When you first started your business, what was your vision for it? Did you see yourself as always being a solopreneur, a business of me, myself, and I? Or did your vision include experiencing enough demand for what you were offering that you’d need to grow your business beyond yourself and hire some employees? If you’ve never hired anyone as a business owner before, it’s perfectly understandable that you might wonder where to even begin.

Take All Costs into Account

One of the first things you need to know is that while employees certainly can (and should) make you money, there are some very real costs associated with hiring someone. If you don’t take those into account, you could find yourself facing some nasty sticker shock later on. Sure, you know you need to pay them, and you may even have an idea of how much you should pay employees, but that’s definitely not the only cost. You can divide most costs into either a matter of time or money. For example, you may need to pay for creating a listing on a job search platform. You’ll also need to account for payroll and state unemployment compensation taxes and the new need to carry worker’s compensation insurance. Then there are time investments, such as the time you spend on interviewing and onboarding employees, as well as the time you spend doing all the set up for hiring someone in the first place. That’s time that you can’t spend earning money instead, though the hope is that it pays off later.

Set Up a Payroll System

People work to earn a living. That’s pretty much the whole point of being employed. That only really works if you have a payroll system set up. Part of that is because it’s a lot easier to pay your employees correctly and on time. The other part is because it’s a lot easier to withhold the proper amount from your employee’s income for income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes. Depending on the state, you may need to withhold state income taxes as well. All of that is a lot easier to do with a good payroll system.

Advertise the Position across Platforms

You know how to get the job done. You’ve already been doing it, after all. Now that you’re expanding your operations enough that you need to hire at least one other person, you need to find the right person. Small businesses can’t afford to hire bad employees. In order to give your business its best chance at finding the right employees, you need to advertise the position or positions you have open across multiple platforms. Platforms like LinkedIn, Indeed, and ZipRecruiter are pretty well known, but they aren’t the only options out there. You should already have been building a presence on social media, so leverage that too. Let people know you’re hiring. Make sure you have a careers page on your website so that site visitors can check out what jobs you have available.

Offer Benefits

Employee benefits are becoming more of an expectation than anything else. In fact, offering a competitive benefits package can go a long way towards helping you find quality employees. There’s the standard PTO, sick leave, and vacation time; healthcare, dental, and vision insurance; and 401(k), life insurance, and FSA or HSA accounts. Small businesses will have a hard time offering every benefit under the sun, so instead focus on making sure that what you do offer is top notch. Time off should be generous while balancing it with the needs of your business. Healthcare plans should provide specialized care such as dermatology services. Financial accounts should be matched by employers. In short, the higher quality the benefits you offer, the more high quality employees you’ll likely attract.

Utilize HR Services

While you don’t technically need to have an HR department, or even just an HR manager, there are definitely advantages to utilizing HR services. Involving other people in your business can be a fantastic opportunity. It can also come with its share of snags to untangle and troubled waters to navigate. Even before you actually start working with employees, there are elements of HR that you’ll need to navigate one way or another. Did you know, for example, that there are legally protected classes you can’t discriminate against when hiring? Or that there are questions you legally can’t ask during an interview? HR pros are aware of things like this and can help you navigate them, to say nothing of the services they can offer after the hiring process has been completed. Since you’re only just hiring your first employees, your business probably doesn’t need a full-time HR expert on your payroll. That doesn’t mean that you can’t still utilize HR services though. It’s just that you may find outsourcing your HR or using an HR independent contractor to be a better option for the time being.

Know What You’re Looking For

Do you know what you want in an employee? Do you know exactly what it takes to succeed in the job you’re making available? If not, you’d be doing yourself, your business, and anyone who even looks at your listing a huge disservice. At a bare minimum, you’re wasting valuable time. For the sake of everyone involved, you need to know what you’re looking for in your first employees. It’s the only way to reliably have a chance at getting what you want. Remember, a bad hire can cost your business thousands unnecessarily. Check for personality, cultural fit, and qualifications before pulling the trigger and extending a job offer.

Hiring the first employees for your business is a big step, no matter who you are or how many startups you’ve created. It’s also a step that is crucial to get right. That’s why it’s so important to know what you’re doing and how to do it correctly the first time. Give your business its best shot at success by learning as much as you can and talking to experts before you really dive into the hiring process.

Read this next: Why Starting a Business Is Easier than Ever

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