According to recent data, UK small businesses were responsible for 68% of all new jobs created between 2012 and 2013 – a grand total of 250,000 new roles. If more new jobs are expected to come from small business this year, a better understanding is needed of how to create jobs for your workforce and source top talent.
Although it might seem intuitive; knowing how and when to grow a business is in reality a science – an opaque one, certainly, but still a science. With that in mind, here are a few pointers on any entrepreneurs looking to grow their start up and increase their workforce over the coming tax year:
Where to start – the process before hiring
First, there’s the process of figuring out how to find qualified applicants, screen them, and interview them. Then, once an employee comes on board, there’s payroll to manage, along with government reporting requirements.
Altogether, there are four key things any small business needs to consider before adding to their existing workforce:
- The state of the company’s cash flow
- The impact of running payroll within the office
- What options exist for running payroll
- What needs to be done for compliance with government regulations and requirements
Think you’re ready? Here are some of the challenges that lie ahead:
Selecting, implementing and managing payroll can be one of the biggest challenges small businesses face when preparing to hire for the first time. Ask yourself if you’ll be able to afford paying employees, and the associated payroll expenses. The increased sales you hope to get from having additional help are exciting, but meaningless if you can’t pay for the increased expenses.
Other elements of the hiring process that need early attention include the company’s short and long-term hiring strategies, the duration of training new employees, legal formalities and compliance with various regulatory bodies including HMRC. You need to be sure your business is implementing fair holiday and sick pay practices, keeping records of employment, following minimum wage guidelines and sending out P60s at the end of each year. Failure to do so could well result in fines on a catastrophic scale.
Don’t worry, there are tools out there to help
To help small business owners navigate the hiring process and work towards a productive workforce, the UK government supplies a list of things you must ensure you do before recruiting, along with helpful hints. They also notify businesses of changes in the law. Recently acts brought into by parliament include placing the onus on the business owner to find out if potential hires have the right to work in the UK. Failure to comply can result in a hefty fine.
Other methods of preparing include getting onto some payroll software. A Canadian study recently concluded that small businesses already using some form of payroll software were significantly more likely to be hiring in the year ahead.
The study also found that 97% of small business owners who use payroll software like QuickBooks appreciated the efficiency, accuracy and one-stop-integration of the system.
“Most entrepreneurs are creating jobs without the network of solutions and support that bigger companies can rely on,” claimed the study’s authors. “Using accounting software such as QuickBooks instead of a spreadsheet enables you to work seamlessly with your accountant, and ensures that your accounting records are up-to-date and that you are in compliance with government requirements.”
Everything is in place, now show me the talent!
So you must be thinking, ‘if I have my payroll options sorted and I know what needs to be done to comply with government requirements, how do I find my new star employees?’
The first step in finding the right fit for your team is taking the time to write a good job description. Don’t think of it as just a posting. Rather, think of it as an advertisement. Don’t just copy and paste the specifications of the role. Put yourself in the shoes of the person you want to hire, and ultimately decide how you can reach them.
This means avoiding the use of bullet points and skimming over job details. Adding more content to personalise the experience, and forgoing traditional black and white documents in favour of a multimedia approach can go a long way in helping you find the best fit for your team.
When it comes time to meet the candidates in person, it’s important to maintain a structured process for every interview, rather than trying to ‘wing it’ like some startups tend to do.
In addition to asking the standard questions about past roles and current skill sets, asking candidates behavioural and situational questions will help lend insight into their range of experience as well as their thinking process.
For tech-oriented roles, having some sort of test – such as a coding test for software candidates – is a good way to see their skills in action. Ultimately, employers should strive to make sure the interview experience is the same for every candidate. That will help make comparisons and your final decision easier.