Is It Time You Hired Your First Employee?


Taking on somebody new is a massive undertaking for your organisation and something that you have to get right if you’re going to be successful. But the need to take somebody on at all is actually a good sign. It shows that your business is growing and that you’ve not got too many jobs and orders to process all by yourself.

Early on, entrepreneurs need to focus on hiring people so that they can improve their “bandwidth.” This means taking people on who are able to work in parallel with you, doing all of those time-consuming jobs you’d rather avoid.

Take tuition startups, for instance. In the early days, these companies are often only manned by a handful of staff, including the owners. For the first few months, they have to process all the telephone calls, do the invoices and contacts students and tutors. It’s all very time-consuming and means that they have less time to focus on the things that will grow and develop the business.

As soon as orders pick up, however, they’re able to take on trained administrators who can get on with these tasks while they set themselves up for the next stage.

Here’s some advice for entrepreneurs looking to hire their first employee.

Design Your Onboarding Process

The term “onboarding” is a popular buzzword at the moment. It’s all about helping people to integrate into your team, even if they’ve been used to very different environments in the past. One of the things that you’ll find if you’re hiring somebody from a large corporation is the expectation that you’ll provide a lot of structure. Being a startup, it’s unlikely that you’ll have a constant stream of work to deliver to them or managers to tell new hires what to do. And so a good onboarding process helps to get new recruits used to the fact that they’ll have to make their own work.

Of course, if you can get people who have worked in startups before, that’s great. Just make sure that you use your onboarding process to teach them about how you work, what’s expected and the company culture you’re striving for.

Get Your Legal Ducks In A Row

Many startups have so much going on that they don’t have time to put in place proper legal contracts, addressing the terms of employment. For the vast majority, this doesn’t turn out to be a problem, but it is a risk that most entrepreneurs would avoid with hindsight. The truth is that not all hires work out the way that you want them to, and in situations where they don’t your business can end up falling foul of employment law. If you’re not sure how to draw up a contract of employment or what laws affect you, speak to employment law consultants about your options.

Ask Applications To Demonstrate Their Skills

It’s a sad fact that around 30 percent of people lie on the CVs in some respect and it’s why savvy employers are now asking applicants to demonstrate their skills before giving them a position. Small-time entrepreneurs and business owners can do this too, with the right preparation.

Think of some tasks that you’d like your new recruits to perform. If you’re hiring an administrator, for instance, ask them to put together a pivot table on Excel in which you can list all your client data. Or if you’re hiring a salesperson, ask them if they’d be willing to prepare a sales pitch for one of their favourite products. Often the results of these exercises will tell you all you need to know about the candidate and ensure that you employ the right person to your team.

Make Your New Hire A Part Of The Team

How your new employee sees their relationship with your company will determine the value that you’ll be able to get out of them. If your new hire sees themselves as an employee, then you’ll get an employee-manager style relationship. The employee will do only as much as they are being compensated for, and you’ll have to constantly manage the process, give him directives and evaluating his performance. But if your new hire sees themselves as part of the team, then that whole dynamic changes. Instead of the employee looking for ways to do the absolute minimum, they do whatever it takes to make sure that the goals of the firm – your goals – are accomplished.

It’s worth noting that the chance to be a part of a team is one of the main reasons why people join startups in the first place. They want to escape the corporate mentality and work in a place where their goals are aligned with those of the company.

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Jeremy Kaplan

A 50-something year old lifestyle, career, and education blogger based in Atlanta, Georgia. Years of experience in the office setting working with others and still loving it year-after-year.

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