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I know a lot of you out there have your own businesses...just seen a link which is actually a piece from Barclays Bank, but thought it might be useful if you're planning to expand and take on staff....(I have no connections with Barclays )
Good practice in hiring employees
Hiring employees is a big but often unavoidable step for any partnership business, particularly because it’s just not possible (or desirable) to do everything yourself.
But taking on staff makes you not just a partner in the business, but an employer as well – a position that comes with many responsibilities and challenges.
Employees will be paid salaries from the profits of the practice – your profits – so make sure you get the right people in and know about the full costs and your responsibilities as an employer.
Start by deciding exactly what you need a specific employee to do. Write out a detailed job description – this will help you to clarify exactly what you are about to spend your hard-earned profits on.
Costs will start before you even hire anyone, through advertising the job. If you’re doing this yourself, take care – there are strict laws governing what you can and can’t say in employment advertising, so if in doubt, get your proposed wording checked over by an expert. If you’re using an agency, they may guide you and take care of writing the advert, but of course will charge for their skill and, if an employment agency source the employee for you, may charge a hefty fee (usually a percentage of the salary on offer) for a successful placement. Like anything else in the business, check the costs before you commit.
Do your research into what salary you need to pay to get the person you want. What is the going rate for the position in your area? Is the person you need a rarity or will there be many qualified applicants going for the job?
And remember that when it comes to the cost of an employee the salary is just the start. Employers’ liability insurance, employers’ National Insurance contributions, pension rights, cost of office space and any equipment the employee needs all need to be factored in.
Employees, unlike the partners who are self-employed, enjoy full employment rights in terms of holidays, sick pay, maternity and paternity leave and much more, so it’s a good idea to have access to HR advice to ensure you’re treating the employees correctly. Of course when they have paid leave, you still need to cover their work, possibly with part-time or freelance staff, so ensure this cost is factored in.
The interview process
Once you’ve decided which candidates you would like to interview for a position, there are a number of things to remember. Job interviews can often be as nerve-wracking for the interviewer as the interviewee but if you’re well prepared and have a list of questions before you start this should help.
A nervous interviewer may try to fill any empty space with personal small talk, which as well as possibly coming across as unprofessional can be dangerous territory. Obviously you want to use the interview to find out as much as you can about the candidate, but you should stick to questions that are directly related to the position offered and the candidate’s previous experience and suitability for the position. Questions about marital status, whether or not the candidate has (or plans to have) children, place of birth, ethnicity, language, religion, sexual preference or even age could fall foul of anti-discrimination law.
It’s also worth noting that what the employee does outside of work is none of your business. Questions about alcohol consumption, whether or not they smoke or take part in what you might view as ‘dangerous’ sports, or take illegal recreational drugs cannot be asked as these questions may be viewed as discriminatory. Of course you can stipulate the firm’s view on such things in the workplace in an employees’ handbook, but questions about what happens in a candidate’s free time are off limits.
Ask questions that are directly related to the position offered – the candidate’s previous experience if any, how they see their future career going, strengths and weaknesses etc.
Once you’ve picked an employee
It’s your responsibility to ensure that an employee has the right to work in the UK before you offer them a job. Even if you unknowingly employ someone who has no right to work in the UK, you can face a hefty fine. If you do so knowingly, the penalties are more severe.
Send the candidate a written offer of employment detailing the position, responsibilities, salary and benefits, including holiday entitlement. If you don’t do this before the employee starts, you must by law give them a written statement of employment within the first months of their employment.
You also need to take out employers’ liability insurance and register as an employer with HMRC to ensure you deduct the correct amounts of National Insurance and PAYE.
Once your employee starts, treat them well and keep them motivated – after all, they’re hopefully making money for you.
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