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The First Employee

There is a moment in the founders journey when they realise there are too many plates spinning to manage everything properly. The second before a plate falls, the founder will realise they need to hire someone to help manage more plates!

You might have experienced this in your journey before or it might be coming soon in your future. Below are the some steps from my experience in hiring the first employee.

The first steps are to identify what plates can be easily passed onto someone else. Often it’s the plates that the founders don’t like to look at or perhaps they can admit they aren’t as good at looking after like admin, finance, design/development or even marketing.

Next is creating a job role. What’s the person will be doing in the role? What skills they will need to offer? You’ll have to research what salary that job role will require to attract the right talent and this means figuring out if there is actually a budget to be spent on hiring. Your budget might be better spent on a freelancer or outsourced service before making sure there is budget to hire someone part-time or go all in and hire your first employee full time.

Don’t forget that national insurance and pensions are additional to the cost of the gross salary when calculating budget.

Once the founder has decided on the role, then it needs to be advertised. Recruitment agencies can be useful if the role is specific and the agency has a good database of talent. Other sources of talent include word of mouth, Linkedin job posts and community networks like the NI Design Slack and the NI Tech Slack and of course our own Raise Ventures accelerator slack channel.

The founder has to work through the applications, shortlisting and then interviewing. When making the first hire, it’s key to think about how the person will fit in with the new expanding team, the internal strategy, the culture as well as the role. After several coffees, interviews and discussions with your key team members you’ll get to know who the right candidate is.

It is also worth getting some references for the candidate and if necessary checking they have the legal right to work in the UK.

The founder then makes a job offer to the candidate for the role with a remuneration package. This should include salary, pension and holidays as well as benefits like flexible working places and patterns, health care and employee management incentive schemes.

Fingers crossed they accept the role! 🤞🏻

Once accepted. Send through a written statement of employment or contract and get written agreement from the candidate. 📝

High Five. The founder has found someone to help with the plate spinning. 🙏🏻

The hiring process

But the planning and admin doesn’t finish there..

The founder has to get everything setup for the employee. This includes an employment contract, handbook, policies and procedures.

There are a few things needed to set up like a pension, getting registered with HMRC as an employer and payroll. Also making sure as a founder you have employers liability insurance.

For example, with the auto-enrolment pension rules, if an employee is at least 22 but under state pension age and earning more than (the current threshold) of £10,000 they must be enrolled in a workplace pension scheme. There is an option to postpone auto enrolment for up to three months from their start date. Once enrolled, they also do have the option to opt out.

For the registration with HMRC the founder needs the company’s tax reference number. If the new employee doesn’t have a P45 form they can complete a HMRC start form to startup processing their pay. If the employee is starting mid month, then it’s key to decide what day / date payroll will happen and inform them for example the last Wednesday of each month.

There is software available to help with payroll processing and HMRC submissions. It can help work out how much tax and National Insurance you owe.

The last piece of the puzzle is to get the onboarding right for the new employee, make sure they feel welcome and they can find the information they need.

Be very clear on what their targets and objectives are and what their responsibilities are and how they feed into the team and the wider organisation vision.

Set up a good culture and a good team with your first employee and this will sow the seeds early for future success.

For more information in Northern Ireland about recruitment, interview process, policies, pension and payroll check out the NI Business Info website in particular the Employment and Skills Section.

Or chat to a friendly accountant like

Connon Associates
https://www.connonassociates.co.uk

Cloud 360 Accounting
https://cloud360accounting.com

Emerge One
https://www.emergeone.co.uk

For further help and support in HR check out the following outsourced HR consultancy firms.

Think People
https://www.thinkpeople.co.uk

NI Business
https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/employment-and-skills

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