If you run a small business, there’s every chance that at some point you will reach a crossroads in your company’s lifespan. You could stay as you are and enjoy your lifestyle as is, or you could decide to gamble on growth. For the former, there aren’t many things you need to do, other than keeping your business ticking over. However, for the latter, you are going to have to think about hiring employees.
Without a workforce, it’s going to be nigh on impossible to achieve any growth. But building one can be tricky. There are many different factors that you have to consider, and choosing the wrong way to go about things could result in serious consequences. However, if you handle your hiring with aplomb, the rewards will speak for themselves.
In this guide, I’m going to take a look at some of the most important factors you should be thinking about when starting a hiring process. There’s a lot to take in, so let’s get started right away.
Knowing when the time is right
One minute, a small business can be ticking along quite nicely. But all it takes is for a wave of interest in your product or service to throw things out of balance. It’s a significant moment and one that you have to plan for, regardless of how unlikely it appears at this very moment. There have to be core reasons for you to hire anyone on a full or part-time basis, and growth is very much at the forefront of them. However, just because you have a rise in orders in one particular month, it doesn’t mean that it will sustain throughout the year.
So, recognising your peaks and troughs over key periods is essential to working out whether you should hire or not. Sure, you might have seasonal orders to fulfill, but if the following months are going to be quiet, then it makes no sense to hire. Think about outsourcing during these periods instead. It might cost you more than a full-time employee, but it will get the job done, and it’s a one-off cost that you can forget about as soon as the work is complete.
In an ideal world, the right time to hire is the right time for you. It should be planned and part of your natural progression – not because you have a sudden spike in demand or a customer service issue. Let’s face it – if your business is in crisis and you need an extra pair of hands as soon as possible, are you really going to be that thorough in your recruitment process? If your business requires a certain set of skills that you need, it should be plain to see. And as soon as you see it, those skills should become part of your business plan. At that point, you can think about hiring – and certainly not before.
Establishing your need
Moving on from there, it is clear there are some fundamental questions you need to ask yourself. First of all, why are you hiring in the first place? I would suggest that unless it is for two specific reasons, you should consider outsourcing. Those reasons are as follows: if you can’t manage your workload for a prolonged period, or you have a concrete growth plan in place.
Secondly, are your processes working hard enough for you? Sure, hiring staff could solve some of your problems, but if the systems you have in place could be improved, it may be a more cost-effective option. Also, you could learn new skills for yourself. This is an excellent cost-cutting option that only requires time and commitment to you. However, should you not have much of either, then you are probably in a position to start employing staff.
Understanding the implications
Hiring employees is an expensive business, and is by far and away the biggest cost you will encounter. Not only do you have to pay wages, but you will be liable for national insurance top ups, too. Many employees will expect benefits on top of their salaries, some of which are legal requirements – such as holiday and sick pay. You may also need to think about health insurance or other benefits to attract the right calibre of staff. The simple fact is that the best businesses get the best employees because they offer the best packages. You have to be competitive if you want those people working for you.
There are other considerations to think about as well. As an employer, you will have many different legal responsibilities for your workforce. Health and safety should be one of your prime concerns, and you also have a duty to treat your employees in a fair manner. If you don’t, you could be open to all kinds of litigation issues. Worker’s rights are a vast subject that can’t be dented in a post like this. So I would recommend getting employment law solicitors on board as soon as possible if you are considering hiring. Doing so will prevent you from making any stupid mistakes, and reduce the threat of any court appearances or fines – which can be dangerous for your business in more ways than one.
You will also need to think about insurance. To employ someone, you have to have the correct policy in place – it is required by law. If anything happens to somebody while under your care – when they are at work in this case – then your insurance will cover you for any damages that are sought. For this reason, it is worth a thorough investigation of all business insurance policies to make sure you are covered for all eventualities. There are plenty of things you can cut back on when you hire staff – zero hours contracts are a great example – but your insurance is definitely not one of them.
So there you have it. With any luck, you will be a little more primed when it comes to hiring staff. As you can see, there is a lot to think about – and this post only really scratches the surface – but it is essential that you take everything into consideration. Hiring employees can make the difference if you want to grow – but go about it in the wrong way, and it could be disastrous. So plan well – and good luck!