What to consider when taking on your first employee…

Hiring your first employee
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Are you thinking of taking on your first employee? The decision could be based on so many factors. The new IR35 guidelines, that mean it might be tricky for you to have people employed on a contract basis from April 2021, or your business may be expanding and you need some help to support that growth.

Whatever the reason, it is important to get it right, and procedurally there are lots of things to consider in addition to finding that all-important right cultural fit.

We hire a variety of roles for our clients, significantly more cost-effectively than an agent. We charge by the hour (capping our fees) and provide you with a complimentary Applicant Tracking System complete with your branding. We also check those all important references and can supply a contract and offer letter template that reflects your business requirements and keeping you legally compliant. 

We offer advice on recruitment, are always happy to answer questions and can assist with interviewing – to ensure you don’t ask discriminatory questions. We are here to support you every step of the way, but if you prefer to do it yourself – these are our tips on how to get it right.

Role responsibilities and the importance of a job description.

It is important to plan when taking on staff. Writing a job description will assist you to focus on the skills, behaviours and experience your new hire needs. Not only will having a job specification assist you when adverting and subsequently advertising the role, but it will also assist the person you take on to understand the different facets of the role and will help with appraisal and target setting discussions and perhaps training plans for when they start employment with you.

Advertising your role

If you have access to an applicant tracking system, this is most definitely the best way to hire – it provides a GDPR compliant system that keeps CVs in one place. Before placing an expensive advert, check that you are advertising in the right place, do your research. Indeed, Gumtree and job sites such as Totaljobs, CV-Library and Reed online are good places to start, but if your role is niche you may need to research more specialist sites.  

Copy details of your advert to your social media presence and ask your network to share the details.

Ensure adverts are non-discriminatory

Check the text of your advert does not discriminate against the following protected characteristics as per the Equality Act 2020

  • age.
  • disability.
  • gender reassignment.
  • marriage and civil partnership.
  • pregnancy and maternity.
  • race.
  • religion or belief.
  • Sex

For example, beware of asking for a specific “number of years’ experience”, this is the most common slip up and could potentially be seen as ageist.

Ensure your candidates have the right to work in the UK

As of the 1st January, 2021 candidates must have the right to work in the UK. If they are from the EU originally, ensure they have settled status and that you see the original supporting documentation – there is a way of checking if these docs are accurate, you can do so by visiting the Gov.uk website.

whilst we are still all online and remotely working because of Covid -19, we recommend that you ask your new hire to show you their right to work documentation via zoom, but remember to check in person once you have made the offer.

Be clear in your advert as to whether you can obtain a Work permit for your new hire. these are expensive and can provide tricky to obtain without an employer license. We have access to specialist companies and immigration lawyers that can help if required.

Ensure your offer letter states that the offer is made on the basis that the person has the right to work in the UK, and if relevant, the sight of qualification documentation. Once your new hire has accepted the offer, ensure that all personal data (copies of passport and settlement documentation) for all other candidates are completely removed from your system.

Applicant tracking system (ATS)

An ATS would assist with managing the storage of personal data.  When hiring for our clients, we ensure that all documents including interview notes and personal details are only stored on their personalised ATS page for the minimal amount of time, this ensures our clients are not in breach of GDPR.

Ensure you have permission if storing documents for future recruitment campaigns. Our ATS cleanses our records automatically every few months by emailing candidates requesting permission to store their data.

Privacy policy and the importance of good interview notes

Ensure you have a privacy policy that states where you will be storing information and the time duration. Ensure you keep your interview notes for a period of time, in case there are any challenges to the interview decision. You do not have to be an employee of a Company to bring a tribunal claim. If a candidate thinks they have been unfairly discriminated against in the recruitment process, they may also bring a claim against you.

Make sure your interview notes are factual and your questions and recruitment decisions are not discriminatory.

Interview questions

Ensure that you are not discriminatory in your questioning of a candidate. Asking if they intend to have children will be automatically discriminatory.

Instead, as an ice breaker and a way of finding out about them as a person, ask them to “tell you a bit about themselves” at the beginning of the interview. They may impart information about topics you cannot ask about during the interview process.

What paperwork is required?  Once you have found the right person…

You need to provide a contract of employment before or on the first day of their employment. As of April 2020, there are certain details that you must include within the contract for it to be compliant; for example, details of your family-friendly policy Paid Leave Entitlements and any compulsory training, but there are other aspects you must include to be compliant. If you need help with developing a template, we would be happy to assist you. 

What benefits etc, do I need to provide legally?

April and October are traditionally the months when employment changes come into force. Keep an eye out for changes to ensure compliance with statutory minimum obligations. Offer statutory minimums for holiday and Statutory Sick pay, you can always increase at a later date.

It may sound like a great idea to offer additional holiday or a bonus system from day one, but ensure that you have the right clauses in place in the contract for a bonus scheme and that you understand the additional costs (as an additional holiday will apply to all) as you increase your team.

Ensure that you offer a pension scheme in line with the government statutory minimum auto-enrolment requirements.

Do I need other Policies and a Handbook?

You may not see these as necessary for your first employee, but they are a great way of helping to manage your new employee or team. The Handbook is a good way of recording the non-contractual terms you have in place and will be a good aide memoir for your first and subsequent employees.

This document does not have to be chapter and verse and will normally grow in content and detail as your team grows. If you have policies and a handbook ensure that they are accessible and that everyone has read them. We recommend that you start off with the following policies; a disciplinary, grievance, sickness and absence and perhaps a data protection policy. The policies you choose to have will be largely dependant on how your business operates.

Managing my new hire – where should I store their information?

Once you have the right person on board, you may want to consider processes to help you manage your employee. Performance management processes, probation reviews and ensuring that relevant documents are securely stored should be a priority. We can provide you with a GDPR compliant, cloud-based, secure HR Information system license and will happily configure this for you too so it suits your business needs.

Easily accessible from your smartphones or a computer, an HRIS is a professional, legally compliant way to store all those personal details, monitor holiday accrual, record TOIL, bank details, home address and sickness and keep company docs safe and secure with a read-receipt option for important letters and policies too.  You can set reminders for important events such as probation reviews and contract extensions. Store your contractor’s details there too.

Start as you mean to go on and get organised with your employee records, and you will save yourself so much time and angst in the long term. You should store your employee records for a minimum of 7 years, you can easily do this with an HR Information system.

HR support and your new employee…

We understand that your main focus as an operationally focused business owner is to be running and developing your business. We also understand that it is lonely being an employer if things go wrong. Taking on your first employee is an exciting step for you and your business, but it does require you to embrace the challenge and think about how this works in best practice and within the realms of employment law. You may not get it right the first time. Take your time and don’t rush in, but if things don’t go according to plan, we can help.

HRCentral Ltd is able to provide you with an outsourced HR support service, and support many SME manage their people across all aspects of the employee lifecycle. We work closely with you to understand your business needs and get to know your team, right from the start of their employment with you.

If you would like to hear more about our ATS, the HR Information system or a quote for a contract template, or how we support our clients on an ongoing basis; do please get in touch on 0118 324 2526 or email enquiries@hrcentral.co.uk.

Retainer options

We pride ourselves on advising SME and assisting them to grow and develop as employers of choice, without massive day rates, we charge by the hour, you pay for what you use. We also understand that to pay for everything in one go, can be prohibitive.  Our various retainer options help you to spread the cost of HR support and advice over 12 months. 

#Breathe #hireful #hiringfirstemployee #retainer #newstarter #recruitment #equalityact2020

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