Are you approaching employing people in the right way?


Thinking about employing people?

One of the most difficult steps in starting up and growing a small business is the taking-on of employees.  Just thinking about who to take on and recruit can seem very daunting, after all they are going to be working with you for the ‘duration’, you will want to trust them, you will want to rely on them in tough and challenging times, you will want them to be able to work on their own, and you will want them to do things that they might not have originally signed up for..

The reason that you are looking to recruit someone is likely to be that you are working to full capacity; you have a strong order book that seems difficult to fulfil; and you are thinking of turning business away because you are that busy.

So, who do you recruit?

  • Do you employ someone who is straight out of school or university, who will be easily affordable, but is likely to take up a fair amount of your time? Or,
  • Do you employ someone who has been working for a few years, so that they can be left to fend for themselves for most of the time? Or
  • Do you bring in someone that is highly experienced, but that can be expensive and they may be used to working in certain ways?

This is a challenging decision, and who you take on will inadvertently affect the next person you look to recruit as you build a team.  If you bring in someone inexperienced, who do you bring in next and at what level? Will that then diminish the prospects and enthusiasm of the first recruit?

What you shouldn’t do

One of the biggest mistakes is to take on person you know or have met and then fit them into the business somehow.  This may be because they are a friend or acquaintance who seems like a good person, who you think will be reliable and you think you know him.  This can lead to mis-managed expectations and ill thought-through plans and potential conflict.

In my dealings with small businesses this ad-hoc approach seems to be more and more common where taking on someone you know seems a good cosy and easy short cut.  However, whether it is the perceived expense of the recruitment process [recruitment agency]; the ‘it’ll be alright on the night’ syndrome; the time it takes to specify exactly what type of person you want; or the time and effort to go through the recruitment process, it is not a good idea.

Stand back and create a job description

It is far better to stand back from the day to day firefight and think rationally as to what type of person can help you; what tasks can be delegated; what tasks need to be delegated; what skills are required to carry out these tasks, and create a job description that will help the prospective new recruit understand what they are going to be required to do and how they are expected to behave.  It should also enable you focus on ‘the important stuff’.

You will also need to set up expectations [contract] so that understand the working practices, holiday requirements, levels of flexibility required; the definition of overtime; what they are expected to do when you are away etc.

Prepare the ground for employing people

There are many issues associated with growth and the scalability of small businesses, specifically when it comes to employing people.  If you need help in preparing the ground for employment in your business, I would be very happy to meet up and discuss.  For more information or an appointment to discuss preparing the ground for employment please complete the form below.


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