Ten steps to hiring your first employee

Feb 12, 2021 3:22:48 PM

Hiring your first employee is a big commitment and a big opportunity for business growth. Employers have many obligations to meet, but you'll find plenty of information and support to help you get it right. A Business Mentor can support you with the ten steps below, to help you get started as an employer and find resources to help you succeed.

1.     Make sure the timing is right.

The best time to hire your first employee is before you become too overwhelmed to do it carefully. If you're missing out on business growth because you lack capacity, it's time to give serious thought to employing someone. You’ll also need to be sure the money adds up. You'll find a helpful tool to calculate an employee's cost at business.govt.nz.

2.     Register as an employer.

If you’re going to hire an employee, go ahead and register as an employer with the IRD. Their First Time Employer guide has plenty of helpful information you can download here.

3.     Decide on what type of employee you need.

Your new person might not need to be full time. Part-time, casual and contracting are all options that can be more cost-effective, depending on the workload and type of work you have in mind.

Consider the tasks you have in mind, how long they'll take and how much responsibility you're willing to delegate. Our partner, ASB, have good guidance about the different employment types on their website.

4.     Create a job description with task descriptions and objectives.

Each employee needs a job description that clearly outlines the position's tasks and objectives. The job description should:

  • introduce your business and its focus
  • set out hours and where the person will work
  • outline tasks and responsibilities
  • include the values and skills you expect.

5.     Get the word out.

You have plenty of options to spread the word that you’re hiring. Online platforms such as Seek, Trademe and LinkedIn allow you to advertise jobs cost-effectively. If you advertise, be prepared to respond to applications. People will always remember how your business treats them in the recruitment process.

Asking your community of customers and stakeholders may help you find someone who already has an understanding of what your business is about.

There are also many organisations that offer HR services.

6.     Interview the applicants with the best fit.

Once you’ve made a shortlist from the applications, you can get to know them better through interviews. Good preparation and open-ended questions will help you make the most of your time. Employment NZ has lots of information to help you with interviews here. There’s also guidance to help you avoid unintentional discrimination.

7.     Check references and details.

Always check at least one reference before you make a job offer, even if the prospective employee comes highly recommend. Reference checks allow you to verify a candidate’s skills independently. Also make sure the person is legally allowed to work in New Zealand.

8.     Make an offer.

Making the offer is an exciting step. Your offer should include all the details of the employee’s work, the job description and information about the 90 Day Trial Period if you are going to use one. Business.govt.nz has a tool to help you create an employment agreement that meets your obligations.

Your new employee must sign an employment agreement before they start. You’ll need to give them time to think about it and get advice before they sign.

9.     Induct them into your business.

Getting your new employee set up for success is vital. An induction plan can include payroll set up, health and safety information, setting up logins or workspaces, understanding systems, and meeting other staff. You could use a checklist to help, such as the induction plan template found on this page.

10. Be a good employer.

When you're an employer, you can help your business and staff succeed by keeping on top of obligations and rights – both yours and your employees'. Regular communication is essential. A business mentor can offer independent insights about every stage of business growth to help with this. Your mentor will be a valuable sounding board and can bring a fresh perspective to leading your business. If you don’t have a Business Mentor, you can apply today at www.businessmentors.org.nz.