Employing people for the first time?

Employing people for the first time?

01 June 2018

We spoke to Rebecca Fielding of Gradconsult to discuss at what stage as a small business you would consider taking on your first employee. Here, Rebecca shares her top 3 tips.


1. Know when the time is right

It’s not easy to know when the right time to employ your first person is. For some people it happens organically - maybe they have been working with a friend or family member and this naturally transitions into PAYE.

The tipping point is usually when you realise that you can’t possibly do all of this on your own any more. When you recognise that in order to grow, you need to stop doing and start building. It isn’t an easy step because this tipping point is usually around the time when you are under the most pressure!

Gradconsult was less than a year old when I made the transition to become an employer and this was the right time for me. But it’s entirely dependent on your business and growth plans. There will be an optimal time (although never a perfect time!) and the trick is to give yourself space to make it happen when the time comes.


2. Be prepared for (a bit) of admin and bureaucracy

There is a lot to learn; PAYE, National Insurance, pensions, sick and holiday pay calculations to mention just a few. If you break your new responsibilities as an employer into bite-size pieces, they can seem far less intimidating.

For the first few years, I managed the payroll and HMRC responsibilities myself. I did this by scheduling a couple of hours of admin into my working month – it’s not a big chore. As your team grows, you can invest in accountancy software that will really help with this.

The key thing is to be prepared for some extra admin, and to form positive relationships with HMRC and a local accountant (who will be a wonderful source of advice and support) from the very start of your journey.


3. Recruit for people not for roles

Recruiting is hard! I had a background in HR which was a massive advantage for my business but for many people their only experience of recruitment is when they have been for a job interview.

My biggest advice here is to think really hard about the person you need for the business and then be very honest with candidates about who you are and what this new relationship could look like.

You don't have to advertise a job title and 'Monday-Friday, 9am to 5pm' just because this is the standard way of talking about things. If what you are looking for is someone who can be incredibly flexible, intuitive and hard working, why not lead with that and work the other stuff out around the person?


To book onto one of our workshops for Employing people for the first time call our Gateway team on 0114 224 5000 or email us on businesssheffield@sheffield.gov.uk

Business Sheffield is the business-facing arm of Sheffield City Council. Through a region-wide programme called Launchpad, Business Sheffield delivers a programme of workshops and coaching designed specifically to support people who are thinking about starting a business and businesses less than two years old.

Look around the site to learn more about Launchpad and the free services and support you can access through Business Sheffield.