Tips for Hiring Your First Employee

Updated on 27 June 2024

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hiring your first employee

It’s a huge milestone when a small business is able to hire its first employee. From starting with next to nothing to finally affording another salary, this is a day to celebrate! But where to start? Here are some tips for hiring your first employee.

When you hire your first employee, it is important to understand what you need your worker to do. Take some time to ask yourself what you expect from your workforce: To assist with administrative tasks? To help balance your workload? Or something entirely different? Since you have been the sole employee of your business for so long, it can be challenging to put into words what your goal is with hiring personnel. This will be your starting point.

Hiring Your First Employee: Start at the Start

Start by identifying what your needs are. This will help you understand what skills, qualifications and traits you need your employees to have. Consider where you might lack skills and need your employees to have well-developed skills. For example, if it isn’t naturally easy for you to interact with clients, you might need someone who has a demonstrated ability to work well with customers.

You also need to understand that you shouldn’t just hire someone “to reduce your workload”. In the long run, you won’t be able to assess whether your intended goal is being met. For that reason, you need to set SMART goals. Write them down and list what you expect from your employees because this will form the basis for your job description.

Once you have done this, you will need to start the hiring process. This includes posting a job advertisement, setting up an interview, and assessing candidates.

Pro Tip: During the hiring process, take note of how the candidate is presenting themselves, how comfortable you are with them, and if you enjoy their personality – you will be spending a lot of time with them.

Managing your First Employee

It’s important that you are on the same page as your employees, especially when they will perform tasks that you used to do. Keep the following in mind:

  • Communicate effectively with your staff. Any instructions should be clear and you need to confirm that they understand their duties.
  • Encourage, motivate and praise your employees for a job well done.
  • Set clear expectations and communicate when they are meeting this or not.
  • Keep up with what your employee is working on and what the progress of the tasks are.

Explore Payroll Options for Your First Hire

With your first employee joining the business (and hopefully many more to come), you will need a system that helps you keep track of salary payments, tax and deductions and leave days. It is a vital part of keeping your financial records up to date and accurate.

Depending on your business and preferences, there are many tools to consider. You will need to consider how each platform uses data, how user-friendly you find it to be and the cost. However, there are many other factors that you need to consider as well. Compare some of the top Payroll and HR software available on the market before you make your decision. Data reporting, leave management, employee onboarding and document management are also important features that the software needs to have.

Abide by the Law when Hiring your First Employee

Any business – or citizen – must abide by the law. For businesses, this relates to being tax compliant, following industry regulations and having all the relevant business licenses in place.

When you hire your first employee, you will need to understand the deductions that you need to calculate when paying their salary. This includes Pay-As-You-Earn, the Unemployment Insurance Fund and the Skills Development Levy. By law, every employer needs to factor this in. Other businesses also choose to offer medical aid or other benefits. Such benefits can include a company vehicle or fuel allowance.

Make sure you understand the terms related to being tax-compliant when you handle employee salaries. If you are not sure, you can always contact an expert and work with them to become compliant. The same goes for any other laws and regulations.

If you have any questions about your first hire, read our article titled HR FAQs for Your First Hire.

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