Employing / Sub-contracting / HR Thinking
The power of attracting the best people in your business is widely commented on in business literature, probably since business literature began.
The piece of the puzzle that is often ignored is the absolute power of employing “only” the right people. The best businesses not only have the best people on the team, all playing the right roles, but deliberately eschew ‘also ran’ hangers-on to dampen the effect.
Taking on your first employee is a major and exciting step for every fledgling business. We also understand how daunting it can be – your people represent your brand to your customers and prospects, they are responsible for the day to day running of your business and ultimately determine its success.
It’s really common for even the brightest entrepreneurs to look for people who are “cheap but with potential”. This could be friends or family, interns, graduates or people looking for work that fits their personal agenda.
Conversely, many successful business people advocate hiring the best people you can afford.
Whichever approach you take, think carefully about the person and the role you want to fill because it’s essential that your growing business continues to serve your customers in the same manner that has facilitated your growth.
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Before you make an appointment, consider what additional skills your business needs and the persona of your new employee. Don’t get too hung up on qualifications and instead look for the skills, experience and person required to grow your business.
Be creative with your recruitment process
Think outside the box when it comes to recruitment. Leverage your current employees for recommendations, look to your competitors or identify niche industry groups on platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Use clear language and avoid corporate jargon to reach out to candidates across industries who may be looking for a career move.
Once you’ve got your strongest assets on board, your work doesn’t stop there! Losing an employee is costly, both in terms of the cost to hire the replacement and bring them up to similar productivity levels. Also, every individual is different and a one-size-fits-all approach may not be appropriate. Find out what motivates and engages your employees and come up with benefits and incentives to keep your best fully engaged.
From a legal perspective, you need to issue a contract of employment or statement of terms and conditions within two months of appointing someone. This sets out their rights to things including holiday entitlement, hours and pay.
It’s also advisable to set out guidelines for what standards you expect from employees at work in a staff handbook or similar document. Standards can cover things such as absence, performance and timekeeping and means there is a framework for employees to follow from the start. Remember, subsequent employees will follow the lead set by your first starters and the culture you have developed. It’s easier to correct behaviours when the ground rules have been set, rather than when things have been more flexible / informal. Rules also guide managers in handling breaches in a fair and consistent manner. Share these documents in writing and provide a central point where your employees can access them. There’s no point having guidelines in place if nobody knows they exist!
Temporary, freelance and contract employees
Whether it’s bookkeeping / accounting, marketing or admin support, there’s a network of competent professionals out there willing to help you. Deciding who to hire depends on your current internal resources and the role or project you are looking to fill. Temps are a great option when you need to take the pressure off during busy periods whereas freelancers and contractors give you access to specific skills that can help you manage a specialist project. Freelancers have often ‘been there, done that’, therefore they bring considerable experience and can help you develop your plans and process early.
Agencies can also relieve a lot of pressure when it comes to sourcing and managing staff, helping to screen candidates and negotiate terms.
Whatever the scenario, the basic rules of engagement are similar to employing a member of staff. Make sure the skills and personality specification meets your requirements and be sure to have a contract and service level agreement in place.
As your business grows and you take on more operational staff, you often find more people and performance issues come with it. As they grow, many SMEs, therefore, look to acquire HR expertise to add structure and clear procedures across the business; perhaps initially via a freelance advisor and then later hiring an in-house HR professional. It is also common to utilise technology to support them with staff-related activities including absence, holiday and document management.
Whether it’s a new employee or a sub-contractor, taking the step to bring additional resource into your business is a big one. It could be the next step on the path to growth and success for your business so take it boldly.
Engage the right people, look after them and let them help you turn your business plans and goals into reality and results!
Whether you recruit or subcontract, employment law and payroll laws can apply, take good advice and seek the help of experts in this field.
Thoughts on employing staff from Yorkshire Powerhouse
You’ve read our introduction to Employing staff and HR considerations – have you any questions?
Here at Yorkshire Powerhouse, we’re happy to help as much as possible – is there anything else we can do to help you, do you have any further questions or can we help introduce you to an expert – please let us know: