Hiring and Training Employees: What You Need to Know

How to hire and manage your employees so your business succeeds.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, personal, or tax advice. The information contained herein is subject to change and may vary from time to time. For specific advice applicable to your business, please contact a professional.

Hiring your first employee is exciting because it means your business is growing. But recruitment is a lengthy process, and you need to make sure your new workers can be trained as quickly as possible. You also want to make them feel a valued part of the team.

As a small business owner without the benefit of an HR department, getting to grips with the hiring process and onboarding can be daunting. Follow the step-by-step process, and you’ll be welcoming your new recruits in no time.

Employee hiring process

Hiring a new employee is the first part of the process, and training them effectively is the second. Before you jot down a description and upload your job ad, take a moment to do this:

1. Research

Look at the local jobs market and see who else is hiring and what the competition for similar skill sets is like. It also gives you an idea of job descriptions and wages or salary, so you know what you’re offering is competitive.

2. Evaluate what positions you need to fill

Look at the business needs you have, then write a skills list for each position – key qualifications, the must-have qualities and the qualities that are nice to have but not essential.

3. Devise a recruitment strategy

Decide whether you’re going to handle the recruitment process yourself or outsource it to an agency. Decide how long you want the recruitment process to last.

4. Write a job description

Write a description that includes details of the job requirements, employment type (full-time, part-time or casual), responsibilities and expectations. You may also wish to include salary, required qualifications and other benefits as well as information about your company ethos and vision.

5. Post your job ad

There are plenty of online job boards like Seek or Indeed where you can post.

6. Create a shortlist of applicants

Sift through the applicants and narrow them down to the most suitable.

7. Interview the most capable

Conduct interviews and draw up your final shortlist. A single interview may be sufficient, or your interview process might include several stages as you narrow it down to the final few applicants.

8. Follow up with interviewees and make a job offer

Contact all candidates to thank them for applying, and make your job offer.

Get your paperwork in order

As much as you’d like to get your new hire up to full productivity, take care of admin first:

9. Draw up an employment contract

This sets out the terms of employment and must meet the minimum requirements of the Fair Work Act.

10. Create an employee handbook

This includes all information about your business, how it’s run, and company procedures such as complaints, grievances, disciplinary process, bonus structures, etc.

11. Register for pay as you go (PAYG) withholding.

All businesses that employ staff must withhold tax from their salary and pay it directly to the Australian Tax Office (ATO).

12. Tax File Number (TFN)

Ask your new employee to fill out a TFN declaration form so you can work out how much tax to withhold.

13. Superannuation

You’re required to pay a portion of an employee’s salary into a superannuation fund which goes towards their retirement. To find out more visit the ATO website

14. Consider how you will keep records

You need to keep employee information including employment, wages, hours worked, holiday entitlement and leave for seven years. Keep records yourself or employ HR and Payroll software to simplify the process.

Employee training

You’ve made your first hire but your role as a recruiter is only half finished. The next step is to implement a training program so your new employee can reach full productivity in the shortest time frame possible. To do so, train them in a way which supports them both at the start of their career with you and as their role develops.

15. Create a training process

When you recruit staff, particularly as your business grows, having an employee training program is essential. Not only does it educate new hires about your business, but it also helps create standardised, company-wide training methods.

16. Onboarding new employees

Onboarding is the process whereby new recruits are integrated into your business. As a responsible employer, make sure they feel welcomed and understand their role.

Onboarding should cover:

  • New employee paperwork

  • Employee orientation – workplace rules, procedures

  • Introduction to company culture, mission and values

  • Review of roles and responsibilities

  • Specific on-the-job training

17. Continuing professional development (CPD)

Employee training doesn’t end once your employee is settled in – their development should continue throughout their time with your company. Equipping them with new skills not only benefits your organisation but it makes them feel valued too. Continued professional development:

  • Lets employees take charge of their career development

  • Enhances current skills and reduces knowledge shortfalls/skill gaps

  • Leads to improved ability, efficacy and productivity

  • Leads to personal empowerment and greater loyalty and motivation.
    CPD can take the form of a structured development program, e-learning, face-to-face training sessions or independent courses.

18. Build a thriving company culture

When it comes to nurturing the staff you hire, the importance of developing a positive company culture cannot be underestimated and should form part of your overall training program.

It should be visible from the top down, from the way you treat your staff daily, and your approachability and understanding, to the ongoing employee training and development you offer them.

A positive culture reaps benefits in terms of loyalty, high retention rates and lower staff hire costs. You’re also able to attract the best candidates because your reputation precedes you.

When you hire a new employee it’s a time of change but it’s also a time for progression. Your workers are one of your most valuable assets, and with the right people on board, you can take your business to places you never thought possible.

Useful resources to help you hire and train employees

  1. Fair Work has useful templates to help you manage your workplace obligations

  2. Visit the Australian government business service for further information about employee recruitment

  3. Find out more about writing an employee handbook here

  4. This employee hiring checklist contains plenty of detailed advice


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From choosing the right business licence and insurance to setting up payroll and hiring your first employee, we’ve got the resources and information you need to start your business successfully.

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