If you are taking on a member of staff for the first time or an additional employee, there is a whole range of issue you need to be aware of. With staff come a range of responsibilities that you, as an employer, are required to fulfil.
Taking on an employee in your small business is something you should take real care doing not only to ensure you stay compliant with employment laws and regulations but to help ensure you take on someone who is committed to your business and wants to see it succeed.
Employing staff for the first time
There are 7 things you need to do when employing staff for the first time. The final 4 steps you will need to do for every additional employee, not just the first one.
- Get employment insurance – you need employers’ liability insurance as soon as you become an employer.
- Tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) by registering as an employer – you can do this up to 4 weeks before you pay your new staff.
- Check if you need to automatically enrol your staff into a workplace pension scheme.
- Decide how much to pay someone – you must pay your employee at least the National Minimum Wage.
- Check if someone has the legal right to work in the UK. You may have to do other employment checks as well.
- Check if you need to apply for a DBS check (formerly known as a CRB check) if you work in a field that requires one, eg with vulnerable people or security
- Send details of the job (including terms and conditions) in writing to your employee. You need to give your employee a written statement of employment if you’re employing someone for more than 1 month.
In additional to this there are other things to think about for example, are you sure that your workplace is safe and secure for your employee to work in? Have you provided them the right amount of holiday? Are you set up to handle their personal data securely? Do you need a first aider? All of this and more you’ll need to bear in mind when taking on a new member of staff.
It might sound like a lot to think about, but remember, your people are your most important resource when growing a business.
Employee retention refers to the ability of an organisation to retain its employees. If you have a high turnover of staff it will cost you both time and productively so it is important to look at ways to retain staff. There are many different opinions on how to do this but there are some common themes.
In addition to offering a competitive benefits package, including health and life insurance and a retirement plan and providing employees financial incentives such as raises, bonuses and stock options it is important to think about the values and ethos of the organisation as well as the working environment. Hold open meetings to help sure employees know what’s expected of them and how they can grow within your company; share your vision of what you want to achieve and encourage staff to speak openly and freely about their options without fear of repercussion. Foster employee development, this could be training to learn a new job skill or tuition reimbursement to help further your employee’s education, see our Skills and training page for further information.
Don’t underestimate the value in offering small perk such as offering a flexible working day (within reason), a well stocked biscuit tin and fruit bowl, providing healthy snack machines food or offering ‘summer hours’ where you allow employees to accrue time during the week so they can leave early on a Friday, they may seem insignificant to you, but if they help your employees better manage their lives, they’ll appreciate it and may be more likely to stick around. Finally take the time to celebrate good ideas and achievements, they can improve staff morale and make for a positive working environment.
Visit the GOV.uk website for more information on the following areas of employing people:
- Employ someone – step by step
- Get ready to employ someone
- Employment contracts
- Contract types and employer responsibilities
- Jobcentre Plus help for recruiters
- National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates
- PAYE and payroll for employers
- Employing someone to work in your home
ACAS – an organisation devoted to preventing and resolving employment disputes. Their website contains a wealth of guidance, free tools and templates for employers. They can also provide free and confidential advice via their helpline. http://www.acas.org.uk/
Law Donut – a legal resource for your business – https://www.lawdonut.co.uk/business/
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- Job Centre Plus
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- ACAS is an organisation devoted to preventing and resolving employment disputes.
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- University of Plymouth – Enterprise Solutions
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