Don’t let anyone tell you hiring isn’t worth it or having employees is like having more children! When you make the right hiring decisions, and you are considering a “builder” – one who enjoys developing and motivator others, you will find joy in having the right team in place.
Even so, a new business owner may feel overwhelmed… everything is new and there is a lot to take on: state and federal paperwork, business plans, contracting vendors, finding and maybe even renovating a space, and then… (yikes!) hiring employees.
“Do I even need employees?”
Owners may wonder if it makes sense to hire employees right away. Independent Contractors, they may think, would be easier; no employment law hassles; they won’t expect benefits or perks; can’t negotiate pay once a contract is signed; and can just be paid through an accounting system. They take care of their own taxes and if they don’t work out, a contract can just be ended.
A true Independent Contractor (“IC”) should ideally only be brought on due to his or her expertise for a specific project or initiative. He or she is a vendor. ICs should not take direction from the business in terms of day-to-day tasks and can set their own hours. They can have multiple clients and have their own equipment: laptops, cell phones, etc.
You can hire an IC who has expertise in call center set-up to help you set up a call center; however, someone you contract to cover the phones and take customer orders isn’t an IC – they are an employee.
An Independent Contractor disguised as an employee can lead to trouble with the IRS as well as with the Fair Labor Standards Act. If what you need are employees, you should start by hiring employees.
Considering hiring “green”?
There are so many employment laws!
There are laws around every step of the employment process, from candidate selection and interviews, wage payments and work schedules through termination, and they can change quickly. Not only are there federal laws, but there are state and local laws as well. Having a legal resource and strong HR support can help you navigate the laws and keep you in compliance.
How can I be sure I’m hiring the right people?
It’s more than filling the desks as quickly as possible. Hiring the right employees can help move a business forward while hiring the wrong ones can set you back. It’s important to get help – at least at the beginning – with finding potential candidates who have the right mix of experience, attitude and knowledge to be a part of your new organization and a thorough, legal vetting process will help narrow them down in order to build a strong team.
What if they ask for more money once they start?
When you give candidates an offer and they accept it (in writing is always best), they are agreeing to the salary or hourly rate and any commission program that you have set for the position. You can set the expectation as to how often compensation will be reviewed and what performance and financial factors will trigger or otherwise affect raises and bonuses so there are no surprises.
What if they sue me?
The key is to be familiar with the employment laws for your state and industry (this is where HR can be very helpful.) Have a legally reviewed, current employee handbook in place… and stick to it. Be consistent in your treatment of employees. Take all harassment and disparate treatment claims seriously. Respect employee privacy when it pertains to their health or other personal issues. Document and take prompt action with struggling performers, as well as all occurrences of insubordination and employee conflict. A terminated employee that is angry may try to sue but if you have a documented history of performance issues and insubordination, it will be harder for them to build a case for disparate treatment when it was not the reason for his or her dismissal.
Knowledge and Experience – with you.
When hired on from the beginning of a new venture, your employees will have invaluable homegrown knowledge going forward. Your first employees will help you work out the bugs and they’ll be your future managers, trainers, recruiters and advocates. Employees who take pride in their work and feel good about what they do spread the word about the company they are working for.
A loyal team.
When treated fairly and recognized for hard work, employees will probably stick with you through any storm and can even help lighten your load. Imagine the feeling of one day being able to take a step away from the day-to-day duties and start to strategize for the future, knowing you have a strong workforce in place to carry out the transactional work.
It is worth stating again: Don’t let anyone tell you hiring isn’t worth it or having employees is like having more children!
When you make the right hiring decisions, and you are considering a “builder” – one who enjoys developing and motivator others, you will find joy in having the right team in place.