Taking on your first employee is a huge step in any business.
I remember my first employee, her name was Helen. She joined me as an administrator. The first time I realized I needed an employee was when I was working day and night and things were still stacking up, mainly the administration side of running the accounting firm. So I took my first employee in February of 2018. Since then, Helen has become our payroll manager and she’s become so important to our business that I’ve actually made her a director of the business.
Choosing the right person to work with
When you’ve only got one employee and no one at home really understands the challenges of running your business, that employee can quite easily become your sounding board, and that’s what happened with Helen. So any ideas, any schemes that I had, I’d run them past Helen and get her input and advice on things first. So taking your first employee on is a really big first step. It’s a lot of administration. You’ve got to make sure you’re getting the right person. You have to decide what the role is for your business. But you’ve also got to work out all the paperwork side, the legal side as it were. You’ve got to provide an employee contract, you’ve got to have workplace policies. You got to make sure you’ve got a grievance procedure. You’ve got to make sure health and safety is all covered.
Joining Federation of Small Businesses
So what I did back in the day is I joined the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). They’ve got a huge library of documents online that all their members have free access to. They’re all templates, so your employee contract, your policies are all ready for you to complete and you know you’ve got a really strong starting block to build out all the documents you require for your business. It was a really helpful tool for me, and I still use to this day. We’re now a team of nine, and I still rely on the FSB’s document portals and their HR advice line, which members get for free as well, to just go through any quick questions I might have or any queries to make sure that I’m doing the right thing for myself, for the staff, and by the law.
Talking to the accountant before hiring the first employee
Taking on a first employee is a really big step but there’s lots of great resources out there to help you understand the steps you need to take. It’s one of those conversations that not many people have with their accountants but I strongly recommend you do. Most people go to their accountants at the point where they’re: “okay, I’ve taken on an employee, now I need to pay them. How do I do that?” Whereas, if you go to the accountant when you’re starting to consider taking on a new employee, they’ll be able to help guide you and advise you and point you in the right direction of resources and stuff, consider the financial impact on your business from day one rather than when you’ve already appointed someone. They’ll talk you through all of the taxes, National Insurance and stuff like that. So it’s a really good conversation to have with your accountant really early on rather than just, “I’ve appointed someone, can you pay them, please?”