In my last blog I explained how I have helped one company become “employee ready.” This next blog should provide some insight into all you need to do to enable your company to take on staff.
Now, I won’t lie…..it is a lot of work upfront (and you won’t have anyone to do this for you, yet!) and therefore, Virtual Office help is a very appealing alternative!!! Read on and I’ll explain how!
Firstly, you need to make a list (in your head or on paper, whichever you prefer) of what the new role includes. What is it you want help with? Is it to increase sales? Is it to do all the paperwork? Is it to work on promotion of your business? Is it just an extra pair of hands to do the same as you? If you do not have a clear idea of what you want “someone” to do, how will you be able to tell them?
Next, what hours are you looking to fill? Is it a few days a week, a couple of hours a day or as and when? This is helpful so you will know who to advertise to and where? For example, working for a couple of hours a day in an office may suit a school mum so advertise on Facebook or ask around the playground, weekend work may suit a student so advertise in the local pub!!!
Next it is a good idea to decide what you are looking for in the right person for the job? This could be a personal list that never gets shown to anyone, so decide what you really want. Do you want them dressed smartly, bubbly, well spoken, or one of the lads, able to get stuck in, able to be moulded or able to work on their own?
Are you really ready to take someone on?
Are you able to trust “someone” with a bit of your business? If you cannot see yourself feeling comfortable with this at all, you need to question whether it is the right time for you to employ someone. Would a probation period work well in your situation? Would it be better to work with a self-employed consultant instead, where you can terminate the contract if you are seriously having “collie-wobbles?” (and IF you do choose a consultant, ensure Service Agreements are in place, ring me for advice if you need one).
Can you afford it? You need to be in a situation where you can pay someone all the time! When they are on holiday, when it is a bank holiday, if there is no new work coming into the business!! Staff expect to be paid their exact salary, exactly when you tell them you will pay it. People depend on this – bills, direct debits, mortgages will all be shaped around this money, and so if there is just one thing to get right, it is the Finances!!!
Speaking of finances, you have to decide what salary to offer! Is it minimum wage, hourly rate, yearly salary? Are there extras such as mileage, company car, mobile phones on top? Ask around to see what similar businesses are offering their staff, ask a recruiter for advice (they don’t all bite). Prepare an upper and lower limit in your mind and be prepared to negotiate around this during the interview stage. For a more sales based role, think about commission payments, but let them “sell” you their worth!
This is where Virtual Office Support can be a better alternative. We can charge at an hourly rate or a fixed fee. If the work is not there to do, you don’t need to pay us – like you do with an employee! We also don’t need holiday pay, bonuses, pay reviews or have bank holidays off!
Another question to consider is – Is your Business ready? (And if it’s not, I can help!)
To employ someone, you must have employers’ liability. This covers you in case of a liability for work based accidents and illnesses during the normal course of employment. Phew – in English – just good old insurance against a claim then!
You also need a Health and Safety policy in place and provide Health and Safety training to all staff, including the provision and use of any Personal Protective equipment (PPE). You also need policies in place for sickness, equality, leave, conduct, disciplinary matters and maternity/paternity leave amongst others. The best way of letting employees know about this is by providing an Employee Handbook – who are you going to get to write this? Ooh, ooh, pick me, pick me!!
You will need to let HMRC know that you will be an employer and you will need some way to record your wage payments to staff members and to provide them with a written record. You must also ensure that all relevant records and payments are made to HMRC such as PAYE/NI contributions, P45’s, P60’s etc. and on time! One of the best ways to do this is to use a Payroll system. As of 6th April 2013, HMRC operates using Real Time Information (RTI) which means that you must notify them of payments made on or the day before you pay employees.
Phew – told you it was a lot of work!! And we haven’t even discussed the actual recruitment process yet!
So remember, whilst there are advantages to having an employee, Virtual Assistants, like me, are a cheaper, more flexible answer. We are self-employed, covered by your existing public liability insurance (or have our own). You know how much you are paying us upfront. Also, if you don’t like what we do, you don’t use us again!
In my role as Virtual Office Support, I have created Payroll for companies and manage one of these on an on-going basis. I have written staff policies and created Employee Handbooks. I can carry out risk assessments that feed into the company Health and Safety policy and have provided H&S training to employees for one of my clients.
So if you are ready to take on an employee and don’t know where to start, or, alternatively, if you think Virtual Office Support would benefit your business more, contact me on 07735 021642 to discuss how we can work together to make YOUR business work.