Onboarding…I hate that phrase, it sounds like I’m about to board a plane. Recruitment. Recruiting a new employee however, is an exciting time for any business, you can smell the enthusiasm in the air, the relief that someone else can take some of the pressure, and it usually signifies another step forward for a business that’s striving towards growth.
To prevent the types of problems I often see with recruitment – let’s talk about what things you need to realistically consider when you decide to take on an employee.
What is the vacancy that I need to fill?
Often I hear employers say, ‘I’ve met person X and they can do A, B and C, and so I’m taking them on.’ Mentally, I’m screaming at this point. The first step of any recruitment process, is to decide what the vacancy actually is – what do you need in your business to make the business run smoother? Is it someone with a particular qualification, like a bookkeeper for example? Or is it someone who has experience of being an expert administrator and knows how to ‘run’ an office. Is it another pair of hands on the tools, because that will free up some of your time to focus on promoting the business? What is it that you actually need?
A great deal of consideration needs to be given to this, is it someone to manage an office, or someone to do the filing of the paperwork. Will they manage anyone? What will their responsibilities be and how will you set KPI’s for them?
By the time an employer has sent out the job advert, doubts about the role requirements are often voiced. ‘Should I be asking for X qualification’, ‘Do I need a full time employee?’, ‘Can I afford to train someone up?’ It’s usually at this point, that we revisit the job description and person specification. It’s important to get these right. Only then can you get the job advert right. Job adverts need to be reflective of a company’s brand. Does it sell your company well? Or are you just looking for bums on seats? A job advert should be like a great starter when you’re having a three course meal. It should warm your taste buds up ready for the main course. If it doesn’t, then the main course will be a massive let down – like a nightmare interview process can be.
At the same time, consider whether you can afford to pay £XXXXX salary for a year. Employers often assume they need to have a full time employee, but that’s rarely the case, and it loses a great deal of potential out of the selection pool. If consideration can be given to part time – then do so, as you’re likely to attract a whole other market of potential.
Employees at present are obviously concerned about having enough to pay the bills and holidays etc. But there are other priorities now that are just as important in today’s employment market. For example ensuring they have flexible alternatives – such as a ‘family friendly employer’. Giving employees more flexible working options is just as important for today’s employees as the pay being received. So don’t put unnecessary pressure on the business to pay the highest rate to a new recruit, if infact you could give alternative more flexible employee benefits.
Company Car & Pensions
Not today! It’s rare that I work with clients that give out benefits such as company cars, or business loans for example. Businesses generally have a lot of costs to manage, so finding more ‘cost neutral’ benefits is preferable. With the likes of Auto-Enrolment in full swing, this is another cost for an employer to fund, and one that particularly smaller businesses struggle with. The National Minimum/Living Wage is also set to rise for the next three years (as far as we know at present), so this will create additional costs. So keep this in mind when deciding on the terms of employment, as guaranteeing an annual pay rise for example, could be one benefit too far.
Don’t feel the need to be too generous!
This sounds awful I know. But I’m trying to be realistic, and practical. If you are too generous from the start, you are likely to be one of those businesses that will struggle when you take on your fourth, fifth and sixth employee, because the ‘benefits packages’ are just multiplying out of your bank balance. You can always start from a more ‘thrifty’ position, and then gradually develop annual pay rises. There’s nothing stopping you from putting more costly benefit packages in place at a later date.
Most business owners give out benefits based on where they are now. What this article is trying to say, is, think carefully about the role that you have a vacancy for, and make sure the benefits package you give, is reflective of the role and the company. They need to marry up. Don’t stretch yourself too far, because it is likely to come back and bite you. Be specific in your requirements and only increase benefits as and when you can easily afford to, not just to attract the candidate in the first place.