Employing Staff for my Startup
When you start a small business, it’s normal to feel you can run most aspects of business operations by yourself, and in many instances, this will be true. There may, however, be some areas you cannot handle yourself, so the first thing to do is to identify what skills you need to bring into the business to help the business grow. You need to establish if you need a full-timer, or someone you can hire as a freelance employee and also how long these additional skills are required – short or long term.
Hiring someone as an employee is a big responsibility and incurs an administrative burden, so if, after analysis, you can use a freelancer or you can find a company to supply the service you require, it should be seriously considered. Ask yourself, will another person add value to your operations and increase profits when you take into consideration costs like wage, equipment and admin. Consider what are you willing to pay to attract the right person within the market you are operating in.
If you’ve worked out the pros and cons and financial implications and you decide you do need to hire someone, there are some crucial things to be aware of. One is to acquaint oneself with equal opportunities legislation – primarily the Equality Act 2010 – to understand how discrimination can occur, even unintentionally. Another is to design a recruitment process. Recruiting people is hard to do unless one is experienced at it and thus involves a fair amount of preparation. The right hire can add significant value to your business operations. It’s worth understanding that while hiring your company will be exposed to a wide section of the public and thus could be seen by a number of potential clients, customers and supplies and so any exposure, from advert to interview process, should reflect favourably on your company.
The Job Profile
The job profile should be as accurate as possible to attract the right sort of candidate and eliminate those who are unsuitable or that the job is unsuited for. Remember that wasted time is time you could spend elsewhere in your business. Only state skills in the job profile that the candidate will actually be exposed while in the position. Also, when asking for experience, consider how much is actually necessary and how much can be quickly trained. A lot of young, talented and ambitious job seekers are vetted out quickly at the advertisement stage due to limited experience in the job market, when in fact they could be a perfect employee, especially to a new business. Once an accurate job profile/description is created you will need to advertise. An advert should contain essential information such as:
- The job profile and an accurate description of the role
- The criteria for applicants
- Some idea of pay package – often adverts keep this as vague as “competitive”
- The length of the role if it is a limited term
- A description of your organisation – keep it short
- Procedure – reply in writing, email, application form etc.
While these basic guideline are fine for most job adverts, you need to tailor your advert to the medium in which it is placed and only advertise in appropriate places to attract the type of person you want to hire, whether that’s local adverts, newspapers, social media, the jobcentre or a recruitment company. A local shop window will likely require less than a full job advert like on a recruiting site or at the Jobcentre. Short term labouring work, non-specialist restaurant work or a shop assistant will likely attract many applicants quickly and will not likely require an extensive advertisement as the job role is more self explanatory.
Once you receive applicants it’s best to screen applicants on a set of essential criteria based on the job profile and personal specification, keeping in mind how easy it is to let prejudice slip in. Using a points system based on core requirements can lends itself to a broad methodology and helps remain objective during the selection process. You could possibly rank applicants in order of the suitability for the role.
If completed to a high standard, and you have received a suitable applicant, you should have found someone to hire.
Part of being an employer is to also understand your responsibilities and to use hiring as an opportunity to set a good image of your business. As an employer keeping up to speed with the latest laws and legislation is vital. Do not consider this a chore as much as an element of your business operations as, in the long term, a reputation as a good employer is both good for business – people talk – and will help you attract the most favourable employees in the future. The key areas to pay attention are: Equal Opportunities, Terms and Conditions of Employment, Fair and Unfair Dismissal, Unions, Periods of Notice, Illegal Workers, Minimum Wage, Statutory sick pay and maternity leave, working hours, insurance, health and safety and pensions. For information on any of these areas you can contact the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.