Hiring staff is always a big decision but it’s something you’ll need to consider at some point if your business is to grow. There are a range of options you can consider to balance the need for an extra pair of hands with business risks.
If you’re thinking of hiring this year, consider the points below to make sure you get recruitment right first time.
If your business has been facing a sustained level of demand in the area that you wish to hire (or if you have secured a long-term contract for services), you know that you should have a reliable stream of work so it could make sense to hire an employee on a part-time or full-time basis, depending on the amount of work available.
If you have good reason to believe that the work will last for more than a year, then you may be in a position to offer a permanent contract.
Taking on your first permanent employee is a big step – you’ll have a number of new responsibilities, including abiding by employment laws and registering with HMRC as an employer. It may seem daunting but there is lots of support and information available as well as tools (QuickBooks payroll software, for example) to help you manage your responsibilities much more easily.
It’s also an investment in your business – good people make a business work and once you find talented people you’ll want to keep hold of them.
If you find that the demand for the services in question tends to increase and decrease unpredictably, then it still may be the right time to hire – but perhaps on a more flexible basis. You should be looking to use people who can be recruited at a moment’s notice, who can hit the ground running, and who can be let go quickly if demand wavers.
You could consider:
- Freelancers and contractors – flexible staff that give you the minimum of legal obligations
- Fixed-term contracts – hire staff only for a defined period
- Zero hours contracts – staff are ‘on call’ for mutually convenient shifts but you are not obligated to offer any work if there is no demand
- Agency staff – can plug temporary skills gaps but don’t forget you still have certain legal obligations to the worker
Don’t forget, though, that freelancers, agency staff and contractors can be more expensive than employees and they may move on at short notice – this can make them a riskier option for some types of work.
Both employees and more flexible workers such as agency staff and freelancers have important roles to play in the hiring strategy of any small business.
Map out your needs, budget and options carefully before deciding what type of workers are best to help you move forward with your business.
Tip: Business Link’s employment skills content will help you understand more about different contract types and how they could work for your business.
Do you plan to take on new staff this year? Do you have any tips for other small businesses on knowing when is the right time to hire?