Essential tools for hiring and management

Resources every small business needs to hire, pay, and build a successful culture.

Hiring employees

Everything you need to know about hiring employees

Don’t know where to start when it comes to hiring and management? You’re in the right place.

We’ve put together great resources to get you up to speed and compliant for each new hire.

When to hire your first employee

It’s exciting to see your business is growing. We’ll guide you on what you need to know when it comes to hiring your first employee.

How to not lose your best employees

As you grow your company, you’ll learn that your employees are your most valuable asset. See how these startups keep their teams engaged and happy.

How to create a culture employees will love

Among the top factors that contribute to employee satisfaction are work-life balance, acknowledgement for great work, and autonomy.

You just hired your first employee—now what?

Your first employee just signed your offer letter and you’re preparing for their first day.
While you’ll want to concentrate on training and onboarding, you need to take care of legal compliance and operational tasks before your new employee begins.
If you address these four areas before your employee’s first day, you can focus fully on setting them up for success:
  • Reporting and notice requirements
  • Policies and procedures
  • Workers’ rights
  • Accounting
What to do after you've hired your first employee
What to do after you've hired your first employee
What to do after you've hired your first employee

Explore the hiring guide


Just about every business owner must hire employees to grow a company over time, and hiring your first worker can be exciting.
Before you take the plunge and hire staff, think carefully about the topics covered here. You need to plan for hiring so that you properly address the related legal and accounting issues. Follow these steps to hire that first worker and to increase your sales and profits.
You’ve got this!
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How to write an employee handbook

By Ken Boyd September 12, 2019
Do your employees understand the rules of the road?
As a business owner, you need to explain your company policies and procedures to your staff. Your team members need to know what is expected of them, and what they can expect from you. If you handle these expectations properly, you can avoid misunderstandings and limit any potential legal liability.
The best way to explain the rules of the road is to create an employee handbook, which documents your company’s policies, procedures, and expectations. This discussion explains why a handbook is important, how to start writing the document, and what your employee handbook should include.

Why it’s important

Is writing an employee handbook really that important?
If you communicate frequently with your staff, and your workers perform well and seem to be content, you may decide that writing a handbook isn’t necessary. After all, creating a handbook is time-consuming.
Operating your company without that handbook, however, is a mistake. Here are some of the benefits you’ll gain by writing an employee handbook:
  • Vision and mission: Your handbook should include your firm’s mission statement, which is your description of where you are headed as a company. If your staff understands your mission statement, they may feel a stronger bond to your company, and be more passionate about the work.
  • Supervision: The handbook makes employee supervision more transparent because the handbook explains the rights and responsibilities of both the worker and the employer. Everyone in the organization can refer to the handbook to make informed decisions about workplace behavior.
  • Productivity: If you discuss the employee handbook with each new hire, you’ll speed up the onboarding process, and help new employees to work productively. When you provide clear guidelines using a handbook, your new staff members will start work with more confidence.
  • Discipline: Many business owners dread the prospect of confronting an employee who makes a serious mistake. To minimize confusion on both sides, you should clearly state your disciplinary procedures in the handbook. Disciplining a worker is stressful, but implementing the procedures stated in the manual will make the process less difficult for both parties.
The handbook should also explain the benefits you offer employees, which can be a powerful incentive to retain workers over time. A handbook helps your business comply with federal, state, and local laws and should provide a confidential system that workers can access if they believe a policy or law has been violated.
Perhaps most important, operating with an employee handbook may reduce your legal liability. If you consistently follow the policies and procedures stated in the manual, each employee will be managed using the same set of rules. This practice can reduce your legal exposure if a worker brings a legal action against you. Consult with your attorney on these issues.

How to start

Once you understand why an employee handbook is important, how do you start the writing process?
Most business owners create company policies as they run the business. You may, for example, have a process workers use to request time off. You’ve emailed a memo that explains the policy, but the information is not in a formal employee handbook.
You’re not starting the writing process at zero, because you’ve already created some policies.
Here are some steps that you can take to start the writing process:
  • Google search: Perform a Google search to find an employee handbook template that applies to your industry. If you Google “employee handbook restaurant”, for example, you’ll find templates for restaurant owners. The template that you find can help you understand what topics to include.
  • Outline: Once you find a template, outline your employee handbook topics, using the template and your own management experience. For example, a restaurant owner must manage a large number of workers and deal with employee turnover, so the employee handbook must focus on hiring and termination policies.
  • Clear language: After you outline the handbook and start writing, use clear and simple language. Avoid using jargon, so that your staff can understand your policies, and provide links to more complex topics, such as laws and regulations. While a clearly written handbook will minimize questions, encourage your employees to ask questions if a policy isn’t clear to them.
You should meet with each new worker, either in person or online, to discuss the employee handbook, and each new worker should sign an acknowledgment that they received a handbook. This documentation will help to protect your firm if you must terminate an employee for violating a policy in the handbook.
Make sure that the employee handbook can be easily accessed online, and update the handbook as policies change.

What to include

Your firm’s employee handbook is a reflection of the type of business you want to operate, so take the writing process seriously. The handbook sets the tone that you want to establish with your staff, and a well-written handbook makes the supervision process much easier for you and your employees.
Here are some important considerations for your handbook:
  • Safety: Worker safety is your first priority, so begin your handbook by explaining how your firm will deal with an employee injury, a crime (robbery), or a natural disaster (flood, fire). Each of these events is stressful, and your workers should understand how your company would address these types of issues.
  • Expectations: The handbook is your opportunity is set expectations, and you should include all relevant policies. For example, what’s your policy regarding cell phone use during work hours? Where should employees take their lunch break? State your policies in writing.
  • Attorney review: Your handbook must address a variety of employment and legal policies, including overtime pay, workplace harassment policies, and other issues. An employment attorney should review your manual, to ensure that you’ve complied with federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
As you grow your business and hire more workers, you’ll need to add to and change your employee handbook. Remind your staff that an updated version of the handbook can always be found online.

Don’t wait

Make the commitment to create an employee handbook sooner, rather than later. Your handbook will make it easier to manage your staff, and the document will reduce your potential legal liability. Make the effort- you got this!

Employee compensation and benefits: the complete guide

By Katey Maddux September 12, 2019
When it comes to employee compensation, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. The right plan will not only motivate your workforce, but it will also align with your business goals and profitability.
So what is compensation? Is it just monetary? Are benefits included in the definition?
In my experience, both in the corporate (salary) and retail (hourly) space, an employee compensation plan encompasses salary or hourly pay and any benefits added to the package.

How to find a balance between employee pay and benefits

Companies often feel they can justify a lower salary or rate if they include a more robust benefits package. These can range from monetary benefits (like extra paid time off, holiday pay, and parental leave) to lifestyle benefits (like flexible working hours, the ability to work from home, a pet-friendly working environment, etc.).
Some of this is likely due to a generational shift in what employees are really looking for. For post-Depression-era baby boomers, the security of a steady salary is important. Many millennials, however, are more focused on work-life balance and lifestyle plans, valuing more vacation or the freedom to work from home.

What are the most popular types of compensation packages?

Employers have to think about who their target employee is and what that employee is looking for. Are they just trying to pay their way through college? If so, an hourly rate with a flexible schedule could be more attractive. If they’ve just started a family, they may be looking for benefits like parental leave and the chance to work from home. It’s critical for employers to keep this in mind when deciding between different types of compensation packages.
The ten different types of compensation packages include:

Small business employers say they care about employees like family

8 in 10 business owners say they care about their employees like family. And they equate new hires to new family members, according to the latest QuickBooks Payroll survey.* Many employers are willing to do a lot to ensure their employees’ happiness, livelihood, and well-being in attaining a work-life balance.

Employers’ motto: Sharing is caring

2 in 5 employers say they’d share their winnings with employees if they won the lottery. Some are even willing to donate an organ if it means helping an employee in need.


But it’s also about the little things. 8 in 10 treat their employees to a combination of meals, snacks, and gift cards.

Employers’ motto image
Employers’ motto image
Employers’ motto image

Employers celebrate employees’ personal milestones

Half of employers say they make an effort to know and celebrate their employees outside of their job duties. How do they do it?

  • They never forget their employees’ birthdays.
  • They know the names of their employees’ children and pets.
Employers celebrate image
Employers celebrate image
Employers celebrate image

Employers want employees to achieve a work-life balance

4 in 5 employers care about their employees’ financial health. 1 in 3 would take a pay cut to avoid layoffs.

Concerns go beyond professional well-being.

3 in 5 employers encourage their employees to take a personal day off when needed.

More than half of the respondents have done personal chores and run errands for their employees.

Employers celebrate image
Employers celebrate image
Employers celebrate image

Employers know getting things right is key

Accurate payroll is a common struggle for small business owners. And they stress over how it might affect their teams.

  • 63% worry about how late or inaccurate payroll could impact their employees.
  • 31% worry about the possible penalties from filing late or inaccurate payroll taxes.
Employers image
Employers image
Employers image

Employers want help beyond payroll

1 in 2 employers is not confident about hiring on their own. 1 in 3 is worried about hiring the wrong person for the job.

2 in 5 employers worry about losing their best employees because they cannot offer better benefits.

Another 3 in 5 wish they had more time to make their employees feel appreciated and invest in their professional development.

Employers image
Employers image
Employers image

As a small business owner, you should have complete confidence when taking care of your work family. QuickBooks Online Payroll helps you do that with:

  • Auto payroll1
  • Same-day direct deposit2
  • Automatic tax deductions and filing
  • Integrated time tracking
  • HR advisory3
  • Employee health benefits
  • Workers’ compensation

Keeping your work family happy may be hard. But just like family, it’s always worth it.

Run payroll in less than 5 minutes with QuickBooks Payroll