Your business needs help. But what sort of help is best? Should you bring in a full-time member of staff, a contractor, someone part-time … or maybe even an intern? Here’s a quick run-down of your main options.
Full time employees
Advantages: Looking for a full-time employee gives you a large pool of people to choose from. By bringing someone in full-time, you’ll also be creating stability and certainty. When you’re not available, you know they will be. Employing full-time employees generally reduces staff turnover too.
Disadvantages: It’s more expensive, because you have to cover the costs of employing someone full-time. You also have less flexibility – so you’ll want to be sure there’s enough work to keep them busy.
Advantages: With a part-time employee, you still get the knowledge that someone you trust is there to help, but with lower costs. You can agree flexible hours, to provide cover and assistance at times which suit them and your business.
Disadvantages: You may find that employing part-time staff tends to increase staff turnover. It can also be harder to find highly-skilled part-time staff, as many will prefer to work full-time.
Advantages: Working with independent contractors gives you enormous flexibility. You can call on them as and when they’re needed, and they don’t cost you a penny when you’re not using them. You also don’t have to worry about payroll headaches, tax or National Insurance calculations.
Disadvantages: It costs more per hour to work with independent contractors, and if demand is high you may find it harder to get the people you need, when you need them. Contractors have much more autonomy than employees, and – to avoid any potential liabilities – you need to ensure their status as a contractor is clear.
Advantages: It usually costs less to provide an internship than to employ someone. Interns can be very smart, very keen to learn and provide a fresh perspective on how your business works.
Disadvantages: Interns are very inexperienced and so you’ll need to provide more supervision and help to them. They’re there to learn, so you need to invest time in their development to create a mutually-beneficial relationship. Internships are also short term – typically only a few weeks or months.