Hiring staff is a costly business and it goes without saying that you need to attract the best people to fill the vacancies in your business to help you to continue to grow. The consequences of getting the recruitment process wrong can be catastrophic. Get the wrong person in and at best, they will be a drain on your resources, resulting in a need to manage them out of the business and re-recruit in the future at even more cost. At worst, recruiting the wrong person could have a negative effect on the rest of your team, reduce morale, damage client relationships and harm your business. Here’s a recap on some of the fundamentals of effective recruitment to help you get this important task right.
Create effective job descriptions
Once you have identified the need for hiring staff in your business, whether that be to replace an outgoing member of staff or to fill a brand new vacancy, it’s important to get your job description right. The job description is your shop window. There will be the right person out there to fill the vacancy and you need to ensure the description appeals to them, communicates what you are looking for in the position and is easy to understand. It is also vital in helping you avoid applications from those that are not qualified for the position. Far too often job descriptions are full of corporate language and buzzwords which make it almost impossible to understand what the day to day responsibilities are. Ensure you convey the key responsibilities for the role, the qualifications and skills required, how much experience is needed, who the applicant will work with and report to, immediate and long term objectives and how you will measure success. By outlining in detail these points, applicants will have no doubt what the job entails and you will have a starting point from which to conduct performance reviews in the future.
Reach the right candidate
For small businesses it is vital to use every resource you have available to you. There are many options available to you before resorting to expensive professional head-hunters or recruitment agencies. Place postings on job boards or recruitment websites, use local, national or industry press, advertise the vacancy on your website, use your company’s social and professional networks and ask for referrals from your existing employees. There may also be exceptional talent already within your business that you have overlooked, so it is important to also advertise the position internally. Don’t overlook candidates from competitor firms or similar industries either! The search functions in LinkedIn are an amazing tool to help you find and reach out to these people.
Make applicants WANT to work for you
It’s amazing how many businesses get this part wrong. Many are so busy, or at worst so arrogant, to believe that everyone will want to work for them, no matter how little effort they make. The way you respond to applications, prepare for interviews, follow up after interviews and communicate throughout the process is vital in driving applicants to want to work for you. Ensure your business comes across in a highly professional manner throughout. Communicate with candidates, offer feedback and ensure interviews are conducted professionally and on schedule. Don’t give candidates any opportunity to have doubts about working for you. If you can’t get the recruitment process wrong, it will raise warning signs to the applicant that you might not be a great business to work for, no matter how much you are willing to pay them. It doesn’t take much to make the whole recruitment process seamless. Treat people with respect, establish expectations and communicate throughout.
Make the job offer properly
Once you have selected a suitable candidate, it is time to make the offer. But this must be a considered decision to ensure that you are offering terms and conditions that appeal to the candidate and that are effective for the company. Ensure you make the offer in writing to avoid any confusion from verbal communication. If an offer is conditional on your completion of checks or references, be transparent as to what those checks are and obtain consent from the candidate to undertake them. Make sure you do not discriminate in the terms offered to your employees. Do not offer a package that your business cannot afford or terms that will put you at risk in the future.
For professional advice on hiring staff and how to run an effective recruitment process in your business we are here to help. Give us a call on 0330 555 1139 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yippee, you are doing well, it’s time to stop using family and friends and calling in favours and take that very grown up step of hiring your very first staff member.
Firstly, well done, that’s quite an achievement, feel very very proud.
Secondly, you are petrified right, well this blog post will hopefully calm things down. Now down to business.
The job description & person specification
- Think about what you want them to do, and write that down, forget job titles at this stage, just think job content.
- Think about what kind of person in terms of attributes, experience and qualifications (and be reasonable, I’ve come across 2 man bands operating from their front rooms wanting Oxbridge graduates, to do admin)
- Research similar roles and no harm in having a nosey at what your competitors are doing (if it ain’t broke etc), this gives you some pointers to setting a salary
- Once you have an idea of the salaries the competition are paying, you need to figure out if you can afford it, always remember you need to add another 30% plus in on costs to cover Employers NI (12% of total salary), pension (more of which later), their work environment, other benefits etc
- You are now ready to draw up a job description (which describes the role) and a person specification (which describes the attributes at a minimum a person must have to be suitable).
- Decide where you are going to find them, i.e. LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, websites, agencies, print media
- Draft an ad for the job
- Its always worth thinking about at this stage where you are actually going to put them, do you need to buy a desk, hire office space even, computers cost how much?
They’ve started to apply. Wow another milestone passed, people are interested and want to work for you, nervous yet?
- Work out in advance of the interview what you want to learn from them
- Do you just want to have a one on one interview and deal with it all in one go
- Do you want a demonstration of their work presentation style
- Do you want someone else’s opinion
- Prepare well in advance, draft questions, give enough time per person (there is nothing worse that candidates bumping into one another in the corridor or reception.
- You’ve decided you’ve found the one!
- You need out of politeness to let the others down gently, you never know when you’ll bump into them again, so be nice.
You found your first staff member
(now the real fun starts)
- You need to offer them the job (provisionally usually), apply for references, make sure you have employers liability insurance (up to 5 million at least). Look at the partnership tab on this website which will help you.
- Give them written particulars which at a minimum should contain salary, pension arrangements, start and finish (where applicable), place of work, date of pay, where they are based, disciplinary and grievance processes, termination and leaving, probation, any benefits, confidentiality etc. If you don’t do this within 28 days of them starting well you have been told!
- Why not think about including a staff handbook (give us a call) and HR policies & procedures (again you know where we are) and you are covered.
- So references, qualifications all check out, terms are agreed and a start date sorted
Before they start
You need to think about a probation period, how you are going to pay them (we can point you to some brilliant payroll providers and accountants), what sort of induction (please have one) process you are going to have.
You are pretty much now ready to welcome your first employee. Good luck and well done, the second time is always easier.
You are on your way. Contact us if you need help with HR support or your first staff member in the future.
Tis the season where some of you will be thinking about hiring additional staff to cope with the Christmas demand with the key word being flexibility. These are the types of contracts you may wish to consider: –
Its exactly that, its exactly the same as a permanent contract along all the benefits and entitlements that come with it, including holiday and benefits, except this contract has a specific end date. This might not be the best fit for an organisation who needs staff for just the Christmas period, but its certainly worth considering.
You have the work, you offer the work to a person and they have the option to either take it or leave it. They get paid for the work they do for you. The obligations stop when they finish work that day/evening. Its usually used to cope with spikes in business such as Christmas. The downside here is the person is under no obligation to accept the work, and with the demand for staff over Christmas, it might leave you in a difficult position, as others will also be offering work.
Much maligned and talked about usually not in a good way, but they have their benefits. Similar is a way to casual contracts with one key difference, the contract is ongoing and does not stop when the person leaves their work or shifts despite them only getting paid for the work they do. Since the brouhaha during the summer concerning zero hours contracts, changes are afoot particularly in relation to exclusivity clauses. As an employer you need to determine how you deal with someone on such a contract who turns work down. Zero hours are really useful in my opinion for the Christmas period, as the employer has the security of knowing they have a ready bank of staff to call on.
These are employed usually through an agency, sometimes directly and are paid hourly. If they come through an agency, they are the responsibility of the agency legally. The agency then charges the employer a fixed hourly fee which includes the temps wages, holiday pay and entitlements together with the agency mark up fee. Temps are only paid by the agency for the hours worked and upon receipt of a signed timesheet. Very common and very useful for peaks in demand with all of the administrative burden placed on the agency.
Self employed – for services
These types of arrangements are very common in the courier industry (think Yodel), where to cope with peaks in demand self employed couriers and van drivers are hired on a self employed basis. The employer has no legal obligation towards them in terms of employment law as they have no employee status. They are usually paid upon receipt of an invoice.
Other options to think about
- Offering overtime to existing permanent members of staff whether full time or part time
- Offer flexitime which allows employees to ‘bank’ extra hours and take the accrued days at a later date.
- Offer time off in lieu over an above hours worked at a later date
You will need to ensure you comply with employment legislation when taking on any staff for any length of time regardless of the status of their employment. Thats why its essential to get a written agreement in place which Crosse HR can help you with.
I’m rather taken with this new notion of Holacracy first coined by Brian J Robertson, so in my earlier post I just provided an overview. After a bit more research I am able to provide you with a more in depth view of how it works which is described below.
Further information can be got from www.holacracy.org
To say there’s no hierarchy in a holacracy is inaccurate. There is, but it’s much less rigid than a traditional structure. Its constitution is made up of semi-autonomous circles, with each circle having its own goals and responsibilities. Every circle has a ‘lead link’ that designates people certain roles. Each circle exists within the context of a higher-level circle, but no circle is fully autonomous.
With holacracy, governance meetings structure how the work gets done, making it clear who is responsible for what and with how much authority. Each employee has complete control over the roles they’ve been assigned or elected to. However, they are still accountable, so if there’s a problem or they have an issue with a colleague, it’s their responsibility to sort it out.
Hiring and firing
In a typical top-down management structure, the power to hire and fire is usually in the hands of managers. With holacracy, it’s less personal, making it more about who is the best fit for each role. But because there are no managers, who actually does the hiring and firing you might ask?
As with any business, employees can be removed, but the process needs to be decided upon by governance, a committee sometimes referred to as an anchor circle. A circle’s lead link can remove someone from a role and find a better fit from the talent pool available if necessary. An employee may also be removed if they can’t find enough roles to do within the company.
Is holacracy right for you?
A company without managers might sound like a recipe for chaos, but supporters of holacracy say it actually has the opposite effect because a workplace free from office politics results in fewer tensions and empowers employees. Ultimately, it gives everyone a voice, which fuels more ideas and opportunities, and is extremely flexible, which is paramount for success in a modern workforce.
However, it isn’t for everyone, and shouldn’t be undertaken without due consideration. Without any one person truly in charge, it’s not always clear where the buck stops when it comes to issues such as company under performance and finance. Also, because staff aren’t promoted or given a clear career path, they may be tempted by more lucrative offers elsewhere. It might also be difficult for current managers to relinquish power.
My experience of customer service pretty much goes like this, at best being treated like a mild inconvenience to be tolerated or pure and utter disdain akin to something scraped off one’s shoe.
So not expecting anything more than the usual poor customer service experience, I popped into the newly revamped Prestat coffee shop recently off Sloane Sq, for a chat with my friend Dawn. Being used to being ignored or barked at I did get quite a fright when the staff in Prestat smiled at me, greeted me, and actually made a bit of a fuss of me – were we actually experiencing that rare thing – decent customer service?.
So we all got talking (me, Dawn and the staff that is, the manager in particular) about the newly revamped coffee shop, chocolate (salted caramel truffles in fact), himself – Antonio from Italy, customer service (It had to be said), customers (good bad and the ugly).
Antonio praised the company, the product, he clearly loved his job and it was genuine, you cannot fake that level of enthusiasm.
Antonio and his team could not do enough for us and it showed, it showed in the atmosphere, in the conversations people in the shop were having, it was relaxing, convivial and made me want to go back, which I will and often. The Prestat team made us feel special, now that is one heck of a customer service experience.
Doing what I do, where a lot of time, effort and money is spent on a) recruiting staff b) then dealing with bad behaviour c) trying to motivate employees to do their job and provide good customer service regardless of the profession d) train them to do a good job.
I tried to figure out that pesky Holy Grail question that Prestat seems to have managed, is it pure good luck, is it recruitment, training, good product, good company, autonomy or a combination of all of the above, Prestat appears to have a good sense of itself, has been going for over a 100 years (started as a coffee shop in Oxford St before moving into chocolate) and has a royal warrant so if its good enough for her Majesty and all that.
I’m going back this week to find out more ………………………………….
186 Pavilion Road, SW3 (across from Peter Jones)