulders as you’re not wholly responsible for their income and security. On the other hand, they might not be fully committed to our brand and vision. That’s why we really wanted someone to join the team, to be on board with what we’re trying to build.

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