5 Top Tips when Taking on Your First Employee

Originally posted in September 2012

So, you’ve launched your own business, it’s going well and now you need to take on your first person. It’s a big step – one which a lot of microbusinesses never take – so you need to make sure you do it right.  Following the steps below can help you avoid an expensive mistake

  1. Be clear and specific about what you want in an employee – what skills do they actually need, and what are just “nice to have”?  Wanting a super-hero who can do everything is likely to lead to disappointment
  2. Remember that as an entrepreneur you have a huge personal stake in the success of your business. An employee, no matter how enthusiastic, will never have that same level of commitment as you. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a fact, but it means that you can’t expect them to devote as much of their life to the business as you.
  3. Make sure that you have all the basics in place – employer’s liability insurance, a payroll provider to ensure you deduct tax and NI correctly, and proper contracts – before you decide to recruit.
  4. Take professional advice if you need to. You use an accountant or a marketing consultant for specialist advice – do the same for people management.
  5. Don’t believe anything you read about employment matters in the media (especially if it’s in the Mail or the Telegraph). They are interested in selling papers and promoting a political agenda, not giving you accurate business information.


Remember what you are making is a business decision – and in cash terms possibly one of your most significant ones. Evaluate it against the same criteria as you would any other investment, but remember also that you will be dealing with another human being, not a “thing”.

If you want to know more about the most effective way you can manage the people in your business, or have heard various tales about employment law and want to separate the fact from the myth, more information is available here

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