Smart Guidelines for Hiring Your First Employee

When your business grows to the point of requiring your first employee, it’s an important step. As a business owner, having help will enable you to increase productivity and move more rapidly toward your goals. While these may be exciting times, it is important to proceed carefully in order to avoid future setbacks.

During the recruiting process, there are key factors to consider before hiring a new person. Here are some guidelines to follow before bringing a new person on board.

Hiring an employee versus a contractor. Many businesses are opting to hire independent contractors instead of employees. While it may be less costly for your business because you won’t have to pay employment insurance or vacation pay, working with a contractor involves other considerations. For example, contractors work with you on specific pre-determined tasks. You may not be able to involve them in other projects and they often expect a high level of freedom and flexibility in their schedule. When hiring, be clear about your expectations and make sure they fall within the CRA definition of a contractor. When in doubt, consult with an employment law or HR professional.

Provide a clear and accurate offer of employment. Gone are the days of verbal job offers. Paperwork must be provided and signed in order to make things official and to protect each party from future conflict (or legal action) due to misunderstandings. Contracts or employment offers should be clear about the things like compensation, job responsibilities, managing client information, etc. Many job offers also outline the process for either party terminating the employment agreement.

Keep accurate employee records. Compensation and payroll records need to be kept up to date with accurate information about start and end dates, personal information, compensation, vacation days and income taxes withheld (if applicable). Keeping accurate records is important in case you need to provide evidence in the event of lawsuits, payroll audits, or Ministry of Labour inspections.

Determine what benefits you will offer. Next to salary, employee benefits are perhaps one of the greatest determining factors for attracting great talent to your organization. Not only does it encourage qualified individuals to work for you, but in the long term, healthy and happy employees are more productive at work. Do your research and seek out the best employee benefit plan you can find within your budget.

Establish a code of conduct. Working with a new individual goes beyond the completion of day-to-day tasks. The employee or contractor is a representative of your business and his or her conduct will reflect on your brand and reputation. Outline in writing any specific rules about communicating with clients, your office dress code, or expectations about punctuality, among others.

An HR professional is a great asset to assist with hiring guidelines, employment contracts, and employee manuals. These services can be obtained on a contract basis.

Onboarding your first employee will be a big adjustment and it’s important to establish roles and expectations for all parties. With thoughtful planning and attention to detail you can set the foundation for a productive and pleasant work environment.