In the Trenches: Finally, a Full-Time Employee
I had assumed that once I began working to bring on an employee full time, it was going to take quite a while before I could actually promote my part-time staffer into a full-fledged position. I was wrong: It’s already a done deal.
Dealing with benefits was easy, particularly since my employee and I both have health-care coverage through our spouse’s jobs. It’s not required that I provide it today anyway, but I didn’t even have to think about it — and that helped. I did have to designate company holidays and come up with a policy for paid time off. These are little issues that I didn’t consider when it was just me running the business, because I work pretty much every day of the year.
I also had to make sure that this role would be an “exempt” position. The default status for any job is “non-exempt,” which means that the position is hourly and pays overtime. It also has strict work rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Many kinds of jobs are exempt from these rules, including administrative and professional roles as well as commissioned salespeople, but it’s not easy to just classify an employee that way. We worked together to make sure that the job obeys the rules, which was probably the most time-consuming aspect of the whole process.
Once that was done, it was a matter of my formerly part-time employee signing on the dotted line and picking a start date to go full-time. We settled on the first day of the next payroll period and, all of sudden, I had a full-time employee.
The transition has been quite interesting. I was used to someone arriving at a specific time and leaving at a specific time, with set breaks along the way. Now we’ve set general start and end times, so we both know when to expect each other in the “office,” but it’s not a hard-and-fast rule.
If things are busy, he stays longer. If they’re slow, he might cut out early. His role ends up being more flexible than before, able to flow with the way our work comes in. That’s great for both of us, but I think there’s still a lot left to tweak as I learn to shift more of my responsibility to him. That’s not an easy thing to do for someone who has been running the show alone for three years. But it’s a great feeling!