Beginning the hiring process for your small business is a big landmark. You’ve seen your company grow from an idea to a small enterprise, and now you’re ready to bring other people on board who are just as passionate about your brand. Your first employee will always be special to you and your business. They’re often the first person to really get stuck into the ins and outs of the everyday at your company, other than yourself.
Choosing the right employees is important, as is making sure you’re all set to start the onboarding process – introducing those first few extra heads to your business. Read on to discover how exactly to hire your first employee and everything you need to get started.
How to hire your first employee
The process of hiring your first employee doesn’t have to be daunting. However, there are a few different elements you need to consider before taking that first step.
What skills are you looking for?
You should take some time to compile a list of the skills you’re looking for in your first employee, breaking down what you’re looking for into hard and soft skills.
Hard skills: these are skills candidates need to have in order for you to consider them for the job. They are usually industry-specific and labelled as must-haves in your job advert. E.g. customer service experience, SEO knowledge, etc.
Soft skills: these are more self-taught personal skills, that are not obligatory but would be preferable to have. E.g. time management, communication, etc.
Manage your team with Square
Onboard staff, manage schedules and set up timecards with Square Team Management
What is your salary budget?
You’re starting the hiring process because your business is growing and generating more profit – which is great. So, you need to make sure that you’re paying your first employee a fair (and also not too generous) wage.
Perhaps start by paying an hourly wage rather than a contractual yearly salary. As you’re new to hiring and managing staff, you’ll need to get to grips with how many hours you’ll actually need them for.
On average, businesses spend around 30% of their monthly budget on payroll. So, take a look at your profits after tax and compare that to the number of hours you want them to work.
What do you include in an employment contract?
A few things to consider including in your employment contract are:
- Job title and description
- Salary and hours of work
- Start date (and end date if the position is temporary)
- Pension and healthcare arrangements
- Holiday and sickness entitlement
- Disciplinary processes
What will their first day look like?
Creating an itinerary for your employee’s first day is helpful for both yourself and them. First impressions are key and you want to reassure all members of staff that your business is a competent and organised place to work. First days are important – so make it a good one.
How will you train them?
Similar to the above, you might find it beneficial to create a probation-length training plan that sets out what your employees can expect over the next few months. Make sure to make this a collaborative effort too. Show you are willing to take suggestions regarding areas they might wish to be trained in and pique their interest.
Best practices in hiring
You’ve got everything sorted, contracts are prepared, you know what you’re looking for – now it’s time to get started employing people and writing that all-important job advert. You will need to consider:
Where you’re going to post your advert: depending on the type of work you’re offering, this will change how and where you advertise the position. Most likely, however, this should be done online via third-party sites, but there’s also no harm in word-of-mouth advertising.
How to word your advert: think about who you’re targeting and how you want your business to be represented. While you’re scrutinising prospective candidates, prospective candidates are also scrutinising your brand image and tone. You want to make yourself attractive in their eyes.
Running a non-biased selection process: as a business owner, bias is an important issue that needs to be recognised and addressed. A few ways to avoid unwanted bias is to ask standardised questions or even anonymise CVs and cover letters.
Having a solid brand identity: you need to know who you are as a manager and a business in order to instil confidence in yourself and employees. Define your values and your business mission to identify the perfect candidate for the position.
Thinking about the future: as an independent business you’re well aware of the importance of investing in ideas – hiring is just investing in people. Stay open-minded and mindful of possibilities. You want any new employee to be a long-standing member of the team and go on to progress.
Employee wellbeing is an important part of every business’ hiring procedure. Ensuring your employees are content and challenged at work will help to retain employees and reduce hiring costs in the long term.
There are many different variations of support you can give your employees, all of which are conducive to a healthy work environment and positive staff attitudes.
Mental and physical health support: this includes things like flexi time, offering mental health days, mental health support training, and health insurance (if possible).
Regular check-ins: one-to-one sessions between yourself and your employees are important to maintaining healthy relationships. These sessions can be used to check development and progression, as well as for more personal check-ins to ensure they’re content in the work environment.
Fair feedback: whether it be positive or negative, two-dimensional feedback between owner/manager and employee is a great way to make sure you’re constantly improving as a business. It also helps staff to improve in their work, as it keeps channels of communication open and healthy.
Employee benefits: whether it be health insurance, free days off on their birthday, or simply a Christmas hamper, going that little bit further to show your appreciation for your staff never goes amiss.
Setting up payroll for an employee
Now for the important bit – well, one of the important bits. Arguably everything in the hiring process is important, but making sure you pay your employees correctly and on time is something you need to be confident on.
As you’re hiring in Ireland, you need to register for Pay As You Earn (PAYE) with Ireland Revenue and inform them about your new employee, so any tax obligations and deductions are taken care of as part of their monthly wages.
You will need to complete a TR2 form and send this to your local Revenue Registration Unit. This will automatically enrol them for Employment Taxes (PREM) so you can make sure nothing is missed.
Ensuring that your employees are paid on time, and know when that time is, is also important. Any missed paydays, even if only by a few days, are never a good thing and will immediately reflect badly on you and your business.
Perhaps most importantly, you should get to know Irish Employment Law so that you’re familiar with:
- Minimum wage
- Annual, sickness, and maternity/paternity leave obligations
- Minimum allowed holidays
- Maximum allowed working hours
Learning how to hire your first employee is exciting, as it shows that all the time and effort you’ve dedicated to getting your business off the ground has finally paid off. Now you’re starting to manage staff as well as stock and services, systems like Square Team Management can help you schedule and manage staff on one easy to access platform. It’s time to integrate a reliable POS system and management solution into your business, so you can start hiring more staff and expanding your empire.
How to start a business: A guide for new business owners
Guide to minimum wage for employers in Ireland
How to attract and retain employees in hospitality