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A Checklist for Hiring Your First Employee



A Checklist for Hiring Your First Employee

Find the right staff to help grow your small business.

There will come a time when your business will likely need an extra pair of hands. Perhaps you need help getting through a busy sales period, or your business has grown to the point you now require full-time help.

Regardless of the situation you find yourself in, hiring can be a nerve-racking yet exciting task. If you're thinking about hiring staff for your small business, that means there's more work than one person could handle — which is good news, for a growing business.  

The hours you've put into establishing your business is no small feat, so you'll want to ensure that you find the right person for the job. Keep reading to discover how to successfully hire your first employee.

When should you hire? 

Hiring an employee at just the right time is crucial. Hiring too early can cause issues with cash flow, and bring with it the added stress of management. Yet, if you hire too late, you could be putting your business under enormous pressure — potentially setting back projects and missing crucial moments in the market.  

Two points to always keep in mind when hiring staff are: 

  1. Don't hire when you're desperate for help. Hasty decisions made under stress are not good decisions, which is why it’s important you start your search early. 
  2. Be wary of hiring the first person you interview. It's rare that the first candidate will be 'the one'. It’s best to interview a few candidates and get a feel for the market before making any decisions.

Keep reading to discover a simple checklist, designed to help you attract the right employees you need to help your business to prosper.

6 steps to hiring and managing staff

Recruitment can be a tricky process, and there are several factors to consider. Now that you've decided that it's time to expand your business and bring on staff, it’s time to consider the different types of employment, the cost to your business, and how you'll onboard your new staff member — among other things. 

Here are 6 steps to hire and then manage your staff. 

1. Decide on the type of employee you need

You'll need to consider the employment status of your staff. The right type of employee for you hinges on the way you run your business, as well as the way your industry as a whole operates. 

There are 4 types of staff to consider.

  1. Full-time employees: this means your staff is employed permanently, or on a fixed contract for an average of 38 hours a week.
  2. Part-time employees: a part-time employee is employed permanently or on a fixed-term contract and works less than 38 hours a week, generally on set days. 
  3. Casual employees: a casual staff member has no agreed pattern of work or set hours; their roster changes frequently.
  4. Contractors: unlike employees, contractors work for themselves and provide agreed services. You may only need a contractor for certain projects, such as marketing, and once the project is complete their contract ends. It's important that you understand the obligations and entitlements relating to independent contactors — however, contractors are not covered by this checklist, as they are not direct employees of your business.

In deciding what type of employee your business needs, consider whether there are quieter periods throughout the year (where you may not need an extra set of hands) — or whether demand remains high year-round. For example, tourism operators are likely to hire casual employees so that staff numbers can swell to meet business needs during high season, and taper down during the rest of the year. Keep in mind the recent changes to casual employment laws have come in place — you'll need to know what they mean for your business. 

2. Understand the costs involved

It's critical that you understand the costs involved in hiring. Consider the time you’re willing to spend, any recruitment costs involved, and ad fees. Keep in mind that the quality of candidates you attract can be reflective of where you have advertised the position. 

There are a number of additional costs to consider, including: 

  • wages. You'll need to find the relevant pay rate, conditions and the correct Award (if the employee will be on one). 
  • tax and superannuation. A single-touch payroll system will help you manage the contributions you're obligated to make. 
  • penalty rates, overtime, allowances, and leave.
  • workers’ compensation insurance. 
  • workplace safety. You may need to make changes to your workplace to make it safe for additional employees, especially within the current environment. You'll also need to adopt procedures to protect both staff and customers. Workplace safety is ever-evolving, and you'll need to keep on top of it. 

3. Hire your employee

When it's time to hire, you want to ensure that you've checked off all the relevant criteria.

Once you have your shortlist of candidates, it’s time to begin interviewing. When interviewing, remember to check that the candidate has the right to work in Australia and holds any relevant licenses or certificates that the job requires. Keep in mind that it's rare to find the right person after the first interview.

4. Prepare them to start working

Inductions are a great way to familiarise employees with the business, its operations, workplace health and safety procedures, and emergency procedures. You’ll also need to acquire their tax file number and superannuation details, so you can meet your obligations as an employee. 

You should make time to chat with your new staff member about rostering and the specifics of their role, and to check if they have any questions regarding their obligations. It's also important to outline any training required, so they are ready to hit the ground running. Train staff on the tools you use, including your payment systems, coffee machine, and any other tools they will use throughout the day. Easy-to-use tools, such as Zeller Terminal, will minimise the amount of time spent training staff and maximise your business’s efficiency.

5. Pay your employee

You'll want to get this right from the get-go; adjusting incorrect pay is painful for everyone involved. 

Websites such as Fair Work and the ATO can help to ensure you are paying the correct wage, tax and super contributions. You can use the Fair Work Ombudsman's pay calculator to work out wages and awards. If your employee doesn't fall under a specific award, then you'll need to pay them the national minimum wage at the very least. 

You must also provide your staff with a payslip within a day of paying them. Payslips will need to include the amount paid, as well as any amounts withheld for tax purposes and superannuation contributions. 

6. Monitor performance

Setting sales targets and tracking performance is key to good employee management. Staff want to know how they are performing, and you'll want to communicate those results to them. Having a tool like Zeller Dashboard allows you to monitor how business is tracking, so you can identify the impact your extra employee is having on your bottom line. 

A good employee will help your business succeed. However, the key to finding the right staff members is taking the time to get it right. Taking the time to ensure that you have a solid understanding of what you need in an employee, and having the right tools in place to get them working efficiently as soon as possible, will have huge pay-offs for your business. 

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