Growing your team is a huge achievement as a business owner, but it can also feel daunting.

Bringing new people into your business is a big investment that requires careful planning and execution. You want to get it right from the beginning and don’t want to be cutting corners and causing yourself issues down the line. Not only is a new employee an investment of your time, money and effort, but it’s also an investment in terms of your business’ culture, values and reputation.

With so much complex employment law to navigate it can be easy to get wrong unintentionally, but unfortunately “I didn’t know” isn’t a viable defence at tribunal.

To make sure you can hire with confidence and be reassured that your new team member has everything they need to thrive, here’s a few things you need to know.

Preparing your business for your new employee


Before you even begin the hiring process, there are several key steps to take to ensure your business is ready to welcome a new team member. These include:

1. Clearly defining the role and responsibilities and crafting an effective job advert

This is a huge step when hiring your new team member. You need a well-defined outline of the responsibilities and expectations of the role to make sure you attract the right person for the job. Plus, this gives your new team member clear direction when they start.

2. Can you afford to take on a new employee?

There’s a number of financial considerations when taking on a new employee. Not only do you need to decide how much to pay someone (you must pay your employee at least the National Minimum Wage), but it’s important to take into account other expenses. Things like, pension, benefits, sick pay and paternity leave.

3. Is the workplace safe and accessible?

Before you welcome new members into your team, you need to ensure your business is safe, accessible and inclusive for everybody. This includes practicalities like fire safety, data protection and health and safety. But it also relates to discrimination, bias and making your workplace accessible and inclusive for everybody; from disabled access to neurodivergent support.

4. Take out the relevant insurance

You need to take out employers’ liability insurance as soon as you become an employer. Your policy must cover you for at least £5 million and come from an authorised insurer. Without the right insurance in place you risk fines of up to £2,500 for every day you are not properly insured.

5. Register as an employer, set up PAYE and enrol in pensions

Before the employee’s first payday, you need to register with HMRC so you can pay tax and national insurance. Keep in mind, it can take up to 15 working days to get your employer PAYE reference number and this is necessary for payroll.

As an employer, you also have a responsibility to put certain staff into a workplace pension and pay into it. This is called ‘automatic enrolment’. The Pensions Regulator is responsible for ensuring that all employers comply with workplace pension law and it’s important that you understand what you’ll need to do and prepare early.

Getting your new team member started

Once you have found the right person for the job, and they have accepted your offer, there’s a few important steps you need to take.

1 .Provide your new team member with a contract of employment and employee handbook

Although it might be tempting, don’t use other people’s contracts or pull generic policies from the internet. It might be free, but it won’t be relevant, up to date or useful for you or your new employee. This doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune on solicitor fees, as often the language in these is very legal and isn’t understandable – nevermind in alignment with the values, culture and brand of the employer.

You want your contracts, policies and HR documents to have purpose, but this doesn’t mean you can’t use friendly, inclusive and clear language.

2. Think about the probationary period

Probationary periods for new employees work both ways. They allow employers the opportunity to assess whether the person is suitable for the job, giving them a chance to monitor their capability, skills, performance, attendance and general conduct first hand. And it also provides the new employee insight into the company and whether it’s the right role for them. Click here to find out more tips on how to manage a probationary period effectively.

3. Keep checking in

Even if your new employee seems settled into their role and is just getting the job done, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be regularly checking in with them. Especially within a new employees first few weeks, you should be finding opportunities to talk, answer any questions and find out if there’s anything they need to better carry out their role.

4. Regularly review your policies, practices and processes

The workplace is constantly evolving and so should your employment practices. Stay informed about changes in employment law, rules, and regulations as well as people’s shifting expectations and attitudes. Ensure your policies and handbook reflect your business’s current values and expectations. Continuous improvement is key to maintaining a positive work environment and ensuring you can hire every new employee with confidence.

Are you hiring a new team member?

This article is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what you need to know when employing your first (or next) team member. For more guidance, get your ‘Becoming An Employer HR Pack!’

It includes a checklist of your responsibilities, people policies and a contract of employment to make sure your employees have everything they need to thrive and drive your business forward.

’Click here to buy your Becoming An Employer HR Pack!’

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